Sound Symposium XVII -
30 Years of Magic!

A Biennial Festival of New Music & the Arts 
July 4-12, 2014

Click here for the 2014 schedule! Come to the Sound Symposium — for an evening, an afternoon, a weekend, or a full 9 days and nights and treat yourself to an amazing variety of sights, sounds and ideas!
  • Amazing Evening Concerts
  • Harbour Symphonies
  • World Premieres
  • Inspiring Workshops
  • Quiet Music
  • Unusual Musical Instruments
  • Improvisation!
  • Night Music at the Ship Pub
  • Visions of Sound
  • Musicians and Artists from Newfoundland, Canada, and beyond!

For over three decades Sound Symposium has been inviting artists of all genres from around the world to explore, discover and demonstrate the world of sound. Join us for this creative, magical, noisy, reflective time. Starting July 4, Sound Symposium brings together more than 100 guest artists: musicians, dancers, actors, sound sculptors, writers, poets, instrument builders and audio inventors.

“Nowhere else on this planet is something like the Sound Symposium in existence…”

- Trimpin, Seattle-based instrument inventor


This Summer, Sound Symposium XVII is poised to fill our fair city with ear-opening and enlightening musical opportunities. Exact program details are being finalized, but all artists listed below are committed to participating in the festival.

Here’s a taste of what’s in store…

  • William Parker, perhaps the greatest improvising bass player of our time, will present a workshop and give a performance with Toronto guitarist Ken Aldcroft;
  • The Black Auks improvisational ensemble;
  • Internationally renowned keyboardist John Kameel Farah;
  • Trifolia: Marianne Trudel, piano; Patrick Graham, drums, percussion; Etienne Lafrance, double bass
  • Pianist Ajay Heble and his improvising band the Vertical Squirrels;
  • Pianist/composer Steve Naylor with bass clarinetist Jeff Reilly;
  • Katelyn Clark, medieval organetto & Patrick Dupuis, electronics
Improvisational Theatre:
  • Stanley Braxton, an improvisational theatre group based in St. John’s, who specialize in long form theatre improvisation. Stanley Braxton’s name comes from the fictional folk hero (of their own invention), and they share the legends of this great man every time they perform, giving a new leg of his fictional journey each time.
Instrument building:
  • Performances, illustrations and workshops with Bart Hopkin, publisher of Experimental Musical Instrument magazine for fifteen years and the mind behind the website;
  • Jesse Stewart, who creates new types of percussion instruments;
  • Scott Stevenson, co-winner of the 2012 Zagorski Artist Award, and Andrew Staniland, winner of the Harry Freedman Recording Award with their new invention — a haptic interface for live digital performance called the “ARC”.
World premieres and Canadian premieres:
  • Cosmos Wind Ensemble (Malta) will perform a world premiere inspired by local artist Pam Hall’s essential children’s book On the Edge of the Eastern Ocean;
  • Doug Blackley and Andrew Czink: Spectral Piano
  • Andrew Staniland;
  • Michael Oesterle;
  • Benton Roark;
  • Jordan Nobles;
  • David Vayo (USA);
  • Patrick Boyle (trumpet) and Greg Bruce (saxophone) will perform a co-composed, written piece for horns and live police scanner;
  • Kathleen Allan;
  • Patrick Boyle;
  • Gabriel Dufour-Laperriere;
  • Alberto Garzia (Malta);
  • New compositions by three students from Andrew Staniland’s composition class at the MUN School of Music.
Contemporary classical works performed by:
  • The Poltergeist trio Stephanie Chua (piano), Veronique Mathieu (violin), and David Jaeger (electronics);
  • Cosmos Wind Ensemble (Malta)
  • Steve Cowan (solo guitar);
  • Arkora ensemble (featuring Kathleen Allan, David Schotzko, Mark Haney, Kate Read, Gillian Sheppard, Steve Cowan and Benton Roark);
  • Redshift’s Trade Winds with the Memorial University Wind Ensemble.
Dance & Music:
  • Putting On the Ice-Shirt: the premiere performance of a 30-minute sound and movement work by Bill Horist and Davida Monk, two celebrated artists in music and dance. Although Horist and Monk have a 13-year collaborative history, this work will be the first in which they actually perform together.
  • Boreal Breaths and Steps: a guided walk along the paths through a boreal forest, stopping at certain spots to hear site-specific poems that refer to the immediate environment where the audience is standing, with dance/movement in relation to the site’s natural features, all with particular reference to the sense of touch. Presented by poets Marlene Creates and Don McKay, and dancers Louise Moyes and Nicola Hawkins.
Literature & Theatre:
  • 2014 BMO Winterset Award winner Paul Bowdring brings Lord Amulree’s Newfoundland Dog, a dramatic work, based on his new novel The Strangers’ Gallery.
  • Poetry in a boreal forest read by Newfoundland poets Don McKay and Marlene Creates.
Sound/Art Installations:
  • Andrea Cooper’s audiovisual installation Too Far North at the Eastern Edge Gallery will explore the juxtaposition between ‘urban’ and ‘North’;
  • Downtown St. John’s, a new location each day: CAPELIN ROLLING by Lori Doody;
Outdoor site specific works and explorations:
  • Boreal Breaths and Steps, a walk in the boreal forest with site-specific poetry and dance, with poets Marlene Creates and Don McKay, and dancers Louise Moyes and Nicola Hawkins
  • Daily Harbour Symphonies will sound at noon in the St. John’s harbour;
  • St. John’s Harbour: HARBOUR VIEW, by Chris Driedzic & Graham Kennedy;
  • The St. John’s Battery: INSIDE OUTSIDE BATTERY, by Chris Brookes.
Workshops, lectures, and open rehearsals with:
  • William Parker;
  • Marianne Trudel;
  • Bart Hopkin;
  • Boujou Badialy Cissoko, Kora;
  • Doug Blackley and Andrew Czink: Spectral Piano
  • Davida Monk, dance & Bill Horist, guitar. Workshop on sound/movement, music/dance collaborations founded on the idea of two musics, focusing on the development of shared vocabulary in Putting on the Ice-Shirt;
  • John Kameel Farah;
  • Jessica Lurie: Workshop/Open rehearsal with Ouroboros on composing, and improvisation;
  • and participants in the IICSI Summer Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation.

