Fiona Robertson Festival Director of sound – Shortlisted for Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Award for Achievement in New Music

February 23, 2017 in safnm2017 by mwhiteside

Fiona Robertson








  1. How did sound come about to begin with?

Sound was created in 2004 by Pete Stollery from the University of Aberdeen and Mark Hope from Woodend Barn. There was little new music happening in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and they wanted to find a solution to bring more innovative performances to the North East. I got involved with them immediately, and we did a pilot 4-day event in November 2004 called “Upbeat”. Following that we launched the first ever sound festival in 2005, and it has been an annual event ever since. 

  1. What were the highlights of the 2016 performances?

It’s always really difficult to choose highlights as there are so many varied events, and the artists and composers who take part give each soundfestival it’s unique feel. However, highlights for the team are often the concerts we have put the most time and effort into – and these tend to be our commissions. So this year, highlights were: our international project with Red Note, I Solisti del Vento (Belgium) and Song Circus (Norway) performing Andriessen’s De Staat, John de Simone’s The F Scale (world premiere) and Mauricio Kagel’s Der Tribun with Simon Callow narrating; pianist Rolf Hind’s tribute concert to Peter Maxwell Davies with new works celebrating the composer by Sally Beamish, Rolf Hind, Alasdair Nicolson and Gemma McGregor; Graham Fitkin’s new work Recur for harp and string quartet performed by Ruth Wall and the Sacconi Quartet; Bill Thompson’s Overland for organ, electronics, bagpipes, and cello; and Patricia Alessandrini’s Esquisses d’Artaud for voice, alto flute and live electronics. There were of course so many other highlights…

  1. Although the festival only takes place once a year, can you tell us a little about the year round impact of it?

Sound doesn’t just organize a festival, but organizes events and education work throughout the year. The festival is just one part of what we do, and the impact we want to achieve is to bring more new music to more people, and to give people opportunities wherever possible to participate. Both the festival and our other events contribute to this.

  1. What piece/project/performance did you see this year that you wished you had programmed or been involved in yourself?

I really wished I still (or ever?) played the viola well enough to take part in Andriessen’s De Staat. It was such an exciting performance, I’d have happily paid to be playing and not just listening!

  1. What is the project that you would most like to do?  The Dream Project…?

I’m not sure what the organisation’s dream project is apart from doing what we do better (and having lots of money to make that easier!). Personally I’d like to open and run a sort of Cove Park for contemporary composers and musicians…!