sounds_like_new_coverWhen I heard that Dan Goren (of Composers Edition, Club Inégales and much more) was brainstorming a brand new contemporary classical music magazine, my immediate response was ‘fantastic – at last it’s happening!’

Many of us know just how vibrant and alive the UK and Ireland new music scene is. And how, in the face of financial and other challenges, the scene is expanding into exciting new digital and performance arenas, beyond traditional notions of genre. But too seldom does new music appear centre stage within our wider culture, despite the fantastic efforts of all those within the profession who work so hard to champion it – including the many listeners and bloggers who share their enthusiasm and expertise, and the often exceptional performers and composers themselves.

That’s where a new magazine, Sounds Like Now, will come in. For what the new music scene is crying out for is a professional publication devoted to it. A focal point – a cultural hub, if you will – where new music advocates from across the board can be given a voice within a single forum. Where new music can be shared, celebrated and discussed with the following aims:

  • To provide information and a platform for expansion for those already involved in the new music scene, and to encourage further networking and critical engagement across all areas of the profession.
  • More crucially still, there’s a need to alert those people not already in the know to the vital work being produced by composers of all kinds across the UK and Ireland today. To show those who happily engage with contemporary film, art or literature and other kinds of contemporary music, but who haven’t yet explored contemporary classical music, just what it is they’ve been missing.

Sounds Like Now won’t shy away from the necessary, ongoing debates that challenge and invigorate new music culture; about, say, the usefulness of terms like ‘classical contemporary’, which some find problematic. And ongoing concerns within the scene will be central to our ethos – like, for instance, the need to encourage women composers and those from non-western and non-white ethnic backgrounds, and the need to scrutinise what’s going on in music education.

But our overriding aim is simple, and founded on the enthusiasm and commitment that drives new music culture across the spectrum, from grassroots happenings to large-scale opera. From experimental music to sound art via all the ‘isms’ and ‘post-isms’ out there, we will seek to explore and celebrate the cornucopia that is the contemporary new music scene in the UK and Ireland.

The magazine will feature:

  • Profiles and interviews with composers and performers: what are they up to, and what makes them tick?
  • Articles and reports by musicians and creators: what are the key ideas and trends in contemporary music? We’ll give the artists themselves a platform.
  • The music itself, viewed from different angles: what’s it all about? Our expert guides will help you find out more.
  • Venues and festivals. Our concert previews and thorough, UK-Ireland listings will tell you what’s on and where.
  • New and existing recordings, and new repertoire: we’ll review concerts, recordings and books, and showcase newly produced work.
  • The exploration of new music within a broader context alongside its sister arts: what do arts and music lovers outside the scene think about contemporary classical culture? We’ll listen, learn and debate.

Above all, Sounds Like Now will feature great writing about a great new music scene.

The magazine will be professionally produced, employing professional editors and journalists, and be available, bi-monthly, in print and digital formats. In the long run the magazine will pay for itself, but it needs help to get started. So this week we’ve launched a crowdfund campaign at:

Our initial target is to fund a sustainable launch from pre-subscriptions, donations and advertising. We’ve already received some wonderful endorsements, encouragement and pledges of support. Of course we’d love more people to help us realise what we believe to be a vital and unique venture on behalf of UK-Ireland contemporary classical music. Every contribution will be gratefully received, and go towards ensuring that contemporary classical music gains the professional, celebratory outlet it deserves. So head over to the crowdfunding page and join us!

You can also reach us via:


Twitter: @Sounds_Like_Now

Thanks for reading.

Steph comes from a background in new music performance (with ensembles like Icebreaker, Jane Manning’s Minstrels and Gemini). She’s now a composer – most recently performed by soloists Xenia Pestova and Yfat Soul Zisso – and a writer for publications like The Independent / i, TEMPO and the Wales Arts Review, for which she is music editor. She’s delighted to be taking on the role of editor at Sounds Like Now.