Curious Sounds in Curious Spaces

A free journey around Symphony Hall for Adventurous ears of all ages 12-5pm, Saturday 7 April 2012, Symphony Hall, Birmingham.

Flat Trolls - Lewes Herriot

Flat Trolls - Lewes Herriot

On 7 April 2012 Symphony Hall throws open its doors for a special event in partnership with Fierce Festival as part of the world famous venue’s 21 Anniversary celebrations. As part of the wider Fierce Festival programme (29 March-8 April), Symphony Hall will become a laboratory of ear-opening sound experiments, a chance to discover the mechanisms behind sound and explore areas of Symphony Hall not usually open to the public. Curious Sounds in Curious Spaces will feature music-based performances, installations, educational interactive activities and workshops for all the family.

Highlights include:

  • Mobile Sinfonia – One of three UK launch performances of Jem Finer’s (ex-The Pogues) new work. Developed in collaboration with a team of computer scientists at ICIA in Bath, the piece consists of a series of ringtones downloaded from the Mobile Sinfonia website and ‘performed’ by the general public in the Symphony Hall’s auditorium, a space where use of mobile technology is usually frowned upon. Ringtones can be downloaded now:
  • Local Musicians – The day will feature elements produced by local Birmingham-based artists and organisations:
  • Brian Duffy of Modified Toy Orchestra ( presents a performance on souped-up versions of Speak and Spells, the classic 70s children’s toy.
  • Juneau Projects ( will take DIY music-making workshops into the 21sCentury. Use cardboard to build your own instrument then add some simple
  • electronics to trigger sound samples, then use your creation to make music. Examples of the ingenious instruments dreamed up can be seen here:
  • 8 Bit Lounge ( will transport their monthly club night at the Hare and Hounds to Symphony Hall with Gameboy music, chip-core tunes and an array of retro arcade games to play.
  • Building on the success of their recent residency at VIVID and their monthly nights at the Hare and Hounds, Soundkitchen ( will curate the Sonic Tree, a large installation covered in speakers featuring a series of local artists and musicians.
  • Graeme MillerPicture and Piano is new work specially created for the stage of Symphony Hall. In a concert-installation, a Disklavier (automated piano) slides into the distance accompanied by its own live-relayed movie. The piece modulates the receding music against an approaching landscape as the instrument makes its bid for freedom.
  • The Feral Choir – For almost a decade Phil Minton has brought together professional singers and members of the public alike to participate in his Feral Choir. For the celebrations, groups from the Symphony Hall Learning, Outreach and Participation teams will perform. A series of workshops over a number of weeks will encourage the participants to consider the potential of their bodies to create sounds and noises beyond the traditional act of singing.
  • Felix’s Machines – Automata like you have never seen before. Felix Thorn makes moving musical installations from all sorts of found materials from parts of musical instruments to soap dishes.
  • Explore Symphony Hall –
  • Areas of Symphony Hall not usually seen by the public will opened up to investigate including backstage band rooms and dressing rooms, behind the organ and the scene dock.
  • Play the stairwells of Symphony Hall as Sarah Farmer transforms them into a musical instrument.
  • Discover the concert hall’s superb resonant qualities with Bill Leslie and Stephen Cornford’s piece Tuning Up which creates chords using sections of harmonicas attached to helium balloons. As the balloons are released, the helium makes them ascend to the ceiling, where they gradually deflate exhaling helium through the harmonica and thus emitting a sound.

The event will also include majestic kinetic speaker-installations from Ray Lee (conceived in relation to the history of Symphony Hall) and installations examining light, sound and nature from Mark Anderson and Jony Easterby from the Powerplant collective.

The full Fierce Festival programme is now online

More information of Symphony Hall’s 21st anniversary celebrations can be found at:

#curioussounds  #sh21 #fierce2012