Festival preview: the Demon Gin

May 1, 2014

Kent’s cultural blogger, The Demon Gin, has been on the prowl recently, and has written fiercely about the forthcoming festival. Read it online here; be warned (if you’re reading this in a public place), it will make you laugh out loud… With thanks to TDG!


Festival feature in the news

April 12, 2014

Delightmemt and excitement coursing through the corridors of Sounds New HQ at this feature in the local press on Thursday.

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Find out about all the events at Sounds New next month online here.


The Wright Stuff: a look ahead to this year’s festival with Guest Artistic Director

March 7, 2014

Amidst the whirwind preparations for Sounds New 2014, I caught up with Guest Artistic Director of this year’s festival, Matt Wright, to find out more about what’s coming to Canterbury in May.


What’s in store from SN this year ?

Everything's all Wright...

Everything’s all Wright…

MW: This year, Sounds New is featuring the very best names associated with contemporary European and Indian classical traditions, cutting edge jazz and African groove, improvised and experimental music, poetry, dance, interactive installations, sonic art and laptop sets in gallery spaces, on the high street and on the web!

Phew: I’m exhausted just thinking about it all! ‘Connections’ seem to be an important facet of the programme this year; tell us about them.

MW: We’re exploring connections between performers working in different traditions as a big part of Sounds New. We’re bringing a large-scale multimedia event, within which contemporary ensemble Icebreaker will perform Apollo: For All Mankind with music by Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Roger Eno and film footage from NASA. We’ll be celebrating the music of Canterbury Scene legend Robert Wyatt, in both a new exhibition at the Sidney Cooper Gallery (featuring a new work by sound artist Janek Schaefer) and a unique recomposition of Wyatt’s ‘Cuckooland’ album, bringing together the Brodsky Quartet, radical vocalist Elaine Mitchener, arranger Tony Hymas and my own live laptop sampling. Contemporary jazz also features too, in the work of Robert Stillman and Mercury Music prize-nominees Led Bib.

Connecting with local composers is also a feature this year.

MW: That’s right; we’re so lucky that so many musicians linked with Kent also have international reputations, so the brilliant vocal group Exaudi will be exploring the innovative work of composers such as Claudia Molitor, and Lauren Redhead and Thomas Oehler also present their own works. I mentioned Robert Stillman earlier: he will fuse together influences of Americana, the avant-garde and jazz in a fantastic record launch event. Saxophonist John Harle, well known to Kent audiences, will also perform high-quality new repertoire composed for him by CCCU students.

And are there some new connections being explored this year ?

MW: Yes; we make new connections with the Free Range experimental concert series (including ‘Eating Sound’, which focuses on the connections between music and high-end local cuisine) and two unique Equator Festival events: Congolese band Kasai Masai  (5th May) and North-Indian sarod virtuoso Wajahat Kahn (9th May). There are also events focussing on innovative connections between dance, film and light.

And birthdays are being celebrated too, I notice ?!

MW: Indeed! We continue our strong association with the London Sinfonietta in a unique five-day residency, supported by Canterbury Christ Church University, culminating on 5th May with a performance of Louis Andriessen’s Workers Union to celebrate his 75th birthday. …and we’re celebrating another internationally-renowned, Kent-based musician with a rare solo concert from Evan Parker to celebrate his 70th birthday.

And we’re continuing to develop our relationship with poetry ?

MW: Yes; the brilliant Sounds New Poetry will return, featuring site-specific readings (3rd-5th May) and writers-in-residence at the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge (6th-9th May).

There’s a synergy between audiences for new music and new poetry, isn’t there ?

MW: Yes, ‘Sounds’ and ‘New’ are terms that shouldn’t just be reserved for music, I feel, and the live performance of poetry is very strong in Canterbury: it is something that Free Range and the ZONE poets at the University of Kent have really helped to bring closer to ‘music’ audiences. I’m looking forward to further connections between music, sound and the spoken word right across the festival.

Inspiring musicians and audiences of tomorrow continues to be important, reflected in the educational aspect of Sounds New; what’s happening this year ?

MW: Building performers and listeners of the future is very important for us; all of our programming has education at its heart. This year our programme of events for young people culminate in the ‘All for One’ event at St Peter’s Methodist Church; there’s also the ‘Curious Curator’ exhibition and ‘the Black Box’ project (which grows out of our innovative ‘Big Brand New’ ensemble).

So, to sum it up: a vibrant, eclectic and innovative festival this year with plenty to look forward to ?

