Jonty Harrison

Programme notes


The image evoked most immediately is, of course, that of water — turbulent, troubled, restless, at the mercy of wind and terrain, flowing onward to the sea — itself turbulent and in constant motion. Evaporation, clouds and rainfall complete the cycle which is always renewing, always moving…

The primary sound sources for Streams are drawn from the turbulent points of confluence of water, earth and air (liquid, solid, gas): river, sea-shore and rainfall. This gives rise to behaviour such as trickling, bubbling, pattering (like drums? Listen out for a mysterious Irish visitor!) and the overriding rise and fall of perpetual wave motion, which seems to have become a model for the structure of the whole piece…

Streams of data, of consciousness and, most importantly, of perception — the ability to link often disparate elements together and to understand, to ‘hear,’ that they are part of one line, one ‘stream of thought,’ distinct from other (possibly coexisting) parallel or contrapuntal streams. The multichannel medium (which I used here for the first time in a work for tape alone) assists in the streaming processes, and also emphasizes the agitation of relentless motion…


Streams was composed in 1999 in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of the University of Birmingham (UK) and premiered on May 4, 1999 in Queen’s University’s Harty Room during the Sonorities Festival (Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK). The piece was commissioned by the Sonorities Festival with funds from the National Lottery and Sonorities. •• Streams is the work #4 of 4 that make up ReCycle which was premiered in its complete form on May 25, 2007 during the Klangfest festival produced by BEAST at the CBSO Centre in Birmingham (UK).


  • May 4, 1999, Concert, Harty Room — Music Building — Queen’s University, Belfast (Northern Ireland, UK)
  • Instrumentation: 8-channel fixed medium
  • Cycle: ReCycle (1999-2006)
  • Composer(s): Jonty Harrison
  • Year of composition: 1999
  • Commission: Sonorities Festival with support from the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • ISRC: CAD500014180, CAD500721450

By continuing browsing our site, you agree to the use of cookies, which allow audience analytics.