Vibrotaxis: an exhibition by participants in Justin Bennett’s sound installation class at WEST Den Haag

Opening 17–19hrs Friday 17th May. Exhibition open 18 & 19 May 12 – 18 hrs.
Lange Voorhout 102
2514 EJ, Den Haag

Search Wikipedia for “vibrotaxis” and you find scientific literature about stinkbugs being attracted by vibration. We fortunately have no stinkbugs, but you might find yourself being attracted to vibrations from:

– electronic circuits making relations with moulds
– instruments with a life of their own
– sounds from trees and plants
– voices and instruments in conversation
– image and sound woven on an interactive loom
– a score made out of waste material
– tones in your own ears
– computer fans with agency
– the building itself

All engineered, sculpted, bred, collected or composed by participants in Justin Bennett’s class at the Institute of Sonology.

Are you attracted to vibration? call the Vibrotaxi!

Raviv Ganchrow: sound installation and thesis defence

Raviv Ganchrow’s sound installation Building Telluric (2024), part of the exhibition Beyond the Sound (curated by Jiří Suchánek), will be running until 14 July 2024 at Brno’s House of Arts museum, Czech Republic.  

Raviv’s thesis titled Sound Operation Circuit: Terrestrial Oscillations and Dynamics of the Expanse will be defended at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) on 15 May, 2024 at 17.00.

Acoustic gravity waves apparent in cloud formations off the coast of Angola and Namibia, June 26, 2016. Photo courtesy of MODIS, NASA/GISS,

Werner Kaegi passed away at the age of 97

On 16 March 2024, Werner Kaegi passed away in the South of France at the age of 97.

Werner Kaegi (*17 June 1926) was a Swiss composer of contemporary music and electronic music pioneer. In 1971 he left Switzerland and became a staff member at the Institute of Sonology in Utrecht. There, he developed the sound synthesis system VOSIM and the MIDIM program for computer music composition.

You can respond to his death via the contact form on the website dedicated to his life and works.

Dr. Werner Kaegi in Studio II, Institute of Sonology, Utrecht, 1983

Ursonate Symposium, 19 April 2024

Ernst Schwitters (photographer): Kurt Schwitters reading his “Ursonate”, London, 1944, Courtesy Kurt Schwitters Archiv, Sprengel Museum Hannover

On 19 April 2024, the Institute of Sonology is organising a small symposium around the famous sound poem Ursonate by Kurt Schwitters (1887–1948).

The symposium will start at 15:30 in the New Music Lab on the sixth floor of Amare, Spuiplein 150, 2511 DG The Hague and will end around 18:30.

Registration is mandatory through this link (80 persons max.):

The programme consists of the following parts:

1. Antje Wulff introduces Kurt Schwitters and places the Ursonate in the context of Schwitters’ oeuvre.

2. Marie Guilleray talks about the multichannel fixed-media version of the first two movements of the Ursonate. Kees Tazelaar will join her at some point to describe the spatial design that he made in collaboration with Marie. This will be followed by the performance of the fixed-media work itself.

3. Jaap Blonk: personal experiences in performing the Ursonate.


4. Jaap Blonk performs the scherzo and final movement of the Ursonate live.

5. Christopher Fox talks about his long relationship with Schwitters’ work and presents recordings of his Schwitters-based works MERZsonata and Babel.

6. Kees Tazelaar talks about the curious history of the recording of the Ursonate in Dick Raaijmakers’ tape collection.

7. Panel discussion

Antje Wulff is a scholar of literature and textual editing. She has been a long-time researcher at the hybrid edition project Kurt Schwitters. Alle Texte carried out by the University of Wuppertal (Germany) and by the Kurt Schwitters Archive held at the Sprengel Museum Hannover. Recently, she obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Wuppertal with a dissertation on Schwitters’ Merz art. She is also working as a publisher at Trilog Verlag in Wuppertal.

Marie Guilleray is a French vocalist, composer and sound artist based in the Netherlands. She works mainly in the context of experimental, electroacoustic, improvised music and sound poetry. She studied at the Conservatoire Nadia and Lili Boulanger in Paris and at the Royal Conservatoire The Hague. Her research into the extended possibilities of the voice in combination with electronics led her to continue her studies at the Institute of Sonology. She is currently a PhD candidate at Leiden University (ACPA) and the Orpheus Institute in Ghent (DocARTES).

