Introducing SÓNic Interventions – our exiting and eclectic series of musical reactions to ARTIST ROOMS: Gerhard Richter, the exhibition launching the new city-centre John Hansard Gallery this spring. SÓN have curated an intoxicating blend of new and old, journeying from J S Bach to improvised and newly-commissioned works. There’s even music which the audience will create, too, as we explore crowd-composing and musical chance. SÓN musicians, alongside stunning guest artists and associated composers, present this series of SÓNic Interventions to you this summer – right next to the very artwork which inspired them.

Having opened in Southampton’s brand new Studio 144 arts complex in May 2018, John Hansard Gallery’s ARTIST ROOMS: Gerhard Richter celebrates one of the greatest living artists, whose style and work is as diverse as it is fascinating. Robin Browning, SÓN Artistic Director, has devised four musical reactions which have been curated specifically for this exhibition, working closely with SÓN musicians and other regular collaborators from the international stage.

SÓNic Interventions launch at 6pm on Friday 29 June, and continue fortnightly through the summer. Presented as informal “rush-hour” performances intended to fully embrace the space and ambience of the new gallery, each event is a reaction to a particular aspect of Richter’s artistic style, or to a specific work on display at the gallery. There’s no need to remain seated as if at a more formal concert performance: feel free to move around, wander from gallery to gallery with the performers, or move at your own pace taking in the ambient sounds in the background. Whether you listen to every note, or listen from afar, the choice is completely yours in these informal sonic events. Scroll down to find out more…

Friday 29 June – 6pm
The Loré Lixenberg “Singterview”

Celebrated vocal artist Loré Lixenberg brings her engaging musical pyrotechnics to Southampton in this response to Richter’s “48 Portraits” – a series of black and white over-painted photographs of many of the twentieth century’s most impactful men: composers, scientists, writers and politicians. Lixenberg weaves her vocal lines and semi-improvisational responses over a newly-composed electroacoustic work: a rich tapestry of sounds, extracts and music incorporating every single one of those featured in the “48” – including Puccini, Sibelius and Mahler alongside texts by Rilke, Kafka and Thomas Mann.

As part of the performance Lixenberg will “singterview” all three of the exhibition’s curators, exploring themes and ideas behind Richter’s Portraits in addition to other works on display. The event will be performed live, surrounded by the Portraits, and also live-streamed around the gallery.

Friday 13 July – 6pm
Bach and the abstract

Join Anca Campanie, virtuoso violinist and SÓN Associate Director, as she meanders around the entire exhibition focusing on Richter’s love of Bach, combined with an exploration of the abstract. The evening includes the gigantic Bach Chaconne, alongside works by Eugene Ysaÿe, John Cage and Anna Clyne, all subtly fused together by multiple performances of a newly-composed aleatoric work (taking its inspiration from Mussorgsky’s famous Pictures at an Exhibition) for solo violin by University of Southampton composer Andrew Fowler.

Friday 27 July – 6pm
ElectroQuiz – Crowd-voting the compositional process

One of the most exciting of all the SÓNic Interventions centres around the idea of crowd-composing and aleatoric music. ElectroQuiz has been created as a direct response to Richter’s “4,900 Colours” – one of the key works in the exhibition, in which 4,900 Pantone squares are displayed in a coherent but aleatoric way. Following a short introduction by University of Southampton composer Joe Manghan, you – the audience – will play your part in the composition of a new piece of music, via crowd-voting using a mobile phone app. Joe will guide and steer you all the way through this process: we’ll all be contributing to ONE final composition, and the process will be equally as fascinating as the final result.

Friday 10 Aug – 6pm
Minimalism & Phase Music

Combining reactions to two key elements in Richter’s work – minimalism and the use of phasing or blurring – SÓN musicians bring the finale of their series of SÓNic Interventions to John Hansard this summer. With music by Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Max Richter and Howard Skempton, SÓN celebrates Gerhard Richter’s’ deep connection with, and avowed love of phase-music and minimalism.

This performance includes reactions to the mirrors and glass in Gallery 2, including Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel and the opening of Philip Glass’s Glassworks for solo keyboard, whilst Richter’s namesake explores elements of recomposition and reuse – a technique so often employed in works throughout ARTIST ROOMS: Gerhard Richter.

Each event is non-ticketed and free, just drop-in. More information on each event including detailed repertoire and performer biographies will be available on this site in June 2018. Check back here, follow our social media stream, and subscribe to our eNews for updates as soon as they’re available.