Keynote Workshops

On three conference days, three keynote workshops will take place in parallel. Every day the conference participants can choose a different workshop, in order to explore different approaches to opening the hearing of individuals and groups.


Prof. Dr. Ioanna Etmektsoglou

Cats don’t just miaou! Exploring animal sounds in soundscape improvisations

A tool for developing environmental awareness, empathy, and aesthetic sensitivity

“There is a great variety of sound qualities and types of messages (alarm, territoriality, courtship, etc) communicated by animals, most of which we tend to ignore as ‘city people’. The aim of this workshop is: a) to explore a particular animal in terms of its sounds and other unique characteristics, following the educational model ‘BEAVER’ (Etmektsoglou, 2017), b) to incorporate some of its sounds to a live improvised soundscape, which would re-enact through voice and body percussion this animal’s ecosystem as would be experienced at a particular time within the diurnal and seasonal cycles and c) to explore issues of variety, balance, and the acoustic niche of different sounds in the re-enacted soundscape as reflecting biodiversity and ecological balance in the corresponding ecosystem. At a theoretical level, the participants will be introduced to a broader sound-based educational approach to ecosystems, which could embed more specialized educational activities such as the ‘BEAVER’ with the aim to foster through active, informed, empathic and aesthetic listening a deeper understanding and an emotional identification with the ecosystems which we share with other animals.”

Ioanna Etmektsoglou studied Music Education at the University of Illinois (M.S., Ph.D. 1992) and Music Therapy at Anglia Ruskin University (M.A. 2007). Since 1995 she has been teaching music psychology, music education and introductory courses in music therapy at the Department of Music of the Ionian University, in Greece. She is currently the Board Advisor of the Hellenic Society for Acoustic Ecology, and a member of the Editorial Committee of the Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology. Ioanna has been developing and researching group approaches for life-long learning and adjustments in the context of acoustic ecology, community music, and music therapy.


Hildegard Westerkamp

Sustainable Soundwalking

Passing on and relaying Acoustic Ecology’s core practice

With hearing on ‘stand-by’ in many of the activities of modern life, as Max Dixon puts it*, listening in daily life and to familiar environments is even less of a conscious priority. Not surprisingly then, soundwalks tend to provide an extraordinary listening experience. Inevitably an unplugging of ears occurs, an inspirational noticing of sounds, whether listeners are new at soundwalks or whether they have participated or even lead them for a long time.

But anyone involved in this work for many years, will have had to face the deeply ephemeral nature of such listening and the challenges this poses, especially when trying to sustain the energy and creative spirit in continuing with such teachings. This workshop will be geared towards passing on years of experience and proposing methodologies that may help to create ever-more sustainable approaches to listening and soundwalking. Precisely because of its ephemeral nature, it is crucial that listening be developed into a regular practice, particularly by those who want to make the perceptual approach and teaching of Acoustic Ecology itself sustainable. Practical approaches to that end will be suggested and discussed.

Composer Hildegard Westerkamp focuses on listening, environmental sound and acoustic ecology. She worked with R. Murray Schafer and the World Soundscape Project, is a founding and board member of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology and was long-time editor of its journal Soundscape. She has conducted soundscape workshops, given concerts and lectures, and has coordinated and led Soundwalks locally and internationally. Her newest composition Klavierklang for pianist Rachel Iwaasa had its world premiere at ISCM’s World Music Days in Vancouver, November 2017. Her ways of composing and listening were presented on CBC IDEAS in 2017 (To read more about it, clik here)

* Dixon, Max. “Towards a new Sonic Land Art”, in: Berlin Sonic Places, a Brief Guide by Peter Cusack, DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program, 2017, p.9.


Prof. Eric Leonardson

Acoustic Ecology and DIY Hacking Aesthetic

Accessible Technology and Embodied Listening

This practical workshop suggests possibilities for transdisciplinary collaborations by connecting concepts and practices of acoustic ecology with the DIY hacking aesthetic of art and technology. Participants are introduced to an array of interconnected methods and techniques they may explore and employ later in their own studio practice, research, and teaching: “ear cleaning”, soundwalking, instrument making, field recording, sound design, sound maps, transmission art, performance, and improvisation. Discussion about and hands-on activities with affordable audio and data sensors point to ways in which DIY hacking approaches and materials allow a range of embodied listening practices to scale in a variety of contexts we might encounter as teaching artists. Employing simple, accessible tools in our work can offer new understandings of our environments, locations, and boundaries; our roles as artists, designers and listeners; and the experience of the communities we teach or serve.

Eric Leonardson, a Chicago-based audio artist, serves as the Executive Director of the World Listening Project, founder and co-chair of the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology, and President of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology. He is Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Sound at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As a performer, composer, and sound designer, Leonardson created sound with the Chicago based physical theater company Plasticene (1995–2012). Leonardson performs internationally with the Springboard, a self-built instrument made in 1994.


The Global Composition Conference 2018, University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt, Oktober 04-07, 2018

All content © 2018 The Global Composition. Website by Robin Wiemann.