Sonic Vigil Festival of Improvisation and Sound Art in Cork to Feature David Toop

David Toop is the festival’s special guest.

Sonic Vigil Festival of Improvisation and Sound Art in Cork to Feature David Toop

Weekend will include a range of Irish and international improvisers as well as a new film on Pauline Oliveros.

A weekend of improvisation and sound art will take place in Cork city from 14 to 16 September. Sonic Vigil, which began as an experimental event in 2005 organised by Danny McCarthy and Mick O’Shea, is this year being presented as a festival with a series of concerts, a film premiere and a six-hour improvisation session curated by John Godfrey, McCarthy, O’Shea, Irene Murphy and Karen Power.

The central element of the festival is the Sonic Vigil event itself – a large-scale, multi-disciplinary improvisation event that features musicians, composers, dancers and visual artists being paired up randomly by a computer-generated programme and creating new sounds. Taking place in Cork Opera House on 16 September, the event will feature over 23 performers including English multi-instrumentalist David Toop, McCarthy, O’Shea, Murphy, Power, Godfrey, Imna Pavon, Harry Moore, Vicky Langan, Anthony Kelly, David Stalling, Robin Parmar, Tony Langlois, Sean Taylor, Cathal Roche, Katie O’Looney, Anne Marie Deacy, Claudia Barton, Andy Ingamells, David Bremner, Billy Kemp, Pierre Berthet and Rie Nakajima. 

Admission is free, and audiences can wander throughout the performances taking place in various spaces in the venue. 

Film premiere and concerts
The festival will also present the Irish premiere of Deep Listening: The Story of Pauline Oliveros (14 September). The film by director Daniel Weintraub tells the life story of the renowned composer, performer, teacher and philosopher.

Also on 14 September, there will be a performance by experimental music group Quiet Music Ensemble, who will perform works by Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri, Anna Murray, Irene Murphy and the world premiere of a new work by dancer Inma Pavon. On 15 September, The Quiet Club and saxophonist Cathal Roche will perform in an event that also features the screening of Memory Echo, a short film featuring Pauline Oliveros by director Andrew Deutsch with music by Stephen Vitiello and Danny McCarthy. 

Commenting on this year’s event, the curation team said: 

We are excited to revive and expand Sonic Vigil, which is a multi-sensory event that merges sound, image, space, experience, taste and movement to bring unique experiences to new and old audiences in Cork.… [it] is a truly special event for its performers and audiences, as it offers time and space to practices that often live in-between more defined genres. We are interested in keeping Cork’s diverse sound art and improvisation scene alive through these and the many off-shoots that the Vigil has created over the years.

For further information and tickets, visit

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Published on 24 August 2023

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