Installations & Performances

Hy Brasil Opera North | Leeds February – March 2014

The isle is full of noises

Howard Assembly Room, Opera North, Leeds
Friday 28 February to Saturday 15 March
2pm – 8pm (runs on a 30 minute loop)

Open to the public Tuesdays – Saturdays

Hy Brasil is a mysterious, enchanted island, hidden in fog somewhere off the coast of Ireland. It reveals itself to human eye and ear just one day every seven years. This specially commissioned work by sound artist Chris Watson (BBC TV’s award-winning Frozen Planet), brings that day on Hy Brasil to life in an immersive sound installation.
Hy Brasil is composed of compelling wildlife sounds from around the world, drawing visitors deep into the haunting song of seals and the awe-inspiring shrieks of thousands of Manx shearwaters. With glorious ambi-sonic sound and beautiful lighting, lose yourself in the strange and magical world of Hy Brasil.

Supported by the Opera North Future Fund, The Emerald Foundation and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Audio equipment supported by Pro Audio

Watch | The Sage, Gateshead 16th March 2014

Dunstanburgh Diamonds

This new commission by Chris Watson captures the voices and rhythms locked inside the Dunstanburgh Diamonds, presenting an ambisonic soundscape of Embleton Bay, from Low Newton to Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland. These ancient black dolerite stones are part of the Great Whin Sill, which lies exposed along parts of the coast whilst the surrounding landscape has been eroded around it. Countless tides have shaped the Whin Sill into smooth boulders that murmur, groan and growl with each passing ebb and flow. This new composition extracts the spirit of historic events and memories that have been stored in the stones for generations.

This event is part of the Digging for Sound weekends of new commissions, concerts and walks focusing on the geology, topography and mining legacy of the North East England landscape.

Searching for Diamonds | AV Festival March 2014

These sound walks with Chris Watson explore the particular sounds stored along Embleton Bay, which have informed his new Festival commission. The guided walks will begin at Low Newton and end at Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland.

The new commission captures the voices and rhythms locked inside the Dunstanburgh Diamonds, from Low Newton to Dunstanburgh Castle. These ancient black dolerite stones are part of the Great Whin Sill, which lies exposed along parts of the coast whilst the surrounding landscape has been eroded around it. Countless tides have shaped the Whin Sill into smooth boulders that murmur, groan and growl with each passing ebb and flow. The new composition extracts the spirit of historic events and memories that have been stored in the stones for generations.

This event is part of their Digging for Sound weekends of new commissions, concerts and walks focusing on the geology, topography and mining legacy of the North East England landscape.

£5, limited capacity
Sat 15 March and Sat 22 March 2014
Sat 15 March 2014, 9am
Sat 22 March 2014, 9am

Low Newton Carpark
Meet at car park at
Low Newton-By-The-Sea
Northumberland NE66

University of Glasgow Concert Hall | Glasgow 11th February 2014

PULSE and The University of Glasgow present Chris Watson, who will be performing “Songs from the Silverbank”

Tuesday 11 February 2014, 7.30pm

University of Glasgow Concert Hall

7:30pm Q&A with Mike Harding (including audience questions)
8:30pm Break
8:45pm “Songs from the Silverbank”
9:30 Finish

You can read an article in the Glasgow Herald

Foundling Museum’s 2014 Fellowship



The Foundling Museum has announced the appointment of the 2014 Foundling Fellows, joining the Fellowship in the 10th anniversary year of the Foundling Museum in London and also coinciding with the 250th anniversary of the death of William Hogarth, whose donation of paintings to the Hospital laid the foundations of the collection of the Museum.

You can read the full press release here

Sounds Alive | Dublin 31st January 2014


The Slow University?

6th November 2013, 13:25 to 17:30, IAS, Palace Green, Durham

A Seminar organised in collaboration between: the School of Applied Social Sciences, the Ustinov Seminar Series and the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS). The SLOW movement promotes a socio-cultural shift towards slowing down the pace of work, life and consumption and providing a counter narrative to processes of globalization that Hale, Held and Young (2013) write about in ‘Gridlock’.