Jaap Blonk is a self-taught composer, vocalist, poet and visual artist. His unfinished studies in mathematics and musicology mainly created a penchant for activities in a Dada vein, as did several unsuccessful jobs in offices and other well-organized systems. In the early 1980s he discovered the power and flexibility of his voice, and set out on a long-term research of phonetics and the possibilities of the human voice. At present, he has developed into a specialist in the creation and performance of sound poetry and a unique vocal improviser, supported by a powerful and uninhibited stage presence. He performs and gives workshops worldwide on a regular basis.

Christopher Fox is a composer who also writes about new music. He has performed the Ursonate many times since the mid-1980s, most recently in the Merzbarn in the north of England where Schwitters made his last sculptural installation. At the heart of his work as a composer are close collaborations with the musicians who regularly perform his music, and his experience with the Ursonate has led to a series of experimental vocal scores for the singers Barbara Hannigan, Elizabeth Hilliard and the ensemble EXAUDI. In 1993 he made the tape work MERZsonata for BBC Radio 3, based on archive sounds from Schwitters’ life. Fox’s music is extensively recorded, with portrait CDs on Ergodos, HatHut, Divine Art and NMC. His writings on music have appeared in the journals Contact, Contemporary Music Review, The Guardian, Musical Times and TEMPO. A book on his music, Perspectives on the music of Christopher Fox: Straight lines in broken times (edited by Rose Dodd), was published in 2017 by Routledge. In 2021 he was elected as a member of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin.

Kees Tazelaar followed courses in Sonology in Utrecht and The Hague, and later studied composition under Jan Boerman at the Royal Conservatoire. He has been teaching at the Institute of Sonology since 1993 and has been head of the institute since 2006. As well as a composer, Kees Tazelaar is a historian, who has specialised in the early years of electronic music in the Netherlands and Germany. He has twice been the Edgard Varèse Guest Professor at the Technische Universität Berlin, where he earned his PhD in 2013 with the dissertation On the Threshold of Beauty: Philips and the Origins of Electronic Music in the Netherlands 1925–1965 (Rotterdam: V2_Publishing, 2013). Kees Tazelaar was awarded a Fellowship Residency from the Bogliasco Foundation in 2017.

Open Day on 27 January 2024

On 27 January 2024, the Royal Conservatoire organises its annual Open Day. The Institute of Sonology will have performances and demonstrations in all its studios on the sixth floor of Amare from 12:00 until 16:30.

The Open Day is for anyone who is interested in our educational programmes or who just wants to see and hear our studios and know more about the Institute of Sonology.

New Music Lab
12:00–16:30: information about Sonology’s educational programmes
12:45: multichannel fixed media composition by Yaara Yaniv (13 minutes, followed by Q&A) live performance by Francesco Corvi (10 minutes, followed by Q&A)
13:30: piece for cello and electronics by Liza Kuzyakova (12 minutes, followed by Q&A)
14:15: improvised music by Nicolas Kliwadenko and friends (15 minutes, followed by Q&A)
15:00: multichannel fixed media composition by Siamak Anvari (17 minutes, followed by Q&A)

Computer Music Studio 1 (6.69)
12:00–16:30: demonstrations and info by Bjarni Gunnarsson and students

Computer Music Studio 2 (6.68)
12:00–16:30: demonstrations and info by Riccardo Marogna

Wave Field Synthesis Studio (6.74)
12:00–16:30: demonstrations and info by Ji Youn Kang and students

Live Electronic Music Studio (6.75)
12:00–13:30: demonstrations and info by Johan van Kreij and students

Voltage Control Studio (6.76)
12:00–17:00: demonstrations and info by students

Gabriel Paiuk – Mutable Audible / Doctoral Defence, October 11th / Artistic Presentations October 6th to 10th / Mini Symposium October 12th

1. Mutable Audible / Doctoral Defence, October 11th / Artistic Presentation October 6th to 10th

This October 11th at 13:45, at the Academiegebouw of Leiden University, Rapenburg 73, Gabriel Paiuk will defend his dissertation “Mutable Audible – An Operative Ontology of the Sound Image”.

Paiuk’s project Mutable Audible investigates how that which is heard – the audible – is formed as inherent to material, collective and technical circumstances. The audible is conceived as not exclusively bound to the private realm of the mind or the will of the individual listener, but as dependent on the diverse operations that inform how a sensorial engagement with sound takes place. 

