Musarc Workshop, at Cass Architecture, 2013


Musarc responds to the rise of sound as a paradigm in theory and criticism and the development of distinct aural histories in disciplines such as geography, psychology and anthropology. Musarc promotes the discussion of sound and listening specifically in the context of architecture and urbanism.

It centres on the activities of a choral ensemble and network of professionals that reaches out to a diverse audience through urban action and pedagogical activities including artists’ commissions, urban surveys, lectures, talks and performances. The focus on survey work described in the attached article is an important overlap between architecture-research of the culture of urban sounds, and the performance-work. The choir’s activities are the primary vehicle, in conjunction with observation and desktop reflection such as the article included in the portfolio submission. This is an ongoing and continuously evolving project unique to Cass School of Architecture.

Musarc’s work forms a critique of common assumptions advanced in this field of study that focus on the technical aspects of sound (e.g. acoustics or noise prevention). Taking an alternative point of departure, Musarc is developing new ways to discuss and represent architecture through the medium of sound – exposing time, human interaction, change and cultural idiosyncrasies that traditional (static/visual) methods of representation fail to capture. Architecture and the city are thus contemplated in an expanded field of knowledge that offers a rationale for practitioners to develop innovative, new work.

Musarc’s primary mode of dissemination is performance, often using formats that encourage collaboration with invited artists. Work is also disseminated through its website, publications and a series of workshops, talks and lectures.


Joseph Kohlmaier


Musarc’s teaching programme ‘Field Studies’ has its own website which discusses the methodology of the course and makes reviews, resources and Joseph Kohlmaier’s article ‘Sonus loci’ available to users.

‘Sonus loci’, the ‘Soundscape of Modernity’ teaching programme and Musarc’s involvement in ‘Ways of Hearing’ - bibliography.

Ways of Hearing is a national programme of research and knowledge exchange focused on listening. Practitioners from a broad range of disciplines are engaging in a programme designed to create an interdisciplinary exploration of how sound impacts on our understanding and shaping of the city. Musarc acted as co-organiser and London host for Ways of Hearing.


  • 23–25 March 2009 Chambers 1, concert/performances, exhibition and talks. Musarc choir, Esther Venrooy, Marc Behrens and Sam Belinfante. In collaboration with Entr’acte.
  • 10 July 2009 Juxtaposition, concert/performances at Wiltons Music Hall.
  • 11 December 2009 Musarc Christmas Concert. With performances by the choir and ‘fire organ’ installation by Matthew Venn. St Bartholomew the Great, London.
  • 26–28 March 2010 Audialsense. Installation at The Cass School of Architecture.
  • 26 March 2010 Chambers 2, concert/performances, exhibition and talks. Musarc choir, Audialsense and John Butcher. In collaboration with Entr’acte.
  • 1 July 2010 On Air, Concert and workshop part of London Festival of Architecture, St Stephen Walbrook.
  • 10 December 2010 Musarc Christmas Concert. Musarc choir, with an installatoin by Kite & Laslett.
  • 11 March 2011 Chambers 3, concert/performances and screenings. With contributions by Robert Harbison and Joseph Kohlmaier.
  • Friday 16 December 2011 Musarc Christmas Concert. With contributionsfrom Ev Buckley, Joseph Kohlmaier and Yiannis Katsaris. St Bartholomew the Great, London.
  • 26 January 2012 Bang! Being the building. Artists commission with Davide Tidoni, screening and performance as part of the Barbican’s OMA/Progress exhibition
  • 30 March 2012 Chambers 4, concert/performances, exhibition and talks, The Cass School of Architecture.
  • 20 April 2012 Corpus Sonus. New piece for choir and dictaphones developed by Musarc specifically for ‘Late Night Live: Landmark’ at Turner Contemporary, Margate.
  • 12 June 2012 Musarc at Antistrophe,Performance programme in collaboration with V22 and Milton Keynes Gallery
  • 7 July 2012 A sonic view. Musarc at Bold Tendencies. With new commissions from Claudia Molitor and Joseph Kohlmaier.
  • 14 December 2012 Musarc Christmas concert, St Bartholomew the Great, London.
  • 14 March 2013 Losing touch, or: Old Joe has gone missing. New performance commission and performance for the National Maritime Museum.
  • 26 April 2013 Chambers 4, concert/performances and screenings, St George’s Bloomsbury.
  • 20 July 2013 On Air 2013. With new commissions from Neil Luck and Melanie Pappenheim. St Sepulchre, London.
  • 9 November 2013 again again. Commission and performance at Milton Keynes Gallery. With Melanie Pappenheim.


Field Studies is an ongoing summer-school programme led by acclaimed sound artists and composers.

Salon is part of the Barbican’s OMA/ Progress exhibition on Thursday 26 January 2012.

A workshop led by Joseph Kohlmaier in December 2012 / OPAK-funded research project with Sint-Lucas Academy of Fine Arts, Ghent, 2014–15.

Field Studies is an ongoing summer-school programme led by acclaimed sound artists and composers.

Salon is part of the Barbican’s OMA/ Progress exhibition on Thursday 26 January 2012.

A workshop led by Joseph Kohlmaier in December 2012 / OPAK-funded research project with Sint-Lucas Academy of Fine Arts, Ghent, 2014–15.

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