Touch presents… | Live in Lincoln Cathedral 19th October 2013

Two World Premieres from Chris Watson + Hildur Guðnadóttir, and Anna von Hausswolff
19th October 2013, 7:30 – 9:30pm, Lincoln Cathedral

Touch is delighted to be invited back to play live in Lincoln Cathedral by Frequency, after the hugely successful 13th edition of Spire, which took place in the same space, in October 2011. You can purchase tickets here.

Chris Watson (field recordings) and Hildur Guðnadóttir (cello) will be collaborating on a brand new collaborative multi-channel sound work, titled “Sönghellir (The Cave of Song)” – a sound journey from under the waters of Faxafloi, Iceland, alongside some of the largest animals on the planet. Up, onto the lava beach, across the lava fields and reindeer moss to the foot of the snow mountain, Snaefellsnes. The journey continues up and then into the mountain, ending inside Sönghellir, the song cave…

On a clear day in Reykjavik, one can gaze northwest and see the shining Snaefellsjokull glacier, 60 miles away. Though the glacier is nowhere near in size to some of Iceland’s others, it is by far the most mysterious and popular. It rests near lands end on one of Iceland’s most beloved landscapes – the Snaefellsnes Peninsula – and its bright, mysterious beauty seems to embody the entire region. One of the reasons why Icelander’s love the Snaefellsnes Peninsula so much (aside from its enchanting landscape brimming with lava caves, waterfalls, and mineral hot springs) is that it is a veritable heartland of history. Some of the best and most important sagas took place here, and it is said that Christopher Columbus once spent a winter in Ingjaldsholl, where he heard stories of lands to the west.

Anna von Hausswolff, a Swedish singer, pianist and songwriter, will be performing a new score for the organ, titled “Källan”.

The Eternal Chord, an improvisational work from some of the artists present, will close the evening.

Further details at
Book tickets for Touch presents… Live in Lincoln Cathedral

Inside the Circle of Fire: A Sheffield Sound Map

Thursday 12 September 2013 – Sunday 23 February 2014

From making childhood recordings of birdsong in his garden, to co-founding electronic pioneers Cabaret Voltaire, and his work as one of the UK’s pre-eminent sound recordists, Sheffield-born Chris Watson has had an enduring fascination with sound.

In this ambitious new exhibition, Chris will transform the Millennium Gallery into an immersive ‘sound map’ of Sheffield, charting its boundaries on the edge of the Peak and travelling its waterways to the bustling heart of the city. By truly hearing the sounds of the city, perhaps for the first time, we hope that visitors will gain a new perspective on Sheffield in 2013.

You can read a feature on Chris & Inside the Circle of Fire in today’s Yorkshire Post and read a press release (pdf) here

There is a feature in The Star you can read here and in The Guardian here

Jerwood Open Forest

From an exceptional response of strong and diverse proposals for the inaugural Jerwood Open Forest, five projects have been selected for a six-month research and development period.

Juan delGado, Adam James, Amanda Loomes, a project by Chris Watson, collaborating with producer Iain Pate, and artist duo Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt) will each receive a £2,000 research and development fee and be supported by Jerwood Visual Arts and Forestry Commission England to expand on the concept of their proposal and explore potential sites through this phase.

The research process will culminate in a curated exhibition at Jerwood Visual Arts, London in January 2014. One project will then be selected by the panel of leading practitioners and project partners to receive a £30,000 commissioning budget to realise their proposal.

Further information and updates of the research and development period will be available on this website soon.

For full information:

In St Cuthbert’s Time – The Sounds of Lindisfarne and the Gospels

6th July 2013 – 30 September
10am – 4pm daily, Holy Cross Chapel, Durham Cathedral

Throughout human history artists have been influenced by their surroundings and the sounds of the landscape they inhabit.

When Eadfrith, the Bishop of Lindisfarne, was writing and illustrating the Lindisfarne Gospels on that island during the late 7th Century and early 8th Century he would have been immersed in the seasonal sounds around the island.

For ‘In St Cuthbert’s Time’, a collaboration with Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study, and other Durham-based researchers, artist Chris Watson has created a sound installation that reflects the acoustic landscape of that island during the time that the Lindisfarne Gospels were being considered, written and illustrated.

Durham Cathedral’s Holy Cross Chapel provides an inspiring location for quiet reflection and meditation on the sounds St Cuthbert and the other monks would have experienced for themselves.

