Press Release: sound thinks ‘out of the box’

Opera in unusual spaces - Three Cities Project finale - Red Note Ensemble - Daniel’s Beard Soundsites - Matthew Herbert’s One Pig among highlights of the 2012 Festival


The ambitious sound festival continues to think out of the box with a wide-ranging programme of performances and events planned for 2012. Among the highlights of the 8th annual Festival which were announced today (19 July 2012) is a 4-day programme of opera with performances taken out of the theatre and staged in some everyday and rather more unusual venues; the finale of the Three Cities Project (linking Aberdeen, Bergen and St Petersburg); a Red Note Ensemble Noisy Night; a primary school project based on Edward Lear’s poems led by Daniel’s Beard; a sound map of Aberdeenand Matthew Herbert’s visceral One Pig. The 2012 sound Festival runs from 19 October to 18 November in venues across the North East of Scotland.

At the heart of the 2012 sound Festival programme is a weekend of performances and events that takes opera out of the theatre and into a Lighthouse, a stables, a pub, an art gallery, an urban flat, and on to a bus. The Out of the Box weekend (1 - 4 November) includes four new operas commissioned and co-commissioned by sound from some of Scotland’s leading composers, the first performance of Cryptic’s new commission from Claudia Molitor, a newly commissioned community opera and a symposium exploring new directions for opera led by Alex Reedijk.

Acclaimed composer John Harris and award-winning author Zinnie Harris collaborate on The Garden, a new piece commissioned by sound, which will be staged in an urban flat; Pippa Murphy’sBolted, commissioned by sound andwritten anddirected by Grid Iron’s Ben Harrison, is performed at a stables; Scottish Opera’s composer in residence Gareth Williams’ Last One Out, a sound festival-Scottish Opera co-commission with words by Johnny McKnight, will be presented in Fraserburgh Lighthouse.

Cryptic makes its sound Festival debut with the first performance of Remember Me, ClaudiaMolitor’s new work inspired by the desk she inherited from her grandmother. Remember Me will be staged at a desk in Aberdeen Art Gallery. In Re:Sound composer Duncan Chapman will work with individuals and community groups to create, rehearse and perform a specially commissioned opera all in one day. Meanwhile, in the Illicit Still pub in Aberdeen sound will present performances of Gareth WilliamsThe Sloans Project. Based on stories collated from people who frequent Glasgow’s celebrated Sloans Bar, the piece will be performed by a cast headed by tenor, Jamie McDougall.

Linking performances on Saturday 3 November an Opera Bus will tour between venues entertaining the travellers with a new piece composed specially for the trip. Commissioned by sound from Stephen Deazley, the piece is one of Arts and Business’s “AngelShares Scotland” crowd funding projects. sound is hoping to raise £5,000 through pledges from private donors who will in turn receive generous thank yous including priority bus bookings and their very own limited-edition 'stop this bus!' T-shirt. Visit:

 “When programming our Out of the Box weekend we wanted to push the boundaries of opera,” says Fiona Roberston, Director of the sound Festival. “Through the programme of new commissions and the unusual venues we hope to engage a wider audience with this vibrant artform both as attenders and crowd funders.”

Barclay Price, Chief Executive of Arts & Business Scotland said: Crowdfunding is a great way to help make great projects happen. So go on –be an angel –support this innovative and fun idea. Opera on a bus is just the ticket!

The 2012 sound Festival will also see a number of ground-breaking audio-acoustic experiences. The Three Cities Project, which links the cities of Aberdeen, Bergen and Petersburg through as series of sound recordings, culminates in an evening of live performances. Soundsites, a Public Art Commission from Aberdeen City Council, which will create a sound map of Aberdeen, launches with a series of recordings by Pete Stollery and members of Aberdonian communities evoking the rich sonic environment of the city. In One Pig, Matthew Herbert documents a porcine life from its first squeak to its last squeal and the sizzle of frying bacon. Wearing white butcher's coats Herbert’s Quintet turn farmyard recordings into sophisticated electronica.

sound has always engaged with younger audiences and the 2012 Festival will see Scottish chamber ensemble Daniel’s Beard working with school children on musicbased on Edward Lear’sNonsense Poems, exploring the connections between literature and music. The group will also give three family concerts.

Finally, no sound Festival would now be complete without a performance by the Red Note Ensemble. The group, which gave its first ever performance at sound in 2008, will stage three very different projects at Woodend Barn in Banchory: one of their popular Noisy Nights following a composition course for young people, a collaboration with dancer Michael Popper on The Intoxicating Rose Garden, a new work by Sally Beamish, and a family workshop and concert.

Full details of the 2012 sound Festival will be released later in the summer.


Notes for Editors

  • sound is the North East of Scotland's contemporary music festival. Following a pilot event, "Upbeat" in 2004, the first festival was launched in November 2005. sound is now an annual event, which aims to make contemporary music more accessible to audiences of all ages and backgrounds by presenting an eclectic but very broad range of contemporary music - classical, traditional, popular, jazz, experimental - through a wide array of events including concerts, talks, electroacoustic installations, and workshops. As well as programming its own events, sound operates as an umbrella for a range of concerts, workshops, masterclasses and performances programmed by other organisations in the North East. Dame Evelyn Glennie, James MacMillan and Rohan de Saram are current Patrons of the festival.

  • The 2012 sound Festival Opera weekend is supported by Creative Scotland’s One Step Further funding.

  • Remember Me is a Cryptic production by Claudia Molitor for Sonic-a, co-commissioned by hcmf//, supported by the PRS for Music Foundation. Following the performance of Claudia Molitor’s Remember Me at Sound Festival the work will tour to Glasgow for a unique site-specific staging in the evocative venue of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed Scotland Street School Museum, as part of Sonica 2012 (7 November preview, then 8, 14,15 November). It will then tour to November Music, ‘s-Hertogenbosch (11 November) and hcmf//, Huddersfield (17 & 19 November). Visit for more information.

  • Angel Shares Scotland has been set up to help diversify income streams for the arts, offer new ways for individual supporters to engage with arts projects and raise awareness of inspiring Scottish arts projects across the world. It is the latest in a series of Arts & Business Scotland initiatives to develop extra funding for the arts from private donations, so maximising the amount of philanthropic support for the arts in Scotland.

  • Sound Festival is part of the Year of Creative Scotland.


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