The Santa Rita Concerts: Chris Watson


An evening with Chris Watson, one of the world's leading recorders of natural phenomena. The evening begins at 7pm with a Santa Rita wine reception and pre-concert interview with the performer. The performance begins at 8pm sharp. Tickets €13 pre-booked; €15 on the door.

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“While the legendary recordist may have started his career in sound as a founder member of influential Sheffield electronic innovators Cabaret Voltaire, since the early 80s he has made his name as one of the world’s most important wildlife sound recordists, and has released a slew of records on experimental imprint, Touch.” –

Chris Watson is one of the world’s leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena, with an expansive career ranging from important television projects with David Attenborough, to filmic releases on the Touch record label. A classic example of Watson’s field recording work is capturing the unearthly groaning of ice in an Icelandic glacier – in Watson’s words, “putting a microphone where you can’t put your ears”.

Using a surround sound speaker system, Watson will envelop listeners with his work Hy Brasil, which was inspired by a Patrick Collins painting discovered in Dublin’s Hugh Lane gallery. Hy Brasil is a mythical island off the west coast of Ireland. Watson was prompted to imagine how the island might sound during the one day in every seven years when it is said to rise out of the mist. The presentation will feature a live multi-channel diffusion of Hy Brasil – from the deep ocean to mountain summit.

Chris Watson was a founding member of the influential Sheffield based experimental music group Cabaret Voltaire during the 1970s and early 1980s. His sound recording career began in 1981 when he joined Tyne Tees Television. Since then he has developed a particular and passionate interest in recording the sounds of animals, habitats and atmospheres from around the world. As a freelance composer and recordist for film, TV & radio, Watson specialises in natural history and documentary location sound, together with sound design in post-production. His television work includes many programmes in David Attenborough’s Life series including The Life of Birds, which won a BAFTA Award for Best Factual Sound in 1996. In 2000, Watson received an Award Of Distinction in the Digital Musics section of the Prix Ars Electronica for his CD Outside The Circle Of Fire. More recently, Watson was the location sound recordist with David Attenborough on the BBC’s series Frozen Planet, which won a BAFTA Award for Best Factual Sound in 2012. Watson has recorded, and featured in, many BBC Radio productions including; The Ice Mountain, The Reed Bed, Jules Verne’s Volcano, and The Wire, which won him the Broadcasting Press Guild’s ‘Broadcaster of The Year’ Award (2012).

The Santa Rita Concerts provide a unique, deeply immersive audience experience. Each evening begin at 7pm with a Santa Rita wine reception, and a pre-concert interview with the evening’s musicians. The performances take place at 8pm in the museum’s beautifully resonant downstairs gallery. The space is candlelit and the atmosphere highly intimate – a concentrated ritual shared by performer and audience.

The Santa Rita Concerts are curated by Ergodos, a Dublin-based record label and production company run by composers Benedict Schlepper-Connolly and Garrett Sholdice. The programme features a distinctive and diverse mix of soloists, ensembles, singer-songwriters and sound artists. Full details can be found here, and a discounted season ticket may be purchased online here.