Contemporary Music Festival - May 20th 2011 to May 29th 2011

International Composer Pyramid Cavatina Chamber Music Trust High Score New Music Designed and Hosted by Dotcafe Designs
Our Mission

Sounds New Contemporary Music Festival is based in the historic and beautiful city of Canterbury. Here are the organisation’s aims:

  • To provide an essential platform for the music of our time;
  • To support composers and performers;
  • To support the musical education and experience of people through contemporary music;
  • To create programmes that enrich, entertain and stimulate;
  • To introduce young people to new music and the best performers possible;
  • To develop and foster new initiatives of the highest quality of creative work;
  • To present challenge and never to compromise, but to show how barriers and preconceptions can be broken down.

Sounds New occupies a unique place in the promotion of contemporary music in the South of England. Sounds New was established in 1997, the brainchild of Nicholas Cleobury.  The Artistic Team is now led by Paul Max Edlin, who has been with Sounds New from its beginning as a founder-member of the Artistic Group. Sounds New’s reputation has allowed it to attract composers of national and international standing over the years, always sharing with young people the opportunity to create music and giving audiences an insight into contemporary music. These composers have included Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Jonathan Dove, Jonathan Harvey, Tunde Jegede, Magnus Lindberg, James MacMillan, John McCabe, Paul Patterson, Krzysztof Penderecki, Poul Ruders, Mark-Anthony Turnage and John Woolrich. It has also introduced many young composers to a wider public at the very beginning of their careers. Such composers include Tarik O’Regan, Stuart McCrea, Anna Meredith, Emily Howard, Richard Peat and Philip Venables.


Sounds New has become THE Contemporary Classical Music Festival in the South East of England, based in the famous Cathedral City of Canterbury, promoting music in various genres, providing platforms for outstanding musicians and presenting music by the best composers of our time as well as up-and-coming composers of the next generations. After a tremendously successful Sounds New 2008 celebrating the Music of Messiaen and his legacy, Sounds New 2009 went on to a different league when they welcomed the world renowned Polish composer Krzystof Penderecki and celebrated his masterworks and the music of his homeland with works by Gorecki and Lutoslawski amongst others, finishing off with one of the greatest concerts ever to take place in Canterbury Cathedral with Penderecki himself conducting his monumental St. Luke Passion with the Warsaw Boys Choir, the Camerata Silesian, the Polish Radio Choir Katowice and the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

2010 was yet again another success.  Symbolism and Numerology - THE NUMBER SEVEN was our focus.

In a 10-day festival, Canterbury was swarmed with no less than 23 World Premieres, outstanding musicians and the world's leading exponents for Contemporary Music: from Croatia: CANTUS ANSAMBL, from Germany: ENSEMBLE MODERN [conducted by ILAN VOLKOV], from France: ENSEMBLE INTERCONTEMPORAIN - and so much more! 

From the UK, none less than the CBSO Chamber Players, a dymanic, young AURORA ORCHESTRA [directed by Nick Collon] and on a more 'fun' note, the RONNIE SCOTT'S BIG BAND.

A whole host of extraordinary musicians from the UK and from around the globe: Lavinia Meijer [Dutch/Korean]; Barbara Drawkowska [Poland]; Brian Cefai [Malta]; Karen Cargill [Scotland]; Julian Warburton, Adrian Spillett, juice, Christopher Redgate, Janek Schaefer, Eliza McCarthy, Lore Lixenberg, film director Tony Palmer and many, many more!

The 10 days offered a plethora of new works to the UK and no less than music by 81 living composers!

2011 was another milestone in Sounds New's lifetime with Arvo Part as featured and guest composer.  All the events taking place in 2011 are still available on the website.  All this information will be changing shortly.

With films, workshops, a massive variety of education events, a major international conference, a residential course for contemporary music aficionados, an international composers' competition funded by the EU, installations, lunchtime concerts, outdoor events, evening performances and late-nite gigs, Sounds New has something for all tasts, be it seemingly conservative or just plain wild!

Sounds New works with sister organisations to ensure a wide range of contemporary music styles are properly represented and supported.  Without them and our sponsors and funders this would not be possible.

Facebook Twitter Mailing List