personal thoughts on Aeons

23rd March 2018

I am hugely excited by the Aeons project for Great Exhibition Of The North. When Opera North approached me and asked if I was interested in creating a sound and music walk along the Tyne, I said yes please very quickly.

The audience wear headphones, of the audio guide sort that you see at museums and the music includes The singing of Becky Unthank (who better to celebrate the North-East) and the dexterous might of the Opera North chorus and orchestra. The sound design has been pain-stakingly made in true binaural form using environmental sound from along the River Tyne.

As a composer, I’ve never had this degree of control before over how people actually listen to the music. In concerts the room and the amplification system are different every time, and people sit in different places in the room anyway; and even on record people listen on all sorts of different devices and speakers.

With Aeons though, we have made bespoke music for the specific headphones everyone will be wearing. This gives a freedom I’ve never had before, to make tiny sounds and place them right next to the listener or to truly hear what it is like to be in the centre of a 32 strong chorus, and hear those singers from every direction.

The walk takes place along a stretch of the Tyne just along from the Millennium Bridge, people use the phrase “music is the soundtrack to your life” well this twenty minutes of it has been tailor-made.

Aeons premieres on 22 June in Newcastle and runs from 22 June to 9th September. It is free but ticketed. Tickets will be available from the end of April.