As part of the doctoral promotion, three of the artistic works developed by Gabriel Paiuk as part of his dissertation will be presented publicly.

On October 6th, 8th and 9th, the sound installation Focus will be exhibited at The Grey Space in the Middle – Paviljoensgracht 20–24, Den Haag – from 14:00 till 20:00. On October 10thFocus will be open to the public from 15:00 to 17:00 and 18:00 to 20:00.

On October 10th, the works The Construction of an Imaginary Acoustic Space­for ensemble, tape and digital soundtrack, and Sound Theory (The Clouds) for violoncello, specially-purposed loudspeaker setup, video and live video will be performed by the New European Ensemble and cellist Arne Deforce at the Conservatoriumzaal in Amare – Spuiplein 150, 2511 DG Den Haag, at 20:00.

More information can be found here:

2. Mini Symposium, October 12th

As an addendum to Gabriel Paiuk’s doctoral promotion, a brief symposium will take place on October 12th, 15:30 at the Institute of Sonology’s New Music Lab on the 6th floor of Amare – Spuiplein 150, 2511 DG Den Haag, comprising presentations by Colombian sound scholar and ethnomusicologist Ana María Ochoa Gautier (Tulane University) and French philosopher Cécile Malaspina (Collége International de Philosophie), followed by a round table discussion.

Both presentations will address the audible as a variable locus of engagement with the world. The work of Ana María Ochoa Gautier, primarily articulated in her work Aurality – Listening and Knowledge in Nineteenth Century Colombia, is a fundamental landmark in articulating how listening is inherent to singular cosmologies and how this unfolds in non-western indigenous communities. She elaborates on how diverse “ontologies and epistemologies of the acoustic” are proper of “audile techniques, in which sound appears simultaneously as a force that constitutes the world and a medium for constructing knowledge about it” (Ochoa 2014, “Aurality…”, p.3) Cécile Malaspina is the author of An Epistemology of Noise and principal translator of Gilbert Simondon’s On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects. In her work, the notion of noise is explored in its emancipatory potential as understood across a range of realms, not tied to the categories of acoustic or visual ‘noise’ but as a fundamental category for a reevaluation of how theories of knowledge can be articulated.

More information can be found here:

Raviv Ganchrow’s Lightning Ellipse installation at the French pavilion in Venice

This coming weekend, Raviv Ganchrow’s installation Lightning Ellipse will be presented at the French pavilion in Venice as part of the Radio Utopia series (August 1st to 5th 2023).

Lightning Ellipse is a site-specific sound circuit, installed in the portico of the French Pavilion, Venice, patching together earth’s native transmissions (lightning), received on ground telluric currents, passing through contextual features of the site. The sound installation relays electrical activities from the ground beneath the French consulate in the Netherlands, during a recent torrential thunderstorm that quenched a record-breaking dry-spell, played back through agencies of Venetian echo (the acoustics of the Basilica di San Marco) and geometries of architecturally broadcast voice (the pavilion’s elliptic portico) interspersed with the call-and-response of a common blackbird.

Here is a link to a longer description of the work (the installation will be up for one day).

And here are links to the Radio Utopia proceedings, the French pavilion transmission ball theater description, and the eFlux blub.

Clarence Barlow passed away at the age of 77

With great sadness we report the death of Clarence Barlow (1945–2023) from the results of injuries suffered in a fall in April of this year.
Before taking up a professorship at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2006, Clarence had been on the faculty of the Institute of Sonology since 1990, together with a position at the Royal Conservatoire’s Composition Department from 1994. His unique courses under the title MusiQuantics were an inspiration to a generation of students at both departments, along with his genial and warm-hearted presence, his often outrageous wit, and his dedication to innovative musical thinking both in his own work and that of his students. 

Biographical sketch

Clarence Barlow held the Corwin Endowed Chair and was Head of Composition at UCSB’s Music Department from 2006 to 2019. Barlow’s previous teaching posts included twelve years as Professor of Composition and Computer Music at the renowned biennial Summer Courses of the International Music Institute at Darmstadt (1982–1994); over twenty years at Cologne Music University (Musikhochschule) as Lecturer in Computer Music (1984–2005); four years as Artistic Director of the Institute of Sonology at The Hague’s Royal Conservatoire (1990–1994); and twelve years as Professor of Composition and Sonology at the Royal Conservatoire (1994–2006). Other posts included Visiting Professor of Composition and Acoustic Art at the Folkwang University in Essen, Germany (1990–1991), Visiting Professor of Composition at the Superior School of Music and Dramatic Arts (ESMAE) in Porto, Portugal (2005–2006) and more recently Visiting Professor of Composition at the Catalonia College of Music (ESMUC) in Barcelona, Spain (2018–2020).

