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Clare Loveday and Nandipha Mntambo

Clare and Nandipha are two brilliant artists with unique voices who offered an insight into the city of Johannesburg through their Sounding Cities collaboration, City Deep. As Clare states, “It's a city of boom and bust, wealth and desperate hardship, within which the constantly mobile population negotiates its way, seeking human connection and moments of respite in the sharp angles of this fast-changing city”.

Clare Loveday was a natural collaborator for the duo, with her deep understanding of the saxophone and evocative compositional voice. This work moves from industrious, driving baritone saxophone lines to an almost intangible clarinet melody before fading into a whisper of wind blowing through empty shafts. This music is brilliantly complimented by Nandipha’s film, offering an almost intense, voyueristic insight into the city of Johannesburg; its architecture and its inhabitants.

City Deep was supported by the Centre for the Less Good Idea where it was premiered in August 2018.

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Kirsty Devaney and Amy Lunn

Kirsty and Amy collaborated with Sounding Cities to create a work inspired by Birmingham. Amy had worked with architecture in a variety of different ways and had a collection of brilliant footage of the Birmingham Library which provided an inspiration for Hommage 1974-2013. Amy’s almost static film is interrupted by occasional bursts of energy with Kirsty creating an urban soundscape of drills and sirens.

'Hommage 1974-2013’ explores the highly debated and contentious destruction of Birmingham Central Library in 2013. The architecture of the building caused distaste and anger in many of the general public, whilst others heralded it as iconic arguing it should be protected. However, petitions to save the library were unsuccessful and as the old building was being demolished, the new Library of Birmingham was being built. The film and music explores this juxtaposition between the old and new. The music pivots between a number of unique gestures with a sense of forward direction and capturing the aggressiveness and fast pace of the city.

This work was supported by the RVW Trust and premiered in the UK at Centrala, Birmingham, in November 2018.

Rob Jones

Rob Jones (b. 1993) is a composer and saxophone player from the UK. He completed studies at Birmingham Conservatoire (UK) and the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague (NL). His work as a composer has ranged from opera (Opera Forward Festival 2018 in Amsterdam), puppet theatre and staged works to orchestral and chamber music. His music has been performed throughout the UK and Netherlands as well as in South Africa, Turkey, Croatia and France. More information about Rob can be found on his website.

Rob Jones “I've known both Luke and Naomi for a long time. Luke performed in my large ensemble Runaway Birmingham whilst we were both studying at Birmingham Conservatoire. Naomi was my principal saxophone teacher at Birmingham Conservatoire and we have gone on to work on many projects together. In 2018 I created a new piece for the Conservatoire's saxophone department to perform at the World Saxophone Congress in Zagreb, Croatia.

Luke first came to me with the idea of Birmingham as a Sounding City. I was actually still living in The Hague at the time, but we thought it would be interesting for me to reflect on my memory of Birmingham, especially since I had spent many years living there. I created a piece which reflects on the changing architectural landscape of the city centre, which seems to be in a constant state of demolition and rebuilding.”


”The process working with Sounding Cities was really brilliant, we had plenty of time to workshop ideas before rehearsing the final version. It was brilliant to have the chance to have my music performed in South Africa for the first time, and to have the chance to meet composer Clare Loveday”.


Matthjis Van Dikj

Scences from a Bar

Extremely Loud

Ian Stewart

Ian collaborated with Sounding Cities on Productions of the Anvil, a work combining found text, electronics, improvisation and notated fragments all inspired by the city of Birmingham. This work was premiered at Centrala, Birmingham in November 2018 and also exists in a version for solo saxophone and tape.

“A city’s physical aspects are usually designed and protensive, for example; architecture, bus shelters, shop windows, traffic lights, posters, cars, clothes. The sounds of a city are usually by-products of something else and passing, for example; traffic noise, noise from building sites, railways, footsteps, the stochastic effect of speech. Buildings and bridges may survive for centuries and it is possible to see what these looked like hundreds of years ago if they are extant - even if the materials are weathered.

Sounds only exist now. It is not possible to hear the sounds of previous centuries except for things like church bells, canal locks, doors slamming. There are some intentional sounds, these are usually for communication; such as people talking, sirens, tones at pedestrian crossings, station announcements. Invariably these are not designed for aesthetic reasons. And there are, of course, exceptions; for example the few cars that are designed to create a particular ‘sound-track’, street musicians and recorded music coming out from shops.

The visual aspects of a city can last. The sounds cannot.” - Ian Stewart