Sonoscopia, this weekend in Hamilton, isn't your typical orchestral performance - there are only nine musicians and they're joined by live digital artist Paul Bradley.

"I really do think of it as playing music but I'm just not producing sound, I'm producing light and so I guess in that way it's the same sort of thing as a musician. You have to feel what the rest of the music is doing to play your part," Mr Bradley says.

Paul Bradley creates his art in time to music by manipulating shapes and objects which are then projected onto screens via computer software.

"I often refer to this as live drawing or as live art performance, sometimes art projection performance. You know the stuff I do with oil and ink, that's old school, that's what people used to do in the sixties. It was psychedelic rock stuff."

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Mr Bradley says his art is mostly trial and error, finding new 21st century techniques to create moving digital art.

"It's purely experimentation - just trying stuff, just mucking around, and seeing what happens. When I'm listening to music I just kind of see all sorts of things", says Mr Bradley. That sound inspires the mood and aura of whatever he creates visually.

Orchestras Central, Chief Executive Susan Trodden says that experience has a technical term - known as synesthesia.

"It's a neurological condition in which your senses essentially get mashed together," she says. "Lorde talks about when she hears music, she sees colour - there's an example. Others say 'when I hear music I feel a certain thing' or 'I see a certain thing' or 'I can touch it'".

The Sonoscopia performance was composed by Hamiltonian Dr Jeremy Mayall and is 45 minutes long.

Flautist Adrianna Lis says the musicians have to rely on themselves because they don't have a conductor.

"It's 45 minutes of focusing as best as we can but I think we have all played each other and we know each other and that makes a big difference."

And although the light artist has written his own score sheet guide - Mr Bradley says music always sets the mood and tone of his art.

This festival of music is being presented Friday 25th August to Sunday 27th, at the Meteor Theatre, by Orchestras Central to truly immerse audiences in music using all their senses.

Tickets and more information can be found at http://www.orchestras.org.nz/

SENSING MUSIC EVENTS

* Youth Orchestra Jam: Friday, August 25, 6.30pm-8pm, at The Meteor - upstairs rehearsal room. Join the Youth Orchestra for their Friday night rehearsal. Observe, take part, have fun. No cost, but please register. Suitable for 12 to 20-year-olds.

* Sonoscopia: Friday, August 25, 8.30am-10pm, at The Meteor. Cost: $23.50. Sonoscopia explores the relationship between what we see and what we hear. Through melodies and abstraction, Sonoscopia, composed by Dr Jeremy Mayall, is a creative journey of sight and sound.

* Musicians workshops and conductor training: Saturday, August 26, 1pm-6pm, at The Meteor. Cost: $20-$80. String, wind, percussion and brass classes available. $20 per person. Followed by a three-hour conductor workshop with TWSO music director Rupert D'Cruze. Registration is essential.

* Music in the Round - Palette: Saturday, August 26, 8pm-9.30pm, at The Meteor. Cost: $23.50. A unique concert featuring an octet of high-quality local talent. Music from the 18th century to the present day; includes the New Zealand premiere of Goulet Symphonic Chocolates - a delicious treat not to be missed.

* Rusty Player Breakfast - Wake Up and Smell the Coffee: Sunday, August 27, 10am-11.30 am, at The Meteor. Cost: $20. Includes music and brunch. An all-comers brunch as the Rusty Players gather for a chance to play as they enjoy the tastes and smells of the cafe.

* The Pied Piper of Pirongia - Family Concert and Orchestral Petting zoo: Sunday, August 27, 2.30pm-4pm, at The Meteor. Cost: $5 - $12.50. Door sales only. Beginning with an invitation to see the 'inner workings' of an orchestra, families will have an opportunity to get up close and personal with the musicians and their instruments before enjoying a new production, written especially for the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra.

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