Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music


4th-7th November 2010





Thursday 4 November - 13:10

Chris Brown

Sonic Arts Research Centre


Free Improvisation, with interactive signal processing


Invention #7 "Branches" (2000-01)

for piano with MIDI output and interactive computer


Chris Brown will perform solo piano works and works for electronics featuring the Disklavier, a modern player piano which serves as a platform for interaction between a musician and the computer.


Chris Brown, composer, pianist, and electronic musician, creates music for acoustic instruments with interactive electronics, for computer networks, and for improvising ensembles. Collaboration and improvisation are consistent themes in his work, as well as the invention and performance of new electronic instruments. In 2005 he created ŇTeleSonÓ, a composition for two ReacTable instruments performed in a joint concert between Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria and the International Computer Music Conference in Barcelona, Spain. He has also been a member for over 20 years of the pioneering computer network music band THE HUB. As a performer he has recorded music by Henry Cowell, Luc Ferrari, JosŽ Maceda, John Zorn, David Rosenboom, Larry Ochs, Glenn Spearman, and Wadada Leo Smit. As an improvisor he has recorded with Anthony Braxton, Pauline Oliveros, Fred Frith, Rova Saxophone Quartet, Ikue Mori, Alvin Curran, William Winant, and Frank Gratkowski, among many others. Recordings of his music are available on Tzadik, Pogus, Intakt, Rastascan, Ecstatic Peace, SIRR, and Artifact labels. He teaches at Mills College in Oakland, California where he is Co-Director of the Center for Contemporary Music (CCM). 



Thursday 4 November - 17:30

Real Time Drill - Peter Ablinger


Sonic Arts Research Centre


Three mechanized pianos are installed in Belfast, Graz and Hamburg and connected together to form a kind of dialogue piece written by Peter Ablinger for three speakers across the sites. The piece is about transmission, translation and transcription of different languages to piano music, three speakers speaking in different languages, separated over space.


Machinists: Peter Innerhofer, Matthias Kronlachner, Marian Weger

produced at IEM Graz

Automata: Winfried Ritsch




Thursday 4 November Đ 18:30
Changing Room - Michael Takeo Magruder
Sonic Arts Research Centre

Changing Room is an evolving mixed-reality artwork that considers the transitory nature of shared, virtual and physical environments and the creative potentials of working within these liminal spaces. Blending the shared virtual environment of Second Life with the performance space at the Sonic Arts Research Centre, the artwork facilitates the realisation, curation and documentation of distinct - yet interrelated - art projects arising from a common pool of virtual and physical resources. Over the course of the festival, a series of resident artists will be invited to use the spaces and materials to realise works of their own conceptual and aesthetic design. Each project will last for a single day, after which, it will be documented in situ and then be handed over to a new artist for repurposing.
The work is open to visitors between the 4th and the 6th of November, 14:30 Đ 18:00.



Thursday 4 November - 19:30


Sonic Arts Research Centre


European Bridges Ensemble:

Adam Siska; 185 

John Cage/Georg Hajdu: Radio Music

Fredrik Olofsson: the choir, the chaos

Johannes Kretz: Aria

Johannes Kretz: Encore


Adagio pour l'absence - Patricia Alessandrini


Performed by Franziska Schroeder and Steven Davis (Belfast), Clemens Frźhstźck, Elisabeth Harnik and Summerer Reinhard (Graz), and Carola Schaal, Stefen Weinzierl and Turo Grolimund (Hamburg).



Packet Loss: A solo-duet for Keyboard, Network, and Disklavier - Rob King (Visuals), Pierre Proske (Piano, Digital Audio)


The European Bridges Ensemble is an Internet and network music performance group composed of five performers: Kai Niggemann (Mźnster, Germany), çd‡m Siska (Budapest, Hungary), Johannes Kretz (Vienna, Austria), Andrea Szigetv‡ri (Dunakeszi, Hungary), Ivana Ognjanović (Belgrade, Serbia), the conductor and software designer Georg Hajdu (Hamburg, Germany), and video artist Stewart Collinson (Lincoln, England). Using the term ÔbridgesŐ as a metaphor, the Ensemble attempts to bridge cultures, regions, locations and individuals, each with their specific history. Particularly, Europe with its historical and ethnic diversity has repeatedly gone through massive changes separating and reuniting people often living in close vicinity. The aim is to further explore the potential of taking participating musicians and artists out of their political and social isolation by creating virtual communities of like-minded artists united by their creativity and mutual interests.