Barlow, who studied composition under Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1968–1970) and Karlheinz Stockhausen (1971–1973), is a universally acknowledged pioneer and celebrated composer in the field of electroacoustic and computer music. He has made groundbreaking advancements in interdisciplinary composition that unite mathematics, computer science, visual arts, and literature. While he has been a driving force in interdisciplinary and technological advances, his music is nevertheless firmly grounded in tradition and thus incorporates much inherited from the past. His works, primarily for traditional instruments, feature a vocabulary that ranges from pretonal to tonal, nontonal, or microtonal idioms, and, further, may incorporate elements derived from non-Western cultures. Between 1959 and 2020 Barlow has produced over 100 works of various types, including 4 orchestral works (2 piano concertos, and a work each for string orchestra and for large orchestra); 40 chamber works for various groups of traditional instruments, including 2 string quartets and 5 pieces for music theater; 3 choral pieces; 4 vocal works with instrumental accompaniment; 30 piano pieces (including works for two pianos); 3 organ works; 20 electroacoustic works, 3 of which fall into the category of abstract radio plays; and 5 films.

Barlow’s music has been programmed on concerts far too numerous to list here. From 1968 to 2019, 53 concerts in Germany, the Netherlands, California and elsewhere were devoted entirely to his music (in Aachen, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berne, Bratislava, Bremen, Calcutta, Cologne, Darmstadt, Dortmund, Dublin, Frankfurt, Fullerton, Graz, Hamburg, Helsinki, Karlsruhe, Kiel, Krefeld, Ljubljana, London, Los Angeles, Munich, Münster, New York City, Palma de Mallorca, Roermond, Rotterdam, Santa Barbara, Stanford, Stockholm, The Hague, Trstĕnice, Wissembourg, Yokohama and Zurich). His music has been recorded on 27 CDs and one LP, five of these devoted entirely to Barlow’s music. In addition to his renown as composer, Barlow has also attained high distinction as an interdisciplinary researcher, author, and software developer. His publications include a number of books, one of which is an extensive study on tonality and metricism, Bus Journey to Parametron (1980) and another, On Musiquantics (1986–2008), a textbook on the relation between music and mathematics, acoustics, phonetics, computer science and Barlow’s own methods to quantify tonality and metricism. Additional publications are the software that Barlow has written as aids for composing and notating music. These include the notation program ЖSC (1972–1976), Synthrumentator (1984–2013) for converting speech into performable scores, Autobusk (1986–2001), a realtime modal and metric pitch and rhythm generator, and Tupletizer (1998–2005) for notating irrational rhythms for manual performance. Most recently, Barlow had been working on a joint project to translate and publish the entirety of Bhatkhande’s Kramik Pustak Malika containing over 1900 compositions of Indian Classical Music to Western Staff notation.

Download Hidden Gems by Michael Winter and Juan Sebastián Lach Lau

Wave Field Synthesis Festival 2–3 June 2023

On 2 and 3 June 2023, Ji Youn Kang will present her annual Wave Field Synthesis Festival in Sonology’s New Music Lab and Wave Field Synthesis Studio (6.74) in collaboration with The Game of Life. The festival will have works by Ana Amaral da Silva, Jemin Choi, Jacob Eckhardt, Gaia Heichal, Kerim Kali, Liza Kuzyakova, Lawrence Mc Guire, Roc Montoriol Torrent, Lenny Sprenger, Giorgio Zangarini, Casimir Geelhoed, Nicolas Kliwadenko, Anton Kondratov, Leila Masharipova, Julien Palluel, Virág Anna Virág, Shawn Wong, Otis Thomet, Nina Uzelac, Agita Reke, Orfeas Manolidis, Lennart Sailer, Amit Dagim, Ida Hirsenfelder, Farzaneh Nouri and Leslee Smucker.

2 June (Friday):
Concert 1: 17:00 – 18:30   
Concert 2  19:30 – 21:00   

3 June (Saturday):
Concert 3  13:00 – 14:30    
Concert 4  15:00 – 16:30

Admission is free. Free snacks and drinks are offered in between the concerts.