There’s always something happening. Join a morning gallery walk or a late-night show at a downtown pub. Take in a workshop. Learn a new dance. Play a home made instrument. Enjoy the laid-back, social atmosphere Newfoundland is famous for. Be part of it, because there’s something for everyone at Sound Symposium. Come along and explore the future of sound!

Evening Concerts

Our evening program combine the best of jazz, contemporary classical, world and improvised music with theatre, dance and more. Each night promises a different blend of the familiar with the unknown – something for everyone with open ears!

Harbour Symphony

Get blown away by our inescapable Harbour Symphonies! They create mighty soundwaves in St. John’s Harbour every noon-hour, heralding the event. The Harbour Symphony has long been considered the Sound Symposium’s doorbell (Pay attention—we’re here!). People all over St. John’s sit up and listen at 12:30 each day during the festival, while the ships berthed in the harbour jolt into action, becoming the most incredible floating orchestra you’ll ever hear. Ships’ horns replace trumpets and tubas, as specially trained “tooters” and “timers” take over the captains’ seats. Each day you’ll hear a different symphony from the ships. The best places to listen are Signal Hill, Willicott Lane or the South side Hills.


Take one of Sound Symposium’s free workshops! Learn something new – maybe even discover a hidden talent. Watch, experiment and have fun!

Night Music at the Ship Pub

Late evenings at the SHIP PUB offer opportunities for jamming. Different performers or bands take ot the stage and warm up the audience with a set of original music, and then the floor opens up, and Symposium guests and others are invited to join the man. These late night bar shows are highlights of the festival. The atmosphere, music and company will make your Ship Pub visits ones to remember.

This year’s Ship Pub sessions will be hosted by:

  • Big Space (Grant King, Ashley Chalmers, Ian Murphy)
  • Skylarks (Chris Harnett, Aneirin Thomas, Brad Jefford, Andrew McCarthy, Luke Power)
  • C’llapse (Andrew Noseworthy, Ryan Power, Charles Pickett, Nathan Day)
  • Chris Tonelli and Friends (Paul Bendzsa, Andrew Staniland & Dr. Ums)
  • Curtis Andrews and Friends (Bill Brennan, Patrick Boyle, Duane Andrews)
  • Ouroboros, with Jessica Lurie of the Billy Tipton Memorial Sax Ensemble, (NY & Seattle)
Quiet Music

As the evening deepens step into a quiet space – perhaps a living room of a St. John’s home, or a darkened club or wine vault. Listen to an exquisite concert of unamplified music performed by Symposium artists, away from the traditional concert halls, background noise and barroom chatter. After each performance the audience is welcome to linger, sip a glass of wine, and mingle with the artists and each other.

Ken Aldcroft, guitarist (ON) & William Parker, bassist (NY)
The Black Auks, improvisational music ensemble (NL)
Patrick Boyle, trumpet, & Greg Bruce, saxophone – jazz, improvisational duo (NL)
Katelyn Clark, medieval organetto, & Patrick Dupuis, electronics (QC)
John Kameel Farah, piano, pipe organ – contemporary classical music, and improvisation (ON)
The Vertical Squirrels, improvisational music ensemble (ON)
Chris Tonelli, voice experimenter, improviser (ON)
Steven Naylor, piano, and Jeff Reilly, bass clarinet – jazz duo (NS)
Trifolia, improvisational jazz trio (QC)
Jesse Stewart, percussionist (ON)
Stanley Braxton, improvisational theatre troupe (NL)
ArKora ensemble, contemporary classical ensemble (Can./US)
David Schotzsko, percussion (ON)
Graham Kennedy, photographer (NL)
Paul Bendzsa, saxophone, clarinet, flute, Krista Vincent, piano (NL)
Cosmos Wind Ensemble, contemporary wind quintet (Malta)
Stephanie Chua, piano (ON); Veronique Mathieu, violin (USA); and David Jaeger, electronics (ON) – contemporary classical trio
Redshift (Canada), with MUN’s Wind Ensemble (NL)
Steve Cowan, solo guitar (NL)
Chris Brookes, author, storyteller, independent radio producer NL
Bart Hopkin, inventor and builder of homemade musical instruments (USA)
Andrew Staniland, composer, inventor & Scott Stevenson, electronic musician and sound engineer (NL)
Andrea Cooper, artist (NL)
Lori Doodyoutdoor installation (NL)
Chris Driedzic and Graham Kennedy, audio exhibition (NL)
Gerard Neil and Daniel Keating, audio-visual interactive installation (NL)
Doug Blackley & Andrew Czink – spectral piano installation (ON)
Davida Monk, dance (AB) & Bill Horist, guitar (USA) – music/movement work
Big Space, jazz trio (NL)
Ouroboros (NL)
C’llapse (NL)
Curtis Andrews & friends (NL)