Packet Loss: A solo-duet for Keyboard, Network, and Disklavier - Rob King, Pierre Proske

In the current age, it is easy to take for granted the ease and speed with which we can communicate with others around the world. Where once one needed to expend significant amounts of time or energy to get a message around the world, now with digital networks such communication is instant and nearly effortless. Packet Loss attempts to rework the architecture of the network so that long-distance communication requires real physical effort. In this piece, a single network connection is constructed as a physically modelled virtual space, with each of the network hops between the two end points represented as membranes that must be penetrated to get from one end to the other. A piano played at one end creates data packets within the virtual space, which are propelled towards the remote end of the networked space based on the strength of the note played. Not all of the packets will make it through to the other end; we can only hear their attempts at passing through the network membranes echoing through the space. When a packet does make it through however, we can finally hear it as a real note played on the Disklavier.  All the while, the network space becomes a graveyard of lost packets, and data that didn't make it.





Friday 5 November - 13:00
wewalktogether (Live Broadcast) – Rui Chaves

Platform Gallery, Belfast

Reception at 13:00, Performance at 13:30


wewalktogether is a mobile broadcast piece for 3 performers in three

different cities: Graz, Hamburg and Belfast. Each performer will walk and

broadcast through their city equipped with a mobile device and custom developed software. This exploration is the result of a series of notes and timed instructions sent to the performers during the month of October 2010 in order to enable each of them to create a path that explores different soundscapes, but also specific situations that are enhanced through on the spot perception of space.


The presentation will focus on exposing the process of discovery, of personal mapping and the idea of transmission while enabling us to hear each broadcast simultaneously. This situation is used as a catalyst to identify the similarities and differences of what makes up the sonic identity of a city.


The software (liveshout) was developed in collaboration with Ecliptic Labs and with support of the CoMeDia project.



Friday 5 November - 17:30

woman=music=desire - SOMA

Snack Bar of the Student's Union


Ňwoman=music=desireÓ is.....

a loss/absence of the self, a socially-constructed narcissism, erotic mimetic repetitions, anti-virtuosic pleasures, feminisations and fragmented automatons, seductive transgressions and soma in imminent danger of failure.


Director: Imogene Newland

Dancers: Michaela Elliot, Bahia Ma'ani-Hessari, Sheena Kelly, Maeve McGreevy, Sarmen Almond

Cello: Laura McGrogan

Lighting: Emma Jane Walls

Sound: Isobel Anderson with tracks by Uniform and Donnacha Dennehy

Costume Design: Llinos Griffiths


Friday 5 November - 19:30

Net 20th Century

Sonic Arts Research Centre


A Pierre, dell'azzurro silenzio inquietum  - Luigi Nono

Five - John Cage

Music for Pure Waves Bass Drums and Acoustic Pendulums  - Alvin Lucier

December 1952 - Earl Brown


The 20th century has provided radical explorations of music through a reinvention of its language and culture. This programme celebrates key 20th century works, which represent challenging and disruptive approaches to music by composers such as Luigi Nono, Earl Brown, Alvin Lucier and John Cage.

The works have been adapted for performance in a network context in which an ensemble distributed amongst three sites proposes new forms of interaction and engagement between performers and audiences. Performers include Carin Levine, Franziska Schroeder and Justin Yang (Belfast), Clemens Frźstźck, Elisabeth Harnik and Peter Plessas (Graz) and Carola Schaal, Stefan Weinzierl and Sofia Borges (Hamburg).



Friday 5 November - 21:30

The Hub

Brian Friel Theatre

QueenŐs University Belfast


The Hub is a computer network music band, which since the mid-1980s has been exploring the use of electronic data exchange to create interactive computer music. Like its predecessor in the San Francisco Bay Area, the legendary League of Automatic Music Composers, The Hub is a collective of composer/performers who build their own software and hardware instruments. By connecting these instruments in networks they have discovered new ways of combining compositional and improvisational approaches in their music. They have performed extensively in the U.S. and Europe at festivals, universities, art galleries and night-clubs, and a retrospective of their recorded music was released in the 3 CD box set ŇBoundary LayerÓ (Tzadik) in 2008. Members of the group are John Bischoff, Chris Brown, Scot Gresham-Lancaster, Tim Perkis, Phil Stone, and Mark Trayle.




