The Unique Sound Symposium XIX Festival of New Music & the Arts is Returning to St. John's

[![Sound Symposium 2016. [Photo by Greg Locke]](/content/images/2018/05/7-SoundSymposium2016-by-Greg-Locke-300x200.jpg)](/content/images/2018/05/7-SoundSymposium2016-by-Greg-Locke.jpg)Sound Symposium 2016. [Photo by Greg Locke]
The Sound Symposium XIX Festival of New Music & the Arts will be taking place in St. John’s, NL from July 5-15, 2018. Organizers say it’ll offers 10 days that “will change the way you hear the world.” Everything at Sound Symposium is new, whether it be jazz, contemporary classical, world music, improv, or music that defies classification.This summer’s 19th edition of Sound Symposium is a celebration of sound. For ten days and nights in July, musicians, filmmakers, instrument builders and inventors from across Canada and around the world will turn St. John’s into a lively sound stage. Attendees will also experience new inventions and instruments, along with performance art and “the most off-the-wall garage band in the world.”

The innovative arts event happens every second year in St. John’s. Events will take place in concert halls, the harbour, street corners, parks, pubs, the woods, and even old WWII bunkers at Cape Spear National Historic Site. Some concerts will reflect Newfoundland’s exceptional landscape and soundscape with sounds of the sea, wind, whales, and seabirds. Others will reach into the beyond and take concert-goers with them to totally unique soundscapes. Attendees can also embrace their inner artist by taking part in the many free workshops. They might even play a ship’s horn in one of our daily harbour symphonies.

Sound Symposium XIX Highlights include:

The Harbour Symphony: Each day during Sound Symposium, the ships in St. John’s harbour are transformed into an orchestra on water as their horns blast out a composition written just for them.

Evening Concerts: Famous for their eclectic lineups, this year’s concerts will feature world premieres by visiting and Newfoundland and Labrador composers, jazz, percussion, pedal-steel guitar, electro-acoustic/ethno-trance music from Chile, music for silent film, improv, electronics, and music rooted in the indigenous cultures of Scandinavia and North America.

Sound Walks: Discover the hidden sounds of the city with guided walks exploring listening, sound gathering, and architectural acoustics.

Unusual Musical Instruments: You’ll hear what a lithophone and a viola d’amore sound like. Experience an instrument that responds to touch and the beating of your heart. Other artists have created instruments from old wool-making tools, like knitting needles, spinning wheels, spindles, and gloves.

Cape Spear Project: At dusk, Sound Symposium artists will perform at the easternmost point in North America, in the WWII bunkers at Cape Spear National Historic Site.

Night Music Series at the Ship Pub: Music and jam sessions take place most nights at The Ship Pub, one of Newfoundland artists’ favourite watering holes.

Tickets for individual events cost between $10 and $25. Passes for the entire festival are available. All workshops and many outdoor performances are free and open to the public.

For this year’s invited artists and schedule of events, visit

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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