#curioussounds - Amy Martin, Project Manager

The view from the bridge…

My name is Amy Martin and I am the project manager for Curious Sounds in Curious Spaces.

My job is to work with the event’s curators Fierce Festival and Symphony Hall in organising and coordinating this curious event featuring 28 artists and 24 installations, interventions, screenings, workshops and performances, all which explore different sounds and spaces within the world-class concert hall.

Some of the activities we have planned, such as strumming stairwells and drumming doorways, actually encourage the audience to play the building like an instrument. We also plan to use unseen areas like the piano store (where Symphony Hall keeps an assorted collection of pianos), plus the band rooms, dressing rooms, the loading bay and notably, there’ll be a special tour behind the amazing 6000 pipe organ.

It has been quite an undertaking and a real team effort to pull the event together which has tasked some of the UK’s most experimental sound and live artists with bringing these hidden spaces to life for one day only!

One of the main challenges has been for the artists themselves. Although Symphony Hall has experience of housing big productions, the shows themselves are already made and adapted to fit the concert venue. For Curious Sounds, many of the artists created completely new and site-specific work, which means that they fit their work into the dimensions and functionality of the building. To do this they have had to work closely with the in-house Operations and Technical teams, studying floor plans and thinking creatively about how to get power to many of these unusual spaces.

The other challenge we face is organising dress rehearsals and practice runs. As Symphony Hall is in use every day and nearly every night for concerts and gigs we won’t have a chance before the big day to have a dummy run! I guess that this all contributes to the excitement…

It was really important to Fierce and Symphony Hall that the event is suitable for the whole family so it has been great to work with professional illustrator Lewes Herriot in creating a friendly and appealing ‘look’ for the event in marketing materials. Lewes has created a series of mischievous monsters that each play with strange and curious instruments, taking his illustrations from hearing stories about the mischievous monsters of Symphony Hall. Legend has it that these monsters live underneath Symphony Hall and come out at night to play together in a big curious concert.

If you are ever up in the middle of the night and if you press your ear against the glass doors of Symphony Hall, you might hear them making strange plinky, plunky, buzzing, vibrating, crashes, bangs and toots that are very curious indeed…