The installation will run continuously on a loop lasting around forty to fifty minutes and reflect the seasonal changes of a year out on the island. It will be played at a very discrete level as the intention is to create an atmosphere within the Chapel as if the Chapel was on the island and the natural sounds of that place were percolating inside through the two large unglazed windows. The replay level and spatial representation of the work is key to its success.

Visitors will be able to engage in conversation without having to raise their voices, as the sounds will be audible simply at the level they would be experienced in reality. Those who choose to listen will be able to engage with the work in a way which encourages a creative thought process regarding the spirit and sense of place.

The Installation will run from 06 July 2013 – to 30 September 2013, daily between 10am and 4pm.

You can read about it in the Newcastle Journal here, and Living North here.
There is also out now a new album released on Touch to coincide with this event.

The CD is now available to order

[Photo by Maggie Watson]

Sound Exhibition at The Hole Gallery | Prague, May 2013

May 6-20, 2013

More info can be found here

Chris Watson: Monte Bondone, Settembre
2013, 2 min 28 sec
Opening: May 6, 6pm

Galerie Díra / The Hole Gallery, Školská 28, Prague 1

Galerie Díra is sound art and site specific gallery in the backyard of no. 28 of Školská street, Prague.

The Echoes of Benjamin Britten’s ‘Composing Walks’

Aldeburgh Music’s PLACE weekend

Chris retraces the steps of Benjamin Britten and tunes into the Suffolk countryside which inspired the composer.

Chris Watson talks to Pascal Wyse, The Guardian 31st January 2013: The echoes of Benjamin Britten’s ‘composing walks’

In Port Magazine, the wildlife specialist shares anecdotes from his career, and his latest commission in Suffolk (see above).

In The Financial Times: A walk with the FT: In Britten’s footsteps

BBC news

The Liminal write about “Chris Watson – In Britten’s Footsteps” installation

The Guardian reviewed the piece on 5th February:

Gamophone Magazine review can be read here

Chris Watson in Aldeburgh | 1st February 2013

PLACE WEEKEND: Roots – Journeying Home

The third edition of our annual winter weekend exploration into the culture and meanings of place looks at the nature and resonance of home. It draws its inspiration from the life and travels of Benjamin Britten, and its title from an astute observation he made in 1951 about the importance of Suffolk to his life and creativity.

Over the weekend (see below), in the company of award-winning writers, thinkers, artists, musicians and film-makers, Roots will explore what home means in an age of globalization, from considerations of domestic architecture to the psychology of unsettlement, and from the lure of the local to our place in the cosmos.

As always, the approaches will be various – readings, screenings, music, performance, discussion, walks and installation – and we’re especially pleased to announce a new commission by internationally acclaimed sound artist Chris Watson, In Britten’s Footsteps, responding directly to the Aldeburgh landscape, and a presentation by conductor and writer Paul Kildea, the author of an important new Britten biography.

PLACE is curated by Gareth Evans in association with Aldeburgh Music.

Join us next week at Aldeburgh Music’s cross-arts PLACE weekend. More info and tickets here, hope to see you there

Join us at @aldeburghmusic next week for the cross-arts PLACE weekend. #BrittenLivesHere

and you can read a feature in The Quietus here

Live in Geneva | 11th January 2013

Il présentera à Genève en première mondiale Blue Notes, une création unique inspirée de l’océan, qui en traduira le rythme et la musique avec des sons enregistrés pour la plupart en milieu subaquatique. Tout un art !

He will present in Geneva the world premiere of Blue Notes, a unique design inspired by the ocean, which results in the rhythm and music with sounds recorded mostly in an underwater environment.

