sound festival to showcase University’s musical talent

The University of Aberdeen’s thriving department of music will showcase the talents of both students and staff as the north-east’s premier music festival, sound, gets underway.

With more than 200 undergraduate students and double the staff it had 10 years ago, Music at Aberdeen is enjoying a renaissance at a time when many other universities are losing their departments.

Pete Stollery, Professor in Composition and Electroacoustic Music at the University, is one of the driving forces behind sound and one of the founders of the festival, now in its sixth year.

Offering more than 60 performances in over 20 venues across North East Scotland, sound opens today (Wednesday October 20) and runs until November 14.

Professor Stollery said the University’s involvement in sound includes the composition of original pieces by staff and students, as well as performances throughout the festival.

sound has grown into one of the most important music events in the calendar and staff and students of the University of Aberdeen have played an important role in bringing about that success,” he added.

“The fact that the University is a major partner in the festival reflects the strength of musical talent in the department.”

Highlights of the university’s involvement in the sound festival include:

  • Red Note Ensemble (October 20 – Wooden Barn, Banchory); five new pieces from staff and PG students and five music students will join the ensemble to perform Gavin Bryars Jesu’s Blood
  • Smith Quartet (October 22 – Johnston Hall, King’s College); new pieces for string quartet including Steve Reich’s Different Trains


  • Colin Currie Group (October 23- Johnston Hall, King’s College); performance of the minimalist classic Drumming  by Steve Reich, preceded by pre-concert talk by Pete Stollery


  • Terry Riley’s  IN C (October 24 - Johnston Hall, King’s College); workshop and performance of this piece open to all, and directed by Pete Stollery


  • New Music Ensemble (October 27– Johnston Hall, King’s College); performance of new work from music students


  • The ANA Project(October 30– Citymoves Studio, Aberdeen); collaboration between Bill Thompson, former PhD student composer, and choreographer Ian Spink


  • Sound a New Song(October 31– St Machar’s Cathedral) University of Aberdeen’s popular chamber choir join with those of the universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh for the first time in a performance promoted under the auspices of the John Armitage Memorial (JAM) Trust.
    The performance will include the world premiere of a piece by the department’s Dr Paul Mealor.


  • Reproductions(October 31 - Citymoves Studio, Aberdeen); current PhD student Ross Whyte combines dance, music, live video projection and live experimental electronics
  • Discoveries (October 31 – Left Bank, Tarland); Pete Stollery presents electroacoustic music including compositions from school pupils
  • Edinburgh Quartet (November 2 – Cowdray Hall); the department’s String Quartet in residence perform Haydn, Beethoven and a new piece by Bill Sweeney


  • Richard Craig (November 11– Cowdray Hall); Visiting Fellow in Performance, Richard Craig teams up with Laura Baxter on piano for new music from France


  • University Orchestra and Choral Society (November 11– Music Hall); the massed forces of the university/s orchestra and choral society join together under the baton of Paul Mealor to perform music by Morten Lauridsen who was given an honorary degree by the university last year


  • Electroacoustic Fair(November 13 – MacRobert Building); a theme park of sound, curated by Pete Stollery. For one day the MacRobert Building will be turned into a hive of interactivity with performances, workshops, demos and sonic "rides" for everyone to take part in.

 Further details of all sound events can be found at: