Programme for first 2020 sound festival weekend announced

  • Festival will be blend of live performances streamed on line, pre-recorded performances and films, and real time talks/Q&As taking place between 22 and 25 October
  • Ben Goldscheider, Pip Eastop and the Guild of Horns lead “endangered instrument” strand
  • Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir, among contributors to talks programme
  • World Premieres include new sound festival commission from Ben Lunn exploring isolation and loss which draws on letters from prisoners.
  • Performances will be staged in a variety of venues and live-streamed
  • Details of the second programme ( 28 - 31January 2021) will be announced later in the year

The programme for soundfestival’s October 2020 weekend has been released today, 9 October 2020. A blend of performances streamed live, pre-recorded performances and films, and online talks and Q&As, the weekend will have a major focus on the horn as part of soundfestival’s commitment to showcasing “endangered” instruments.

Among the performers headlining the weekend will be 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year finalist, Ben Goldscheider, and one of the UK’s most respected exponents of contemporary music for the horn, Pip Eastop. Other highlights include the World Premiere of a new work by composer Ben Lunn drawing on letters from prisoners (commissioned by sound); a contribution from Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir; and performances by North East Scotland’s new music ensemble, Any Enemy. The performances will be staged without an audience in line with current Scottish Government guidelines and live streamed with a number recorded by BBC Radio 3 for future broadcast.

“We are delighted to be welcoming Ben Goldscheider, Pip Eastop and the Guild of Horns to this year’s festival as part of our ongoing commitment to showcasing endangered instruments,” says Fiona Robertson Director of sound. “Pip Eastop has been championing new music for horn for many years and Ben is a tremendous young advocate for both the instrument and new music.”

“This year’s festival will of course have a different feel to past events, but by harnessing the power of technology we will be able to reach a worldwide audience, which is particularly exciting. Our programme will showcase work by established composers as well as giving a platform to a new generation of Scottish composing talent,” she adds.

Since 2017 soundfestival has been giving a platform to endangered instruments showcasing the bassoon, the oboe and the viola to date. This year the focus is on the horn. Ben Goldscheider, who came to public attention when he made the final of the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year aged 18, will be artist in residence following another winner of the competition, Nicholas Daniel, at 2019 soundfestival. Ben will give a lunchtime performance with pianist Huw Watkins and  join with Pip Eastop and the Guild of Horn players for performances of works by composers including Tim Jackson. A filmed collaboration between Ben and Pete Stollery (electronics) will also be shown.

“Speaking in the 40th anniversary celebration of BBC Young Musician of the Year Ben shared his personal ambition to promote the horn as a solo instrument and to look at new music which explores the capabilities of the horn,” says Pete Stollery. “We are delighted to give him a platform to do this.”

15 premieres will be given over the weekend beginning with performances of five new works for flute and electronics developed with Scottish-based composers (performed by members of Red Note Ensemble); new work by John de Simone and “lock-down” works by Rylan Gleave, Lisa Robertson, Rufus Isabel Elliot and Aiden Teplinzky (performed by Any Enemy); works by three women composers - Laura Bowler, Deirdre McKay and Carmel Smickersgill – (co-ommissioned by sound and performed by Ruth Morley, flute and Laura Bowler, soprano) and Th’first munth is th’wurst iv awl a new work from Ben Lunn exploring isolation and loss which draws on letters from prisoners. Ben will conduct the performance.

“At the heart of sound is providing the opportunity for both young and established composers to have new works commissioned and performed,” says Fiona “In our October weekend we are delighted to present no fewer than 15 premieres many of which are of works that sound has either commissioned or co-commissioned.”

On the opening afternoon of the festival Carrie Fertig’s filmed performance piece, Le Sirenuse - featuring glass percussion and electroacoustic sounds - will be streamed online, preceded by Sam Perkin’s film Grey Area – which combines his two great passions: music and skateboarding. Sam Perkin will give an accompanying online talk. Also screened in the festival will be the performance of The Big Picture, Judith Weir’s commission for the reopening of Aberdeen Art Gallery which was premiered at soundfestival in 2019. Judith Weir will give a live talk to accompany the screening. Other performers’ and composers’ talks include Ben Lunn on Th’first munth is th’wurst iv awl; Ben Goldscheider on new music for horn; members of Exaudi on their concert programme, Lonesingness, in which they refind connections and bridge distances in a time of isolation; Sarah Watts on Ten Wee Drams for solo bass + contrabass clarinet - a work in which she celebrates the culture, heritage and folklore of the island of Raasay (off Skye); and Ruth Morley and Laura Bowler on Gaia, commissions from female composers.

For further information, images and interviews contact: Lesley Booth
0779 941 4474 /