Robert Macfarlane & Chris Watson – The Sea Road


Robert Macfarlane & Chris Watson: The Sea Road (17.32) Recorded live at Port Eliot festival, July 2012

b/w Granite (7.05) (Watson) /Stormbeach (7.25)(Watson)
Rivertones 2. A 12” single, released 19th November 2012

Sold Out

Undoubtedly the highlight’s of Caught by the River’s summer was an utterly unique collaboration between two of Britain’s most forward-thinking adventurers, author Robert Macfarlane and sound recordist Chris Watson. They had been plotting something special for a few months, a performance piece based on Robert’s book The Old Ways that would blend archive audio, field recordings and spoken word. We put it on stage at our fifth birthday party at the QEH in May and then again at Port Eliot Festival. Robert read while Chris created a bespoke soundbed for the words. The result was eerie, trippy, uplifting, effortless and fantastic. Cut to a couple of months after Port Eliot. Chris Watson sends a jaw-dropping recording of the Port Eliot performance at the exact point we’re scratching our heads about what to put on the next Rivertones release…

Atmospheres 4 | Touch.30 Live at Beaconsfield


A two-day festival celebrating 30 years of Touch, with performances, installations and displays, and a full programme of workshops and masterclasses in design and music, recording, mastering and the digital realm. The full programme is now available to read below or to download.

The Festival Pass entitles you to access all events at this festival and is now onsale here:

Atmospheres 4 – Touch.30 at Beaconsfield is the main UK event in a year-round programme of activities celebrating 30 years of existence.

Atmospheres 4 – Touch.30 at Beaconsfield is a two-day festival with performances, installations and displays, and a full programme of workshops and masterclasses. The Festival will explore all aspects of Touch: the music; the distinctive and influential design and photography; the process of recording and mastering; and the opportunities of the digital realm.

Participation in the event will extend well beyond Touch artists and creative team into the hinterland around the label: academics, industry professionals, other ground breaking music organisations etc.

Atmospheres will be curated by two of Touch’s founders and the current creative team, Mike Harding and Jon Wozencroft, and produced by them with along with Touch’s experienced digital and live production team already responsible this year for events in the UK, Germany, Belgium, USA and elsewhere detailed here

Venue: Beaconsfield, 22 Newport St, Vauxhall, London, SE11 6AY
Dates: 5-6 December 2012

Day One – Wednesday 5th December 2012
Afternoon events, 2pm-6pm:
• 2pm: Jon Wozencroft talks about the history of Touch, “Through the Digital Glass”
• 2:30pm: Denis Blackham (Skye Mastering) and Christian Fennesz on mastering for digital manufacture and the demands of the “Venice” project
• 3pm: Chaired by John Kieffer: Denis Blackham, Jason (Transition Mastering Studios) and Jon Wozencroft on digital and analogue sound, and how this determines listening outcomes
• 4:15pm: Chaired by Tony Myatt (University of Surrey): Mike Harding, Seb Jouan (Aecom Acoustic Design & Arts & Culture) on multi-channel with Hildur Gudnadottir. This session reflects upon hi-audio formats, a specific example, and their future
• Sonic interventions from ELEH/Ryoji Ikeda/Mika Vainio & Panasonic. “When did sound become music?” (Followed by questions)

Screening Situations (upstairs), 6pm-7pm
• Coda-plus 47 (audio by Fennesz & Ryoji Ikeda)
• Liquid Music (audio by Fennesz)

Evening Performances, 8pm-11pm
• Hildur Gudnadottir – Leyfɗu Ljósinu (Beaconsfield version)
• audio intervention by David Toop, a presentation of “Yanomamo Shamanism”, released on ‘Touch Travel’ [T4] in 1984.
• Philip Jeck
• audio intervention by BJNilsen, who plays a new piece recorded outside the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, “The cackle of dogs and laughter of death”.
• Playback of a surround-sound rendition of his Touch.30 piece “Brussels Nord” by Chris Watson (in absentia)
• Fennesz

Day Two – Thursday 6th December 2012
Afternoon events, 2pm-6pm:
• 2pm: Mike Harding introduces Touch’s digital presence on the web with Philip Marshall (websites) & Tim Medcalf (iOS devices) followed by at
• 2:45pm: Paul Wilson & Cheryl Tipp from The British Library on the TouchRadio archive
• 3pm: Jon Wozencroft & Garry Mouat – “Bromides and Spray Mount” – Touch design in the early years
• 3:45pm: Design Seminar by Jon Wozencroft – How Touch has responded to changing formats and download culture
•: 4:30pm Jon Wozencroft & Peter Saville discuss their parallel experience of visual culture, and the movement of graphic design to the art world (Followed by questions)

