Sounds Like THIS Festival returns with stellar line-up

By Kath Hartley


Beth Orton, Keith Tippett & Matthew Bourne, Aïsha Devi and Susan Rogers will appear at Leeds’ award-winning new music festival

Sounds Like THIS | 11-22 March 2019 | Leeds |

The award-winning Sounds Like THIS is set to return to Leeds with a unique programme of groundbreaking music and sound art. Created by Leeds College of Music (LCoM), the festival will take place from 11 -22 March 2019, featuring music from leading artists and emerging talent.

Beth Orton

Award-winning artist and songwriter Beth Orton, and a group of female artists from across the region, will open the festival with a performance of brand new works created on a five-day residency at Leeds College of Music. This is part of Both Sides Now – a pioneering initiative from music charity Brighter Sound 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 include a new and exciting partnership from two of Britain’s most adventurous jazz pianists, as Keith Tippett and Matthew Bourne play together for the first time - on two grand pianos.

A seminal figure in the evolution of UK jazz since the 1960s, Keith Tippett has forged his own ever-evolving sound as both composer and improviser. Matthew Bourne has similarly explored the horizons of jazz and contemporary music, on both analogue synths and the acoustic piano. Both are mesmerising live performers, famous for their idiosyncrasy, virtuosity and non-conformity.

No one on this planet sounds like Aïsha Devi. Her voice is her most powerful tool in a repertoire that includes thumping beats and rave stabs, seraphic and guttural throat singing, mystical linguistics and corporeal sonics. Devi applies meditation techniques in her approach to production and performance, and her live shows are transcendent experiences. Her live AV show at Sounds Like THIS will feature Emile Barret.

Experimental psychologist Susan Rogers, from Berklee College of Music in Boston, will deliver insightful talks about the psychology of music. Prior to her science career, she was a multiplatinum-earning record producer, engineer, mixer and audio technician, working with artists including Prince, David Byrne, Barenaked Ladies and Tricky. Her talks will include a session on music psychology for record makers, and a public talk on the correlation between our personality and our musical taste. She will also discuss the challenges of preserving and posthumously archiving the works of major artists.

The festival will also showcase work from the next generation of talent from Leeds College of Music. This will include a brand new opera and the conservatoire’s annual Gala Concert, with a fringe of events alongside the festival.

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.”

Last week, Sounds Like THIS won a prestigious Drum Experience Award for Best Small Festival, whose panel commended the festival team’s commitment to new and exciting music which is underrepresented in the mainstream. 

There is an open call for artists to apply to take part in the residency and perform with Beth Orton at the festival. More information at

Tickets on sale and full line up announced in January 2019. More info at

For more information, images and press passes please contact us at

By Kath Hartley

Even though we can't meet you in person, we can still show you around the conservatoire and answer all your questio…
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