Neil Brand joins ‘Hearing Voices in the Noise’

The renown silent film accompanist, Neil Brand, will join Mark Underwood for his presentation Hearing Voices in the Noise, exploring the phenomena of audio hallucination, and its possible connections to the way we perceive sound and moving image.

Neil Brand has been a silent film accompanist for over 30 years, regularly in London at the Barbican and BFI National Film Theatres, throughout the UK and at film festivals and special events around the world, where he has inaugurated the School of Music and Image to teach up-and-coming young pianists about silent film accompaniment.

Walter Murch and Annabelle Pangborn in closing session

It has been 90 years since The Jazz Singer and the advent of sync sound in films. On a lesser note, it’s 19 years since the first School of Sound. It feels like a good time to take stock.

Walter Murch and Annabelle Pangborn close this year’s School with a discussion looking back and forward, rebooting the discussion about sound in the arts and media. Where have over 60 years of high tech sound work taken us? What has changed in the way we communicate through sound? What have we gained and lost? Has technology and the creation of ‘sound design’ changed audiences? Do they think or perceive differently? Should we change the way we teach the art, craft and theory of sound?


Mark Underwood presents Hearing Voices in the Noise

Hearing Voices in the Noise: A short seminar exploring the phenomena of audio hallucination, and its possible connections to the way we perceive sound and moving image. Mark explores our innate desire to make sense of our audio and visual world; to seek order from chaos, to find the familiar in the unfamiliar, safety in the unsettling, and patterns in random information.

What is real, anyway? The depiction of nature in an age of hyperreality

As part of April’s School of Sound, Stephen Deutsch introduces and chairs this session on sound in documentary, focusing on the representation of nature.

Nature is depicted in a variety of ways, from ‘fly-on-the-wall’ programmes such as Naturewatch to Hollywood-treatment, big-budget, blockbuster series such as Planet Earth.

It is also depicted in exhibitions, often mute, in films about locations and people, and through sound alone. Each type aims to present the natural world, and especially wildlife, in an engaging and truthful manner, but the range of styles employed makes one wonder what ‘truthful’ means in some of these contexts.

The panel includes Stephen Deutsch, Honor Beddard, Mike Gunton and Gideon Koppel. [more]

Werner Cee: ‘I Used To Be a Painter’

Werner Cee is a German Sound Art composer, musician and creator of radio art. He has realized more than 30 large-scale Ars Acustica productions for major national broadcasting stations in Germany. Werner presents ‘I Used to be a Painter’.

‘The special character of my ars acustica can be traced back to my studies of painting, to my way of thinking in terms of images and painting techniques. This is what distinguishes my compositions from other, purely musically or narratively conceived works.’

Piers Plowright returns to open School of Sound

Piers has had the pleasure and honour of giving the opening talk at all eleven previous Schools of Sound. He has the inimitable ability to set the tone for the four days, putting the audience in the mood to enter the rabbit hole that is the School of Sound. He will again be the opening speaker on Wednesday, 19 April.

He presents ‘Ghost Voices’, in which he considers the immediacy and power of the human voice and what it tells and doesn’t tell us. And what listening might tell us about looking.

Adam Roberts on Chantal Akerman’s ‘musicality’

Adam Roberts presents Chantal Akerman’s musicality.

Akerman, talking about the soundtrack for her 1976 film News From Home, said: ‘It was like a musical piece. We see one car – but the sound is not totally [in] synch… I put the sound more musically than realistically’. What does Akerman mean by ‘musically’? A search for clues in her films making mention of her contact with the contemporary music scene in Downtown New York in the early 1970s.

Announcing: The School of Sound International Symposium 2017

For the 12th edition, artists, practitioners, creatives, teachers and students will gather from around the world for four days of talks, presentations and discussions about the creative use of sound across media and the arts.

Register now.

