Festival for Experimental Music

Looking forward to seeing you again
30 November –
3 December 2023

SM2022 Visual 1


Festival for Experimental Music

1–4 December 2022

To begin, to climb, to grow, to resist – RISE, the overarching theme of this year’s SONIC MATTER Festival for Experimental Music, lends itself to diverse interpretations. 20 events take audiences on journeys into personal and shared experiences of belonging, identity, transgressions, and resistance. Listening always marks the point of departure. Traditions in the form of music, sound, and noises have a different character than the documents of classical historiography: they are more fleeting but also more immediate; they are harder to document but also less constrained by language and space. The second edition of the SONIC MATTER Festival follows these traces through concerts, performances, installations, conversations, a club night, and a listening lounge. One emphasis is on contributions from sub-Saharan Africa, among others by artists involved in this year’s partner festival Nyege Nyege, Uganda.

Looking forward to welcoming you there!

That was
Festival 2021

SONIC MATTER Festival 2021

What does Zurich sound like under ground? Can music-making help us learn to live in a damaged ecosystem? Do I hear differently when a concert is played for me only? The new Zurich festival SONIC MATTER invites you to explore these andother questions revolving around experimental music from December 2 to 5, 2021. At SONIC MATTER, they are the starting point for a musical art form that addresses the acute challenges of the present in a variety of ways: with sensuality, joy, perseverance and within the community. In the backround always resonates the festival theme 2021 «TURN», which traces changes on a large and small scale. With concerts, performances, exhibitions, lounges, club events and talks, SONIC MATTER brings artists from Switzerland and abroad at a varied range of venues in the city and canton of Zurich together.


SONIC MATTER is an invitation to experience music in its countless forms and to listen to sound as a constant companion of everyday life. On the «Sound parcours» of the art duo LAST and sound artists Andres Bosshard and Kaspar König as well as at the «SONIC MATTER_village», the sounds of Zurich are literally traced.

In performances developed by the collective DEARS, the composer Marina Rosenfeld, the duo Neo Hülcker & Stellan Veloce, the electronic artist Francisco López and the Ensemble Batida in collaboration with the drawing collective Hécatombe, sound arts combine with image, language and space. Concerts with the International Contemporary Ensemble New York, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich and students of the ZHdK will bring contemporary composed music to life. The programmes include world premieres by Helga Arias and Murat Çolak as well as works by Dieter Ammann, Jessie Cox, George E. Lewis, Eric Montalbetti and Sarah Nemtsov. In the concert marathon of the Madness Ensemble feat. percussionist and singer Mariá Portugal, forms ranging from free improvisation and jazz to object sounds and visuals come together to form a meta-composition.

The listening and video lounge «weichekissenheisseohren» at Kunstraum Walcheturm is open around the clock during the cold season to give you a chance to warm up and relax. From time to time the listening lounge will be replaced by the «border line club culture», where the transition between experimental electronics and danceability can be celebrated together with Andreas Eduardo Frank and the duo Glenn. The installations «SONIC MATTER_village», «WHITE LINES» and the «SONIC MATTER_klangkunsttage» will also accompany the festival as permanent formats.

Together with the «SONIC MATTER_openlab» and our guest festival Novas Frequências Rio de Janeiro, which has helped to shape various areas of SONIC MATTER over the course of 2021, the 2021 edition of the festival will focus more on artists from North and South America. At the same time, the «_openlab» and the symposium will jointly reflect on issues of sustainability and coexistence - and the question of what music has to do with them.

For detailed information about all our events please consult the calendar.

SONIC MATTER Festival 2021 2

2021 – TURN

Every edition of SONIC MATTER will have a different motto that will link up with that of the following year. In the first three years, the triptych TURN – RISE – LEAP will provide an initial spark to engage with issues that could fill far more than three years. These topics signalise constant change: from their moment of beginning, through the reactions they trigger, to their consequences.

SONIC MATTER invites everyone to embark along these tracks, to find the right questions and pursue them, perhaps finding answers, or perhaps only more questions. Together, we shall traverse paths that turn and wind, occasionally leading off-track and cutting new paths (TURN); we shall balance on ridges and gaze into the distance towards uncharted territory (RISE) that we shall then explore courageously, inquisitively and conscientiously (LEAP).

turning, tacking, veering, swerving, shifting – something is changing: a situation, a perspective, an object, a relationship; whether deliberately induced or as part of a chain reaction; whether sudden or gradual; partial or full; whether small or big, in an artistic, private or global context; whether something final or a beginning.