Sounding the Spui

On Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 April 2022, the Spuiplein in the city centre of The Hague will be transformed into the site of an immersive, sonic experience that channels sounds sourced from The Hague by a variety of composers, sound artists, students and school children. Sounding the Spui is in an open-access sound installation in the heart of the city. The work will temporarily compress The Hague’s geography into a single space in the city centre. An extensive loudspeaker system is installed to immerse Spuiplein into other acoustic spaces from the city. All kinds of audience are welcome to experience the installation: invitees and passersby, experts and amateurs, young and old. The temporal structure of the installation is modular, meaning reputation and permutation of the ‘pure’ recordings and musical compositions is possible. This results in a constant dialogue between recognizable sounds, environmental sounds and compositional work.

The sounds of the modern city have been an inspiration for composers since the early 20th Century. Composers like Luigi Russolo, Edgard Varèse and Arseny Avraamov integrated elements of the industrial soundscape into their music. The technology of audio recording and transmission allowed musicians to capture, work with, and broadcast sound, leading to Walter Ruttman’s Weekend, Pierre Schaeffer’s Nocturne aux chemins de fer and Maryanne Amacher’s live sound-streams. Soundwalk pieces like Max Neuhaus’s Listen composed the environmental listening experience itself. The industrial music of the 1980s and the advent of digital sampling injected urban sounds into popular music.

For Sounding the Spui, students from the Royal Conservatoire and schoolchildren gathered both the ordinary and the extra-ordinary sounds of The Hague. Edited, mixed and re-worked, these sounds are then folded back onto the Spuiplein in a shifting collage-like stream of sound which often mimics and dissolves into the existing soundscape.

Composition Sounding the Spui: Otso Aho, Riccardo Ancona, Nursinem Aslan, Justin Bennett, Tristan Beutter, David Bilek, Je Min Choi, Henri Colombat, Margot Domart, Jacob Eckhard, Gaia Heichal, Ida Hirsenfelder, František Hruška, Hugo Lioret, Oksana Mukosii, Kristin Nordeval, Danya Pilchen, Leslee Smucker, Kees Tazelaar.

Extra recordings by, among many others: Iz Abad Manning, Margarida Albino, Tammam Azzam, Gabij Gaigalaite, Cis De Gendt, Bokyoung Kim, Anna Khvyl, Suzana Lașcu, Myrto Nizami, Adomas Palekas, David Petráš, Noemi Savková, Eric So-Ho Chi, Sophie Voogd, Ziming Zhao.

In addition to this slowly evolving installation, we have chosen to present a number of individual compositions related to the city at specific times:

Saturday 9 April:

12:00 excerpts from De Promenoir van Mondriaan (collaborative work from 1994, supervised by Dick Raaijmakers)
14:00 BMB Con. – Hei 1988
15:30 performance by school children under supervision of Hilde Wollenstein
17:30 Martin HurychTakeaway#3: Four shifts
18:00 Hilde WollensteinPlease stop yelling at me, I don’t know what I want.
19:00 Electroacoustic Music from Ukraine
19:30 Jan Boerman – Maasproject
20:00 Margherita Brillada – Il Tempo Sospeso
20:30 Constant – excerpt from New Babylon (arrangement/mix by Justin Bennett)
21:00 Kees Tazelaar – Luchtveld
21:30 Kim Ho Máni
22:00 end

Sunday 10 April:

12:00 excerpt from De Promenoir van Mondriaan (collaborative work from 1994, supervised by Dick Raaijmakers)
13:00 BMB Con. – Hei 1988
13:30 Hilde WollensteinPlease stop yelling at me, I don’t know what I want.
15:00 Julio Molina Moya – Haagse Markt 2016
16:00 Jan Boerman – Maasproject
17:00 end

Sounding the Spui is realised by students of Sonology, Composition and ArtScience at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, in collaboration with alumni. Sounding the Spui intends to emphasise the Royal Conservatoire and new venue Amare as integral parts of the city centre and public domain of The Hague. 

Production: Lustr
Audio Technique: Peitsman

Sounding the Spui was made possible thanks to the support of private benefactors, the Konrad Boehmer Foundation and Société Gavigniès.

With thanks to the dancers of the NDT, and the many other unwitting contributors – the human and non-human inhabitants of The Hague.

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