The programme includes

Walter Murch, film editor and sound designer

Annabelle Pangborn, composer, sound designer, educator

Mychael Danna, composer

Patsy Rodenburg, Master Voice and Shakespeare teacher

Sarah Turner, filmmaker and lecturer, director of Public House

Peter Middleton and James Spinney, directors of Notes on Blindness

Hans Peter Kuhn, sound artist and composer

Hildegard Westerkamp, sound artist, composer and acoustic ecologist

Werner Cee, sound artist, presents ‘I Used to be a Painter’

Adam Roberts, writer and filmmaker, presenting the work of Chantal Akerman

George Home-Cook, author of Theatre and Aural Attention: Stretching Ourselves

Julian Henriques, ‘Thinking Through Sound – and Learning from Jamaican Bass/ Base Culture’- reggae sound systems and the embodiment of sound

Stephen Deutsch, composer, author and sound designer

Gideon Koppel, filmmaker and artist, director of sleep furiously

Mark Underwood, sound designer

Honor Beddard, curator of Making Nature at the Wellcome Collection

and Piers Plowright, radio documentary and features producer.


Registration is now open. See Programme 2017 and  Registration and Fees 2017


Supported by










Hans Peter Kuhn – sound artist and composer

Hans Peter Kuhn is a sound artist and composer working in Berlin and Amino (Kyoto, Japan). His light and sound installations are exhibited in many museums and galleries or on public sites worldwide, and the installation, Memory Loss by Robert Wilson and Hans Peter Kuhn, was awarded with the Golden Lion in Venice 1993. He has worked for the theatre with directors like Luc Bondy, Claus Peyman, Peter Zadek and Peter Stein and is best known for the music and sound environments he created in the long-term collaboration with Robert Wilson.

Kuhn gives an overview of his work, specifically since 2002 when he was last at the School of Sound. He will talk about the development of sound in that short period, both technological and in society.

The Sound of Memory Symposium: Sound-track/Sound-scape

22 – 24 April 2017
Whitechapel Gallery and Goldsmiths

The Sound of Memory Symposium explores creative works and ideas situated at the interface of composers working in acoustic ecologies and artists working within social ecologies, where the primary engagement is a form of sonic ethnography. The overarching thematic is an exploration of how individual and cultural memory resonates in the shaping of social space. The Symposium will explore the broad domain of acoustic ecologies and soundscape’s engagement in place. [Details of programme and instructions for submissions]

BFI Bookshop at School of Sound

The BFI Shop will once again be running a bookstall at the School of Sound. They will stock a wide range of books and DVDs relating to the speakers and the wider areas of interest covered in the talks.

If there is a particular title you would like to pre-order, contact Elizabeth Frey,
You can browse through the Shop’s catalogue and order online at

‘Asunder’ – a film by Esther Johnson

The evening before the School of Sound, you can see the documentary, Asunder, at the Regent Street Cinema, the first theatre in Britain to show moving pictures.

Asunder tells the story of what happened to an English town during the First World War, with almost all of its men fighting abroad and its women and children left behind. The North East was in the front line, thanks to its shipyards and munitions factories.

A film by Esther Johnson with a soundtrack composed by Sunderland’s Mercury-nominated Field Music and Newcastle’s Warm Digits, performed with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and The Cornshed Sisters. [details]

‘Making Nature’ at the Wellcome Collection

A free exhibition at Wellcome Collection

1 December 2016 – 21 May 2017
Wellcome Collection

Kicking off a year-long exploration into our relationship with nature, this major exhibition examines what we think, feel and value about other species and the consequences this has for the world around us. It brings together over 100 fascinating objects from literature, film, taxidermy and photography to reveal the hierarchies in our view of the natural world and consider how these influence our actions, or inactions, towards the planet. [more]

Honor Beddard, curator of Making Nature, is one of the featured speakers at the School of Sound, taking part in the ‘What is Real?” session on Wednesday, 19 April.