MW: in short, the festival is as packed as ever and we hope to see you there! Early bird tickets will be available soon from: www.soundsnew.org.uk so make sure you’re keeping an eye out…


Sounds New 2014 line-up announced

March 3, 2014

Excitement is running high in the offices and corridors of the Sounds New empire this morning, as we are delighted to reveal the details of this year’s Sounds New Festival.

sn_logo_newThe festival team, under the expert eye of artistic director Matt Wright, has worked hard to bring this year’s festival into the light, with a mixture of exciting contemporary music delivered by world-class performers including Exaudi, Icebreaker and John Harle; the Sounds New Poetry thread continues to develop with a residence at The Beaney; the London Sinfonietta will have a four-day residency culminating in their concert including works by Cardew and Andriessen; and the educational arm of the festival returns to St Peter’s Methodist Church.

Take a look at the line-up over on our online programme, and you’ll see why we’re excited. We’ll be bringing you all the stories and features in the run-up to the festival, which takes place from Friday 2 – Friday 9 May in and around the historic city, and promises to bring the ancient stones of Canterbury alive with the vibrant music of today, performed by some of its very best exponents.

#SoundsNew2014: it all starts here…

Note: for further information / press about this year’s Festival, please contact the Festival Administrator.


New website, and new vision for Sounds New

November 7, 2013

We’re looking forward to bringing a dynamic new mix of music to Canterbury next May, drawing on Sounds New’s well-established reputation in developing new work for the concert-hall and beyond.

Next year we hope to broaden out the scope of what the festival can offer, embracing the fact that innovation is happening across the entire spectrum of music and sound: in contemporary chamber and multimedia work, in improvisation, in jazz and progressive rock, in world music, in electronic music and sonic art, in poetry, in site-specific installations, in gallery spaces, on the web and within the streets of the city itself. It promises to be quite a mix!

With this in mind, our new-look website aims to reflect a respect for the past, for the medieval roots of the city, whilst also reflecting a progressive, digital stance. We hope that the site will grow over the next few months, hosting new audio, art and poetry as we countdown to the festival itself next May.

New vision for the Festival

New vision for the Festival

We hope to see you there!


Sounds New announces new appointments

April 15, 2013

Sounds New, Canterbury’s Contemporary Music Festival, is delighted to announce two new appointments.

The Guest Artistic Director for the 2014 Festival will be Dr Matthew Wright, whose background is in contemporary music, DJ technology, brass band and community music. Matt works as a composer, improviser and sound artist at the edges of concert and club culture, his output stretching from scores for early music ensembles and contemporary chamber groups to digital improvisation, turntablism, website installations and large events combining DJs, new music performers and digital media. His music is released on a number of labels, but he has most recently received worldwide distribution with a CD he composed in collaboration with legendary saxophonist Evan Parker. The CD, named Trance Map, gained a four-star review in the Financial Times, with reviewer Mike Hobart claiming the work ‘enthrals and soothes in equal measure’. Continue reading


Sounds New: the new blog

March 27, 2013

Hot on the heels of last season’s successful blogging, we’re re-inventing Sounds New’s blog: and this is the result!

Sounds New logoHere you’ll find all the familiar content from before: features, interviews, podcasts, composer profiles, audio extracts and more; the new facility will offer enhanced functionality, improved navigation and archiving, and a whole host of new features.

In conjunction with the Sounds New website, we will guide you through some of the most cutting-edge music of our time.

Based in the historic and beautiful city of Canterbury, Sounds New is an essential platform for the music of our time.

Welcome aboard!

Posted by Daniel Harding


Sounds New a winner at the Canterbury Culture Awards

June 22, 2012

We’re delighted to announce that Sounds New was awarded Destination Canterbury 2012 at last night’s Canterbury Culture Awards. This award, sponsored by ABode, is given to the arts organisation that brings the greatest national and international cultural credit to the city;

For an organisation, group or individual who has done most in the last twelve months to raise the profile of the District’s cultural offering regionally, nationally and internationally.

We’re extremely proud; the award is a terrific acknowledgement of the Festival’s efforts in bringing major cultural figures to Canterbury, significant composers, performers and ensembles from the world of international contemporary music and giving people in the region the opportunity to experience music performed by many of the world’s leading national and international players, as well as all the related arts and educational projects that combine in Sounds New. The entire team behind the delivery of this year’s Festival, including its Artistic Director, Paul Max Edlin, and Festival Manager, Michelle Castelletti, is thoroughly delighted.

culture_awardsCongratulations to all the winners at last night’s award ceremony, which recognised the region as a vibrant cultural area with a great deal of individuals, organisations and events contributing to make Kent a dynamic area, rich in artistic and creative initiatives.