Saturday 6 November

09:15 – 18:15

Two Thousand + Ten Symposium


Initiated by Franziska Schroeder

Multimedia Room, Sonic Arts Research Centre


Improvisatory strategies regularly come to the foreground as new performance practices emerge. Often used as a method for the exploration of performative territory, improvisation can define a process as well as an end result. Join us for a day of research presentations and two keynote speeches, addressing the role of improvisation across disciplines and artistic practices.



08:45 – 09:15

Arrival and Set-up for morning session

Tea/Coffee will be served

09:15 – 09:25 Welcome: Franziska Schroeder / Pedro Rebelo (SARC/CoMeDia)

09:25 – 09:45 Paula Chateauneuf: The Establishment of an Italian 17th-Century Style Improvising Ensemble

09:45 – 10:05 Owen Green: Leading Separate Lives: On the Musical Distinctions Between People, Other People and Things

10:05 -10:25 Phillip Henderson: Identifying a timeframe for temporally self-contradictory music

10:25 – 10:45 Felipe Hickmann: Game structures as grounds for improvisation in networked performance

10:45 – 11:05 Dara OŐBrien: Improvisation, Metaphysical Experience and Spirituality in North Indian Classical Music

11:15 – 11:45 Coffee Break

11:45 – 12:45 KEYNOTE Professor David Borgo, University of California San Diego 

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch Break

14:00 – 14:20 Han-earl Park: Subject Matter: Improvising Cyborgs

14:20 – 14:40 Adam Parkinson: Improvisation, Multiplicity and the Blind Probe Head

14:40 – 15:00 Richard Scott: Interactivity versus infinite memory:  reflections emerging from the development of gestural technologies for free


15:00 – 15:20 Justin Yang: Modern free improvisation, the pursuit of an enigma

15:20 – 15:40 Break

15:40 – 16:00 Eduardo Abrantes: Insignificant Voices – the phenomenology of vocal improvisation and meaninglessness

16:00 – 16:20 Kent De Spain: Improvisation and Intimate Technologies

16:20 – 16:40 Marcel Cobussen: Improvisation and/as a Complex System

16:40 – 17:00 Thomas Ciufo: Computer-Mediated Improvisation and Interactive Instrument Design

17:00 – 17:15 Coffee Break

17:15 – 18:15 KEYNOTE Professor Georgina Born, Cambridge University




Saturday 6 November - 19:00

Laser Avatars

Broadcast from Vienna and Hamburg

Sonic Arts Research Centre


Laser Turing Test for Dancers - Johannes Kretz

Send Me A Sound - Andrea Szigetv‡ri



A multimedia work involving music, dancers and lasers is presented as a live broadcast from Vienna and Hamburg. Two dancers in two different cities interact with each other performing music on laser harps. The two venues are connected together on the internet, and the dancers' gestures are visualized in form of laser beam animations (laser avatars) and are sonified with the help of laser sensors and music generating software.


Laser Turing Test for Dancers - Johannes Kretz

The famous "Turing Test" is a method for determining the intelligence of a machine proposed by Alan Turing in 1950 in his paper "Computing Machinery and Intelligence". The idea of Turing was to let a person A communicate with either a person B or a machine separated in another room (for example connected through a computer terminal). Person A is allowed to ask any kind of questions and has to judge from the answers, whether it is more likely that he is communicating with a human or a machine.


The "Laser Turing Test for Dancers" by Johannes Kretz follows a similar idea. Two dancers are interacting (over hundreds of kilometres) by a system of animated laser harps and sensors connected through the internet. Their gestures and even their breathing are captured by sensors, translated into electronic sounds and laser animations, whose control data is sent to the other venue, where the other dancer sees and hears the same sounds and animations and therefore can react. Since the setup is completely symmetric, we have in both venues a dialogue between a dancer and an Avatar of the remote dancer. The audience is invited – in analogy to the Turing test – to judge, whether the "Avatar" appears to be more likely a computer controlled "robot" or actually something representing a real human being remotely. Can we perceive "human qualities" even when transporting them through such a restricted channel of information?


Send Me A Sound - Andrea Szigetv‡ri

The piece is a critical study of networked performance in the field of art exploring what kind of communication strategies can be applied to defeat the deficit caused by the fact the performers are not in the same place.

As researchers focusing on the ecological approach to social interaction show, new technologies seldom simply support old working practices with additional efficiency or flexibility. Instead they tend to undermine existing practices and to demand new ones. While new technology usually extends the ability to perform existing tasks, it might limit some aspects of usual activities.