Dr George Home-Cook on April programme

Dr George Home-Cook is a performance practitioner-researcher and freelance lecturer, based in the UK. His research in theatre phenomenology, theatre sound and the aesthetics of atmosphere, has received international recognition and has been translated into French and German. George is the author of the critically-acclaimed monograph, Theatre and Aural Attention, which was nominated for the Joe A. Callaway Prize for Best Book on Theatre and Drama 2014-2015. The paperback version will be published in March.

Expanding on his theories of designed sound, George explores the act of listening in theatre and ideas about aural attention.

Listen to School of Sound lectures online

You can now listen to some of the School of Sound’s previous lectures for the first time. We have added an ARCHIVE section to our website featuring recordings of some of the captivating presentations from the past eleven School of Sound symposia.

We have uploaded nine talks from 1998-2015. More will be added in the coming months along with video interviews we’ve produced.
These lectures cover an amazing range of ideas and perspectives, demonstrating the depth of thought, reflection and experience communicated at these meetings. [more]


Sarah Turner at School of Sound

Sarah is an artist, filmmaker, writer, curator and academic. Her feature films include Ecology, Perestroika (which featured in Tate Britain’s major survey, Assembly), and Perestroika: Reconstructed, conceived and executed as a gallery work.

Sarah will present her award-winning, Grierson nominated documentary, Public House, and the notions of cultural memory and sonic ethnography it embraces. [more]

The Sound of Memory Symposium, co-curated by Sarah, takes place in conjunction with the School of Sound on 22-24 April. See post below.

Julian Henriques in April programme

Prof Julian Henriques presents, ‘Thinking Through Sound – and Learning from Jamaican Bass / Base Culture’.

Julian is convenor of the MA Scriptwriting programme, director of the Topology Research Unit and a former Joint Head of the Department of Media and Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London. Before Goldsmiths, Julian ran the film and television department at CARIMAC at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. [more]

Hildegard Westerkamp returns to School of Sound

The composer, sound artist and acoustic ecologist, Hildegard Westerkamp, will make her second appearance at the School of Sound in April.

She will speak about Environmental sound and soundscape composition in landscape and nature documentaries.

“I will discuss this overarching them in the context of my involvement with two films, both of which address landscapes in British Columbia threatened by fundamental changes in its land use: my first attempt from the 1980s in the film This Borrowed Land by Bonnie Kreps and my latest involvement with Koneline – Our Land Beautiful, by Nettie Wild.”  

In addition to her presentation at the School of Sound, she will give a concert as part of the Sound of Memory Symposium on the evening of 22 April. [more]

Patsy Rodenburg joins April programme

In discussions of sound or sound design, the voice is often ignored or placed within more theoretical contexts. But it’s a topic that has been addressed by School of Sound speakers as diverse as David Lynch, Imogen Stidworthy and Piers Plowright who explored notions of narrative, emotion, space and attention, through the subtleties of human speech.
We’ll return to this subject with Patsy Rodenburg, recognised as one of the world’s leading voice and acting coaches. [more]


Catherine Alexander joins 2017 lineup

Theatre director, actor and teacher Catherine Alexander will speak at the 2017 School of Sound, being held in London from 19 – 22 April.

Catherine presents Sound, Acting and Theatre Making: Using sound as part of actor training, text analysis and theatre devising processes.
“In theatre we can become over reliant on visual elements storytelling and spoken text. I have been exploring how to use sound with actors to discover and communicate dramatic, literal, dynamic and emotional spaces as part of an embodied ‘felt’ experience.”

Mychael Danna added to School of Sound 2017 prograamme

Mychael Danna, the Academy Award-winning composer known for his blending of non-Western music with orchestral and electronic music, is the latest addition to the 2017 School of Sound programme. Mychael won the Oscar for his score to Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. He is also known for his many collaborations with Atom Egoyan, having written the music for Ararat, The Sweet Hereafter and Exotica. Other credits include Moneyball, Capote, Monsoon Wedding, Vanity Fair, Little Miss Sunshine and The Good Dinosaur.