Beth Orton among boundary-pushing artists at Sounds Like THIS festival

Returning to Leeds on March 11, Sounds Like THIS is like no other festival in the city. Presenting a unique mix of cutting-edge music and sound art, 14 events over two weeks will include exciting new projects from Beth Orton in Both Sides Now and Matthew Bourne & Laura Cole.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 8th March 2019, 3:46 pm
Updated Friday, 8th March 2019, 3:48 pm
Beth Orton is to open the Sounds Like THIS festival with brand new works, created during a five-day residency at Leeds College of Music.
Beth Orton is to open the Sounds Like THIS festival with brand new works, created during a five-day residency at Leeds College of Music.

Created by Leeds College of Music (LCoM), the festival recently won a prestigious Drum Experience Award for ‘Best Small Festival’ for its commitment to new and exciting music that is under-represented in the mainstream.

Award-winning artist and songwriter Beth Orton will open the festival with a performance of brand new works, created during a five-day residency at LCoM with eight female artists from across the region. This is part of Both Sides Now, a pioneering initiative, from music charity Brighter Sound, aims to support, inspire and champion women in music across the North of England. The residency will see the artists explore songwriting techniques through collaboration, culminating in a unique one-off performance.

The festival will also showcase a new and exciting partnership from two adventurous pianists, as Matthew Bourne and Laura Cole play together for the first time – on two grand pianos. Bourne is a passionate explorer of sound with a reputation as a fearlessly unpredictable pianist and composer. Following his celebrated analogue synth projects moogmemory and Radioland: Radio-Activity Revisited, Bourne now returns to the piano. Joining him on the second grand piano is fellow Leeds-based pianist, composer Laura Cole fresh from her acclaimed solo double album Enough’ (Discus) last year.

Aisha Devi is appearing at Sounds Like THIS in Leeds. Picture: Emile Barret

The diverse line-up also features boundary-pushing artists from many walks of music, including a transcendent live AV show from remarkable vocalist Aïsha Devi, a unique performance from violinist and composer Aisha Orazbayeva and an insightful talk about the psychology of music with experimental psychologist and engineer Susan Rogers of Berklee College of Music. As a producer, Rogers has worked with an impressive array of artists including Prince, David Byrne and Barenaked Ladies.

Nømad Ensemble present Women’s Words, Women’s Voices – a programme of contemporary classical music championing the work of female composers from around the world. The performance will feature an all-female ensemble, performing the works of Charlotte Bray, Hanna Beekhuis, Ailis Ni Riain, Shiva Feshareki, Liza Lim and Wendy Hiscocks.

The festival will also feature the latest talent from Leeds College of Music alongside seasoned professionals, in a showcase at Leeds’ Hifi Club, in the futuristic, intergalactic opera Earth Odyssey, and at LCoM’s annual Gala Concert at The Venue.

Sounds Like THIS is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Dr Paul Abbott, Festival Director said; “Sounds Like THIS has grown rapidly into a vibrant festival of current and future music. The line-up this year is exceptional, and draws in a broad spectrum of music makers who are each in their own way changing the face of music.

“We are especially excited to present a series of performances which have grown out of collaboration in a wide variety of forms. We will be presenting artists who are still breaking new ground at the zenith of their career, alongside the next generation of artists who are embracing technology and innovation to shape the music of tomorrow.”

Full line-up and tickets available at