Screening Situations (upstairs), 6pm-7:15pm
• The Whitstable Symphony (audio by BJNilsen)
• The Suffolk Symphony (audio by Philip Jeck & BJNilsen)

Evening Performances, 8pm-11pm
• Thomas Köner
• followed by an audio intervention by Bruce Gilbert – “Sliding off the World”
• CM von Hausswolff
• Jon Wozencroft introduces Jon Savage’s and his pirate broadcast for Network 21 in 1987
• Biosphere – transfiguring Arnold Schoenberg’s “Verklärte Nacht”

To be allocated: audio interventions by People Like Us | Edwin Pouncey | Heitor Alvelos | Simon Fisher Turner…

In the Bar: Photography by Jon Wozencroft: The Listening Eye

send + receive | Canada 14-17th October 2012

The 14th edition of send + receive will feature performances and works that explore distinct interpretations of natural sound by artists from across Canada and around the globe.

Featuring performances by:

Akio Suzuki (JP)
Tomoko Sauvage (JP/FR)
Nmperign (US)
the Rita (BC)
Angela Forget (MB)
Jeffrey Allport (SK)
Featuring works by:
Chris Watson (UK)
Douglas Quin (US)
Jana Winderen (NO)
Hope Peterson (MB)
Jane Tingley (QC)
Garth Hardy (MB)
Jamie Woollard (MB/QC)
George Brecht (US)
Christian Wolff (US) ‘stones’ performed by the send + receive Temporary Ensemble (MB)

Complete details are available now on our website:
For press enquiries please contact our Director crys cole

Going With The Flow | February – August 2012

28th August Sound walk

‘Going With The ~Flow’ began in February with the sounds of shifting ice fragments in England’s last wilderness high on the northern Pennines.

Join renowed sound recordist Chris Watson on a slow walk at sunset and drift down stream with the Tyne as the river ebbs past Newburn and Blaydon. Out of hours the daytime industry and commerce crowding the banks fall silent whilst the river snakes through it’s heart and forms a transient wildlife refuge twice a day as the low tide reveals the mud. Curlew, redshank and lapwing have moved down river to roost and feed out on the exposed mudflats and they are joined by busy urban gulls and international travelling birds on their way south from arctic latitudes.

Participants are advised to wear dark clothing and bring binoculars if possible. There will be some recording opportunity for those with recorders and Chris Watson will bring along a number of microphone set ups to plug into.

Please note that this walk has a very limited capacity. To book your place go HERE.
Price: £5

5th September at 19:30 – 21:00

This major new commission by the world’s greatest sound recordist creates an acoustic journey down the River Tyne from its sources to the sea.

Going With The Flow is a unique soundscape, a seasonal time compression consisting entirely of location recordings gathered and composed between February and August 2012.

Taking inspiration from the actions and rhythms of the river, the recordings will track the course of the flow and the voices from the backsides between which is passes, following the sonic metamorphosis of upland rainfall to tidal seawater.

Extracts of Chris’s recordings will be presented at (TBC) and the final commission will be presented at The Sage Gateshead alongside visuals by Andy Greenwood.

Tickets £7.00
To book tickets visit or call 0191 443 4661.
The Sage Gateshead, St. Mary’s Sqaure, Gateshead Quays, Tyne and Wear, NE8 2JR

Salon North | Harrogate, 11th July 2012

Chris is taking part at the Harrogate International festival

You can find out more here

Nature Disco: Dawn Safari :

For our final session we are so privileged to have coming to Salon North the magic that is super sound recordist Chris Watson. If you have ever heard the sound of an animal putting tooth to flesh in any of the David Attenborough’s series it is our Chris who was there, literally placing his boom deep inside the leopard’s mouth. David Attenborough will work with no-one else, and Chris has built up, over many decades travelling a world class sound archive. If it’s sounds of ice fields groaning as they split apart deep under the ice caps or electrical storm in the Serengeti desert you want, Chris is your go to sound guy. For Salon North Chris will be taking us on select sound safari, playing the sounds of the dawn during our British summertime. From the tip of the Orkneys to the far west of the British Isles, Chris will be playing the sounds of our nation’s dawn in Salon’s very own nature disco.