In Newfoundland, Canada, a musical composition from horns of ships docked in harbor

Posted on: July 21, 2022

“On Friday afternoon in St. John’s, Newfoundland, deep blasts of ships’ horns punctuated by sharp wails from a pair of saxophones rose up from the fog blanketing the city’s harbour,” writes Sarah Smellie in Friday’s (7/15) Canadian Press. “It was the first of 10 daily Harbour Symphonies scheduled in conjunction with the city’s biennial Sound Symposium festival.… Typically, the symphonies are played only on the horns of the ships in the St. John’s harbour. But on Friday, it had accompaniment from Ouroboros, a beloved local band that dabbles in everything from klezmer to circus music. To some, the Harbour Symphony is a thunderous mess of boomps, barmps and woomps that make it impossible to carry on a conversation. But to Delf Maria Hohmann, who’s been co-ordinating and composing the symphonies since 2004, it’s a carefully planned and painstakingly timed musical composition played by volunteers and captains aboard ships … He works with the St. John’s Port Authority and the coast guard to take an inventory of which boats are scheduled to be docked on symphony days…. He figures out … what kind of notes they may be able to sustain…. Volunteer ‘players’ … hop onto the boats on symphony day.”