Belfast’s longest-running festival of contemporary music breaks with tradition in 2014 by opening at King’s Place in London, before moving to Belfast to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the inauguration of its current home, the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, by Karlheinz Stockhausen.
The opening concert, featuring Chicago-based Nic Collins, hardware-hacking guru and author of ‘Handmade Electronic Music’ and meta-trumpet virtuoso Jonathan Impett, will initiate Sonorities 2014’s theme - remembering and forgetting - exploring the extent to which our current technologies for music simulate these pervasive human concerns. This concert also features two world premieres - a sound and video ‘opera’ by Dario Palermo and Impett’s latest work, for counter-tenor, three cellos and computer.
The festival continues with a heady mix of the established and the cutting edge in music’s meeting with technology. Electroacoustic pioneer Jean-Claude Risset headlines at Saturday’s celebration concert in the Sonic Lab, Sidsel Endresen and Jan Bang bring their chilling beautiful vocal/sampling mix from Norway to The Mac on Friday evening, Thursday evening sees the festival decamp to the Hudson Bar, bringing together the best local beers, good food and a continuous programme of live sound, video and electronic arts, with Atau Tanaka and Adam Parkinson topping the bill, turning their biosignals to beats.
Along the way there’s music and performance from the USA, Canada, Mexico, Austria/Croatia, Romania, Japan, Italy, Brazil and New Zealand, as well as wonderful new work from all over Ireland. And we end as we started, with Nic Collins and Jonathan Impett, this time in the Sonic Lab in Belfast, echoing their concert in London a week earlier.
I’m confident that you’ll find something to enjoy here. Which other contemporary music festival includes a tribal-fusion bellydance control system? And all of the concerts (bar those in the Mac and at Kings Place, for which you’ll need to book) are completely free!