Curious Sounds in Curious Spaces. Illustration by Lewes Herriot
Curious Sounds in Curious Spaces. Illustration by Lewes Herriot

Curious Sounds in Curious Spaces

A journey around Symphony Hall for adventurous ears of all ages.

Part of Symphony Hall 21st Anniversary Festival

Saturday 7 April 2012

Symphony Hall

This event is archived

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.

Experience the unusual side of sound and music. On Saturday 7 April, and as part of the wider Fierce Festival (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 a space where use of mobile technology is usually frowned upon.

Graeme MillerPicture and Piano is new work specially created for the stage of Symphony Hall. In a concert-installation, a player piano slides into the distance accompanied by its own movie. The piece modulates the receding music against an approaching landscape as the instrument makes its bid for freedom.

• Local Musicians – The day will feature elements produced by local Birmingham-based artists and organisations:

• Tissue box guitars with elastic band strings will be the DIY instruments of the past as Juneau Projects take music-making workshops into the 21st Century. Use cardboard to build your own instrument then add some simple electronics to trigger sound samples, take to the stage and play! 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.

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 and the scene dock.

• Play the stairwells of Symphony Hall as Sarah Farmer transforms them into a musical instrument.

• Explore the building’s resonant qualities with Bill Leslie and Stephen Cornford’s piece Tuning Up which uses sections of harmonicas and 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. Check out the video on Youtube.

Learn more at the Curious Sounds in Curious Spaces Tumblr here

For more information on Fierce Festival visit

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

Illustrations by Lewes Herriot

Free event.

Symphony Hall

  • 32 Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2EA, West Midlands, United Kingdom
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