The LaserAvatar setup creates a possibility for two dancers situated in two different rooms to interact with each other visualizing and sonifying their gestures with the help of laser beams. The invisible dancer-partner is present in the room in the form of a poetic avatar, an audiovisual metaphor. The limitation of the visual information calls for added means of communication. "Send Me A Sound" tries to revive some old methods like speech or fairytale-like dynamic audiovisual synchronicities mixed with humour to recreate the "human" link between performers.



Andrea Lad‡nyi (laserharp), Andrea Szigetv‡ri (live electronics) çd‡m Siska (programming and computer music assistant)


Martina Kov‡cs (laserharp), Johannes Kretz (live electronics)


Attila Kalcsś, J‡nos Wieser (lasertechnics)



Saturday 6 November - 20:00


Sonic Arts Research Centre


Renditions – Alain Renaud / Curtis McKinney

A man, A Mark, Amen – Felipe Hickmann / Caetano Galindo
Netgraph – Pedro Rebelo

Webwork I – Justin Yang


This programme features four newly commissioned network-centric works, which explore the role of live computer graphics for rendering interaction and telepresence. Visualisation and real-time notation is used to provide musical structures and interactions across the network. Performers include Franziska Schroeder, Gascia Ouzounian, Evan Parker, Pedro Rebelo (Belfast), Clemens Frźhstźck, Christian Polheimer, Andrea Molnar and Elisabeth Harnik (Graz) and Carola Schaal and John Eckhardt (Hamburg).



Sunday 7 November 18:00

Call them Improvisors! – Evan Parker

Sonic Arts Research Centre


The final event in this yearŐs festival is a celebration of improvisation with one of the most renowned free improvisors of our time – saxophonist Evan Parker. A day of workshops and rehearsals led by Parker culminates in a public performance by an improvisation collective especially created for this event with musicians from around the world including Mark Trayle (electronics), Gascia Ouzounian (Violin), Chris Brown (Piano), Paul Stapleton (Percussion), Dan Goren (Trumpet), Don Nichols (Percussion), Simon Rose (Sax), Gustavo Aguilar (Percussion), Han Earl Park (Guitar), Ulrich Mitzlaff (Cello), Tasos Stamou (Zither), Dominic Lash (Double Bass), Christopher Williams (Bass), Nuno Rebelo (Guitar), Richard Scott (Synth), Steven Davis (Drums), Pedro Rebelo (Piano), Justin Yang (Sax) and Franziska Schroeder (Sax).


May I suggest a much more promising line of investigation..... it is the musical process known as group improvisation. This offers an escape from a composer's inevitable intentions forced on the hierarchically inferior performers (drones?) and leads to a unique sound event made by a group of equal individuals working in social equality in relation to the unique environment (acoustics, listeners, etc.) of the performance. (Evan Parker)


Venues and Admission

Admission to all events is free.

For further information regarding the Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music please contact 028 9097 4829.


Sonic Arts Research Centre

Cloreen Park (off the Malone Road)


The Brian Friel Theatre

20 University Square


Student Union

QueenŐs University Belfast

University Road (opposite the Lanyon Building)



Belfast Platform for the Arts

1 Castle Street





This edition of the Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music was made possible by the CO-ME-DI-A project (Cooperation and Mediation in Digital Arts), supported by the Education, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Commission for the period 2007 - 2010.


We would like to thank all the partners in the project, the projectŐs co-ordinator Andrew Gerszo (IRCAM) and the Sonorities Committee.


Two Thousand + Symposium Coordinator: Dr Franziska Schroeder

Musical Assistant: Justin Yang

Sound Engineer: Florian Hollerweger

Administration Support: Marian Hanna, Pearl Young, Ruth Walmsley, Iris Matter, Audrey Smyth

Call them Improvisors Coordinator: Steven Davis

Technical Support: Chris Corrigan, Craig Jackson, Ross McDade, Rui Chaves, Felipe Hickmann, Justin Yang

Video Documentation: Declan Keeney


CoMeDia Coordinator Hamburg: Georg Hajdu

Technical and Administrative Team (Hamburg): Georg Hajdu, Constantin Basica, Konstantina Orlandatou, Jacob Sello


CoMeDia Coordinator Graz: Winfried Ritsch

Technical and Administrative Team (Graz): Winfried Ritsch, IOhannes Zmšlnig, Peter Plessas