What was the aim of this programme?

The aim of the Sonica 2017 programme was to bring the highest calibre and most innovative visual music and sonic art by both established international and emerging UK artists to audiences across Scotland. Despite being Glasgow-based, the hugely diverse programme, which comprised 160 events and performances by over 60 artists from 14 countries, attracted in excess of 18,000 visitors from Glasgow, the rest of Scotland, elsewhere in the UK and overseas.

We place a great emphasis on making what can often be perceived as niche or exclusive work accessible to the masses, with the diversity of our programme reflected in the broad choice of venues, which ranged from familiar, more conventional spaces such as CCA and Glasgow Science Centre to the lesser known and certainly less expected, Hamilton Mausoleum and Titan Crane; the substantial number of free and family friendly events on offer, which combined, totaled 72% of the overall programme and, by offering an insightful series of complementary talks, tours and workshops, meaning people were able to learn more about the inspirations, technologies and creative practice behind the events they attended.


How would you describe the programme?

The Sonica 2017 programme stimulated the eyes, the ears and the mind with live performances, installations, film screenings and VR experiences that were outlandish and interdisciplinary, interactive and playful, contemplative and challenging, immersive and all absorbing. We had works concerned with everything from the human race’s relationship with the elements and raising awareness of global climate change to ancient Japanese custom, industrial heritage and even space exploration, revealing to the public for the first time since being discovered in Australia 1937, the Boxole Meteorite, which featured in Marcela Armas and Gilberto Esparza’s Sideral.


What was the most exciting thing to come out of this project?

The most exciting thing about Sonica 2017 was the UK Premiere of AquaSonic by Denmark’s Between Music. 10 years in the making, this pioneering ensemble worked with divers, scientists and instrument-makers to investigate the ways in which science and art can meet and influence one another. Premiering original compositions whilst submerged in vast-tanks of water, the show featured performers both singing beneath the surface with specially developed vocal techniques and playing instruments custom-designed for use underwater – including adapted strings and percussion.


How long did it take to put this programme together?

It took two years to put the programme together.


If you could work with any artist from history to create a dream programme, who would it be and why?

The one artist from history I would like to curate and collaborate on a dream programme with is the father of electronic music, innovative French-born American composer Edgar Varèse. Never afraid to take risks and push the boundaries, he was ahead of his time, paving the way for many of modern music’s great masters, including Boulez, Cage, Feldman, Messiaen, Stockhausen and Frank Zappa. More importantly, I greatly admire and have an affinity with his approach towards supporting talent, given that he was known for promoting the work of his contemporaries and founded both the International Composers’ Guild and the Pan-American Association of Composers.


In an ideal world, what is the programme that you would most like to put together?

Overall I would like to partner not just with artists and venues, but also to collaborate with orchestras and music ensembles to encourage them to take risks in visualising music with a view to attracting a younger audience.


My dream performance to programme would be a collaboration between three diverse artists/ groups -  Varèse DJ’ing with electronic, Bristol-based duo, Fuck Buttons accompanied by visuals from German-based painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer.

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