A very warm welcome to the 2004 Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music. Sonorities, now in its 23rd year, has had a long tradition of building programmes around themes or celebrating the work or particular countries or regions. This year the celebration is close to home. We have chosen to mark the opening of the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen's with a dazzling array of events that champion the best in new music across the international arena. premieres (including Sonorities commissions by Cort Lippe, Natasha Barrett, Ludger Brümmer and Denis Smalley) and numerous UK and Irish premieres as well. It is extremely exciting to know that Northern Irish audiences can be the first in the world to hear this impressive collection of new compositions.

Our featured artists are equally impressive - Pedro Carneiro, Dominic Saunders, The Electronic Hammer, l a u t, Darragh Morgan, Wired Ensemble and numerous musicians performing on laptop computers, playing new interfaces, and diffusing music through SARC’s unique sound system. Under the heading of Open Fader... we put out a call to composers to submit pieces appropriate to our new Sonic Laboratory. The idea, like an open mic at a pub or club - “come on up and have a go!”, produced an overwhelming response with composers from across the world submittingworks. We have programmed as many of these pieces as possible.

Finally, Belfast has a new performance venue. The Sonic Arts Research Centre has a Sonic Laboratory Concert Hall which is unique in the world. This space will be used for many of the concerts during the Festival. If for no other reason, you should come along to experience sound projection and diffusion as you’ve never heard it before. The Sonic Laboratory includes arrays of loudspeakers strategically located around, above and below the audience area. Audiences walk out onto a suspended, acoustically transparent floor and experience sound in the centre of a cube. No other venue exists in the world with these features. Again, seating will be limited so book early.

Please note, high-heeled shoes will be damaged on the grid floor; we have added a warning note in this brochure to those events which take place in the Sonic Laboratory.

On behalf of the Committee I look forward to welcoming you to Sonorities 2004


  The Festival is built around two themed weekends with a sequence of high-profile events in between. The first weekend features the highlight of the Festival: the visit to Belfast by Karlheinz Stockhausen, undoubtedly one of the
most significant and influential composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. The three concerts of his electronic works traverse a creative span of nearly fifty years, from the pioneering Electronic Studies I & II of 1953/54 right up to the world premiere of the large-scale multichannel piece Mittwochs-Grusswritten in the late 1990s. Sonorities is honoured to have secured this highly significant premiere; tickets for this, and all the Stockhausen events, will be limited so please book early!

The second weekend focuses on a celebration of a different kind. Sonic Arts Network, the UK’s main organisation for promoting work at the cutting edge of music and technology, is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a major concert featuring the work of leading UK composers over that period. The weekend also includes a Cut & Splice event (co-promoted by SARC, the BBC and Sonic Arts Network) with international performance artists exploring the concept of ‘grains and clouds’.

Premieres of new work always form a major part of our Festival programme, and this year breaks all records. There are more than twenty world