Co-curators Emma Welton and Tony Whitehead were drawn together by their shared love of quiet listening both within and outside concert halls. We conceived A QUIET NIGHT IN in 2014 to perform concerts of quiet contemporary music otherwise neither performed nor widely-known in Devon. An antidote to musical performances in noisy bars and club-type settings, A QUIET NIGHT IN provides a context for the exploration of the creative possibilities in quiet/silence.

We consider carefully the quality of our listening experiences.

We use different venues across Exeter and beyond and curate the programmes to best fit the space. We allow each venue its own moment of quiet, partly to help our audience settle into a state of attentiveness, but also because each venue has its own audible character and this is worth hearing.

We strike a balance between some of the more challenging quiet music of, for example, James Saunders and Wandelweiser composers, and the calm directness of, for example, Howard Skempton.

We are also interested in music that contains a certain attitude toward discovering, revealing and permitting sounds such as Joanna Bailie’s Artificial Environments – with its recordings of everyday sounds combined with live instruments – and Alvin Lucier’s exploration of the acoustic properties of objects, rooms and materials.

We invite people to compose new quiet pieces for our concerts. Programmes have included playfulness and humour alongside intense introspection. Performers number between three and ten per concert. With the help of Sound and Music’s Composer-Curator programme, we will invite specialist performers and composers from further afield to join us for A QUIET NIGHT IN – sharing insights into the creation and performance of quiet music.

More about Emma’s work