Since the School of Sound began in 1998 we have assembled an extensive archive comprising recordings of each year’s presentations, almost 200 from the eleven meetings. All the talks have been recorded on audio and some on video. We are now making these available on our website. Here are the first nine, more will be added in the coming months. The audio-visual excerpts speakers played have been left in the recording, as they were heard in the auditorium, with references to where they can be found on commercial DVDs (where available).


20 April 2017

Peter Middleton and James Spinney, directors of Notes on Blindness, present the thinking and research behind their acclaimed film. In addition to its arresting use of sound and image, the film delves into sometimes unnerving notions of human perception.

JULIAN HENRIQUESThinking Through Sound – and Learning from Jamaican Bass/Base

19 April 2017

Culture explores the ways of knowing and the ways of making which Jamaican sound system engineers have pioneered over the last 50 years, looking at their understanding of how sound works both in electronic circuitry and on human anatomy. Henriques examines the ways of making the street technology of the sound system set as a musical instrument. He considers the critical influence the instrument of the sound system has on Jamaican music, principally riddim (rhythm), versioning and, of course, dub.




Excerpt: working on Barton Fink:

6 April 2001

Best known for his work with the Coen Brothers, Burwell confronts the fundamental questions facing film composers: How does music affect the audience? What are the options open to filmmaker and composer? Why do we need music in movies?


Barton Fink (Coen Brothers)
Blood Simple (Coen Brothers 1984) 00:18:42 – 00:21:20 & 00:56:00 – 00:58:02
Raising Arizona (Coen Brothers 1987) 00:41:56 – 00:45:58
Miller’s Crossing (Coen Brothers 1990) 00:06:32 – 00:08:44 & 00:37:39 – 00:42:05
Hudsucker Proxy (Coen Brothers 1994) 01:31:51 – 01:33:52
Fargo (Coen Brothers 1996) 00:00:16 – 00:02:51 & 00:10:28 – 00:11:32




17 April 2009

SOUND and MEMORY: We all have a reservoir of aural memory, some of which is likely to be shared by our fellow human beings but a part of that memory bank is unique to our experience. This will be a personal exploration of the complexities of emotional responses to sound and how filmmakers have to differentiate the personal and the universal in attempting to use sound and music to connect with the audience.


Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas 2007)
00:00:27 – 00:05:30
Partie de campagne/A Day in the Country (Jean Renoir 1936) 00:26:19 – 00:29:12
Tous les matins du monde (Alain Corneau 1991)
01:16:35 – 01:20:21
Pygmalion (Anthony Asquith, Leslie Howard 1938)
00:14:31 – 00:22:35
Listen to Britain (Humphrey Jennings, Stewart McAllister 1942)  00:00:00 – 00:02:49



River Medway at Barming

Barming Bridge




Excerpt: working on Jarhead:


5 April 2013

Pat Jackson, Supervising Sound Editor whose credits include Jarhead, The Talented Mr Ripley, A Bug’s Life, The Godfather Part II and The English Patient, presents The Discriminating Ear, focusing our attention on how we hear the real world and the level of audio detail needed for a film world. She is currently Professor for Cinema at San Francisco State University.

References with running time from DVD (where available)
Abbas Kiarostami from Lumière and Company (1995)
Jarhead (Sam Mendes 2005) 01:14:29 – 01:15:50
The Social Network (David Fincher 2010) 00:03:35 – 00:04:32
Like Someone in Love (Abbas Kiarostami 2012) 00:05:20 – 00:07:35 (opening title sequence)
Blockade (Sergey Loznitsa 2006)
Hemingway and Gellhorn (Philip Kaufman 2012) 01:36:39 – 01:39:21
Titanic (James Cameron 1997) 01:16:36 – 01:19:04
Microcosmos (Claude Nuridsany, Marie Pérennou 1996)
K-19: The Widowmaker (Kathryn Bigelow 2002) 00:35:33 – 00:37:19




5 April 2001

Mani Kaul was one of the few filmmakers whose abiding passion was to reinvent an aesthetic of sound and image and the connections between the two. Here he presents “For and against music in films”.




26 April 2003

Murch has been a film editor and sound designer since 1969, nominated eight times by the Academy of Motion Pictures. At this time in 2003, he was editing and mixing Anthony Minghella’s adaptation of Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain. Murch will show the 1894 Dickson/Edison film that he put in synch for the Library of Congress and analyse his methods of editing picture and dialogue in feature films.



The Dickson Experimental Sound Film (William Dickson 1894):
Cold Mountain (Anthony Minghella 2003) 02:12:23 – 02:13:42




10 April 2015

Sellars’ interest in sound stems from his time studying with Ivan Tcherepnin in Harvard’s Electronic Music Studio. After that, his first job was a sound recordist. In this talk, via videolink from Los Angeles, the iconoclastic theatre and opera director explains his very personal approach to sound, it’s basis in spiritual philosophy and classic theatre and his belief in breaking the slave/master relationship between sound and image.




15 April 2009

Solomon discusses the aesthetics and techniques of sound design in poetic cinema, featuring close analysis of his own films Remains to be Seen (1989/1994), Last Days in a Lonely Place (2007) and Rehearsals for Retirement (2007), and a discussion of the metaphorical use of sound. Via videolink from Boulder, Colorado



Svensson details how he worked with Andrei Tarkovsky to produce the soundtrack for Sacrifice (1986).





15 April 2009

Špalj, the doyen of Czech film sound design, an artist in the use of Foley effects, best known for his work with artist Jan Švankmajer, is profiled in a video interview produced by the School of Sound.





20 April 2007

At the start of a career that spanned 32 years, 60 feature films and 65,000 hours of recording, American sound recordist Jim Webb devised the multi-track location recording system on Nashville that helped define Robert Altman’s directorial style. Webb looks at the creative – rather than remedial – potential of multi-track recording through his work with some of the most innovative directors of the last thirty years including Altman, Coppola, Pakula and Wenders.


California Split (Robert Altman 1994) 00:00:00 – 00:07:23 & 00:09:50 – 00:12:23 Nashville (Robert Altman 1975) 00:02:30 – 00:05:50 & 00:09:56 – 00:17:40 For the Boys (Mark Rydell 1991) All the President’s Men (Alan Pakula 1976) 00:45:35 – 00:51:15




15 April 2000

Peter Wollen was a screenwriter, filmmaker, theorist and Prof. of Film at UCLA, when he presented “Hybrid Energies: In Defence of the Mismatch”, the relationship between voice and image in the avant-garde.



Dickie Beau is a pioneer of “playback” performance: the uncanny embodiment (or “re-memberment”) of found sound – a style of performance that emerges from the drag tradition of lip synching. In this video, Golden Lobes, he uses the voice of another School of Sound speaker, Peter Sellars.




Audio Post Production by Ian Macbeth