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Sound Icon – Jonathan Harvey Portrait

Described as a “rare spirit, ever in search of the new and numinous” (The Sunday Times), composer Jonathan Harvey has sought the ineffable spirituality of music over the course of his life’s work. Sound Icon dedicates this portrait concert to Harvey’s memory and legacy. This concert highlights different aspects of his pioneering career, which drew inspiration from Buddhism, Christianity and the visual arts, among others.

The groundbreaking electronic work Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco transforms the voice of his chorister son into the deep resonance of a bell. Death of Light, Light of Death, for five instruments, after the masterful Isenheim Altarpiece by German Renaissance painter Matthias Grünewald, is an emotional exploration of what lies beyond death. Wheel of Emptiness, for large ensemble, and Advaya, for solo cello, are two meditations on self and illusion, subject and object, that express a transcendence of category and time.


Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco (1980)

Death of Light, Light of Death (1998)

Advaya (1994)

Wheel of Emptiness (1997)

This program is funded in part by Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung.


About Sound Icon


Sound Icon is a sinfonietta committed to performing the most significant progressive works of the past few decades.  As a sinfonietta, Sound Icon offers the color palette of a full orchestra with the precision and flexibility of a chamber ensemble. The technical and logistical challenges of contemporary repertoire for sinfonietta often discourage live performance in the United States, however, Sound Icon embraces this compelling music and aims to bring this repertoire to Boston and beyond. Through ambitious programming performed to the highest standards, Sound Icon engages audiences in dialogues about what progressive music is and can be: music that redefines rules, experiences, and expectations.


Led by conductor and artistic director Jeffrey Means, Sound Icon has quickly become established as a leading artistic force in Boston, performing challenging, cutting-edge contemporary repertoire for sinfonietta that is rarely heard live in Boston and the United States.  Sound Icon has worked with prominent composers such as Philippe Leroux and Salvatore Sciarrino and performed works by Gérard Grisey, Helmut Lachenmann, Beat Furrer, Wolfgang Rihm, Salvatore Sciarrino, Georg Friedrich Haas, Fausto Romitelli and many others. Founded in spring 2011, Sound Icon has since established relationships with local cultural institutions such as the Boston University Center for New Music, the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, and Northeastern University, creating cross-institutional collaborations that support truly exciting events. In spring 2013, Sound Icon was featured as the Fromm Players at Harvard, and has been involved with other local concert series and presenters. In addition to live concert events, Sound Icon frequently holds workshops with young composers and instrumentalists as part of collaborative academic residencies. Sound Icon’s mission is to perform significant progressive repertoire for sinfonietta and to advocate ambitious music in Boston and beyond.

Sound Icon is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Read about Sound Icon in the Boston Globe.


Topics: Performance