Multicultural paradigms, weaved into a symphony of image and sound, are at the heart of Hong Kong artist and composer Samson Young’s practice. Through compositions, drawings, installations, radio broadcasts, and performances, Samson creates innovative cross-media experiences that touch upon the recurring topics of identity, war, and literature.

Emphasising a sense of play and intellectual witticism through the inclusion of unexpected sounds (ranging from the ring of Gameboys, fanfare rides, and Cantonese nursery rhymes) to references of great works of fiction, Samson builds peculiar scenarios that challenge one’s everyday associations with objects, stories, and spaces.

Samson’s Sounds Unheard masterclass series, “Observing Music”, asks us to consider listening as a multi-sensory experience. Over three episodes, we look at how observing our listening processes, the physical performances of musicians and the spaces in which performances take place can radically change our understanding and appreciation of sound.

In the second episode, “Observing Performers”, Samson reflects on how modern audiences often consider the bodies that make music separately from the music that is being produced. When we see music performed in a concert hall, performers on the stage are usually physically separated from the audience – but in more intimate or unusual performance venues, the audience can view and hear the musicians in a variety of settings.

In Samson’s “Muted Situation #22”, we see an orchestra perform a work musicologist Alexander Rehding describes as a “sonic x-ray” – a full rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, where the musicians have been asked to ‘mute’ the pitch layer of the music. This performance reveals the sounds of performers and instruments that are usually hidden: scratching bows, clicking keys, turning pages and more.

Join us tomorrow for part three of Samson’s masterclass series. For more on Samson, visit


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