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Sonic Arts Network is a UK-based organisation, established in 1979, that aims to enable both audiences and practitioners to engage with the art of sound through a programme of festivals, events, commissions and education projects. Its honorary patron is Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Sonic Arts Network’s activities separate into three main areas:
  • Activities – Events, regular festivals such as Cut and Splice and Expo, tours and commissions.
  • Education – national education project Sonic Postcards, artist workshops and talks.
  • Network – Sonic Arts Network is a membership organisation that acts as a hub of information, opportunities and publications for the UK sonic arts scene.


Every year, Sonic Arts Network produces a number of nationwide commissions and projects in partnership with funding agencies, sponsors, broadcasters and venues. The aim of these activities is to bring some of the best new and existing work by sound artists from around the world to the UK. Sonic Arts Network’s main forthcoming activities include: Cut and Splice, Expo Plymouth 2007, Beach Singularity and its most recent commission, Vacant Space.

Cut and Splice

Cut and Splice is a festival of experimental electronic music that brings together international artists to premiere new work or recreate seminal historical pieces. The event has previously featured Bernard Parmegiani, François Bayle, Yasunao Tone and Ars Electronicamarker Prize-winner Eliane Radigue. Some of the artists featured in Cut and Splice Acousmonium 2006 at the ICAmarker included Russell Haswell, John Wall, Hecker, Michel Chion, Christian Zanési, Philip Jeck, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Zbigniew Karkowski and Hans-Joachim Roedelius.

Expo Festival

Since 1997, the Expo Festival is the playground of the experimental music and sound art scene in the UK. Free and open to the public, the event mobilises a national network of artists and engages with communities from all backgrounds – placing sonic art and the people who make it, in direct contact with the public.

Expo 2006 explored the inner, outer and public spaces of Manchestermarker. The festival included sound installations at the Cornerhousemarker by Berlinmarker based sound art collective Staalplaat Soundsystem who presented The Ultrasound of Therapy; Bob Levene’s newly commissioned work The Space Between – Experiments for Speakers and Helmut Lemke’s new work KLANGELN 7. There was also a performance by Norwegian female electro/instrumental improv group SPUNK and Birminghammarker sound arts activists Dreams of Tall Buildings performing the first graphic score in 40 years by Fluxus artist and founder of the band The United States of America, Joseph Byrd. Victoria Bathsmarker, winner of BBC’s 2004 Restoration competition, saw over 600 people attend a day of site-specific happenings that utilised the spaces and acoustics of the listed building with a programme of performances and installations.

The focus for Expo 2007 shifts to Plymouthmarker and the South West of England where Expo will be presented in partnership with the University of Plymouthmarker's i-DAT (Institute of Digital Art and Technology).

This weekend of performance, exhibition and presentation will take place between 22-25 June 2007 across a variety of public venues in Plymouth including a selection of outdoor performance spaces, club spaces and an historic architectural space. Online works will also be part of the activities.

Beach Singularity

Beach Singularity is a celebration of the British seaside. Set in an afternoon, the piece involves hundreds of holidaymakers of all ages in a bizarre and creative performance featuring a marching band, interactive electronic sound, beach activities and sound games. Supported by Contemporary Music Network (CMN), Beach Singularity will tour 3 seaside towns in August 2007. Composed and devised by Trevor Wishart, Beach Singularity received its first performances on the beaches of Morecambemarker, Cleveleysmarker, St. Annesmarker, and Southportmarker in the summer of 1977 as part of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations.


Sonic Arts Network aims to support the development of both emerging and established artists in the UK through a rolling programme of commissions that in recent years has commissioned new work for performance and installation across the UK from artists including Kaffe Matthews, Justin Bennett, People Like Us, Ergo Phizmiz, Dreams of Tall Buildings and Bob Levene.


Sonic Arts Network undertook its first formal education project at the 1989 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival with composer John Cage and has subsequently provided projects for the South Bank Centremarker, The Science Museummarker, Canary Wharfmarker, Birminghammarker's Symphony Hallmarker and more. In 2000 Sonic Arts Network led the education programme for Sonic Boom at London’s Hayward Gallerymarker.

Sonic postcards

The main branch of Sonic Arts Network’s current Education programme is Sonic postcards which aims to explore and compare the local sound environments of young people across the UK; the impact of sound on our lives; and the possibilities for creativity through the interaction of these sounds with the internet. 52 schools from across the UK took part in its first year.

The project is aimed at pupils between the ages of 9-14 in primary, secondary and special schools. Each project provides pupils with the opportunity to record and gather sounds to use as the basis of their sonic postcards. The pupils become sound designers by composing and structuring their own sonic postcards which are emailed to other schools that have participated in the project. All the sonic postcards are then uploaded to the Sonic postcards website.


Sonic Arts Network is a membership organisation with over 600 members. This community of artists, organisations and the wider public with an interest in sound art and experimental music is served by the Sonic Arts Network through a combination of online services, performance, exhibition and educational opportunities and a range of specially curated CDs and newsletters.

CD series

These guest-curated CD are released several times a year, accompanying the aural element of the publication is a richly produced booklet that often underpins and contextualises the themes explored on the CD.

Previous issues have been curated by Nicolas Collins, editor-in-chief of the Leonardo Music Journal and Chair of the Department of Sound at the School of the Art Institute of Chicagomarker, who developed a theme based around silence. Kenny Goldsmith, a writer, poet and founder of UbuWeb, who trawled his archives to create a compilation of sound poetry. Japanese performance artist, Junko Wada curated a deeply personal selection of music, produced by a process of curation, performance and collaboration. Professor Andrew Hugill explored the French absurdist movement ’Pataphysics – a CD which travels from unheard Soft Machine tracks, Marcel Duchamp and Gavin Bryars and through to Frank Zappa’s former lover, Nigey Lennon and a piece of silence that predates John Cage by 70 years by Alphonse Allais. Ben Watson delivered a post-Allais polemic through a disgruntled whiny from the Esemplasm. Tim Steiner’s Big Ears unearthed the lost art of Radio broadcasting and Irwin Chusid, broadcaster and author of Songs in the Key of Z, delivered DIY and outsider nuggets.

The latest in the series is The Topography of Chance by Stewart Lee, comedian and writer of Jerry Springer: The Opera. The CD explores spoken word, music and sound that all include some chance element in their creation.

Other International Electroacoustic Organisations

  • ACMA — Australasian Computer Music Association
  • CIME/ICEM — Confédération Internationale de Musique Electroacoustique / International Confederation of Electroacoustic Music
  • DeGeM — Deutsche Gesellschaft für Elektroakustische Musik e.V. (Germany)
  • DIEM — Danish Institute of Electroacoustic Music
  • EMS — Elektroakustisk Musik i Sverige (Sweden)
  • ICMA — International Computer Music Association
  • HELMCA — Hellenic Electroacoustic Music Composers Association (Greece)
  • NEAR — Netherlands Electro-Acoustic Repertoire Centre
  • NOTAM — Norsk nettverk for Teknologi, Akustikk og Musikk
  • SEAMUSSociety for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States

See also

External links

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