Ears Up – A Concert for Dogs CANCELLED

  • April 30, 2022

    10am-12pm (multiple performances)

  • Haig Park (at dog agility course, near Mort Street)

    Braddon ACT 2612



This event is supported by the City Renewal Authority, PAWS (Pet Assistance and Wellbeing Service) at Northside Community Service, University of Canberra and produced by Dionysus. 

EARS UP!  A concert for our dearest furriest four-footed friends, dogs.

With Solomon Frank, clarinet and Niki Johnson, percussion

On 4 January 2016 in New York’s Times Square, Laurie Anderson created a Virtual Reality Concert for Dogs. It was a bitterly cold night, but everyone rugged up – including the inner city dogs – and had a go. Laurie played the electric violin and a barking chorus was followed by an extract of her film Heart of the Dog, inspired by her rat terrier Lolabelle and dedicated to her late husband Lou Reed.

This was not the first iteration of a proper dog concert, and today’s event in Haig Park won’t be the last. The emerging discipline of zoomusicology has revealed diverse musical worlds in many animals beyond the traditionally ‘musical’ species, such as birds or whales. Indeed, new academic research into ‘canine human musical entanglements’ is now taken place by musicians such as Solomon.  With the Internet already full of reality TV musical mutts, the sound of sonorous seals, monkeys or dolphins ready to amuse us, the connection of dogs and humans in particular offers great potential. Given that many of us live with dogs, play with dogs, and emote with dogs, is it such a leap of logic to say that dogs could sing with us?

ARTIST Learn more about the artist

Artist Niki Johnson

Niki Johnson is a percussionist and composer-performer whose musical practice incorporates contemporary classical repertoire, improvisation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and performance art. She is a 2021 nominee of the Classical Freedman Fellowship, and currently undertaking a Master of Research at Monash University, developing her sculptural percussion practice. Niki is a member of the experimental and animalistic duo Throat Pleats with co-director Solomon Frank, and she collaborates with sculptors, theatre professionals, and experimental musicians to create new artworks existing in the liminal spaces of art mediums. She is a 2019-2022 Speak Percussion Bespoke Artist, and has performed with chamber ensembles such as Ensemble Offspring and Synergy Percussion. Niki has recorded percussion for Fox Studios, the ABC, and 301 Studios, and performed in multiple festivals including the 2020 Sydney Festival and the 2019 Canberra International Music Festival.

Artist Solomon Frank

Solomon Frank (he/him) is a queer performer. composer, clarinettist and educator living and working on Cammeraygal land, whose inter-disciplinary practice straddles cross-species musical collaboration, vacuum cleaners and time travel. Solomon receives emails from the future including music and musical instructions written by future humans and entities for Frank to perform and carry out in the present. These fictional concepts provide a frame for listening, a way of situating art music and making audiences aware of their cultured ears. Solomon's improvisational practice expands upon the clarinet, replacing parts of the clarinet with other objects, homemade aluminium and plastic reeds, hoses, vacuum cleaners, watering cans and water. His academic research explores canine-human musical collaboration as a mechanism to question the human uniqueness of music. Education forms an integral part of Solomon's practice and he relishes instilling lateral ways of thinking in young minds. Solomon's works and those received from the future have been performed by Ensemble Offspring, Sydney's Symphony Orchestra Fellows, Kirkos Ensemble (Ireland), double bassist, Will Hansen, Willoughby Symphony Orchestra, E-MexEnsemble (Germany), and his own group, Ensemble Onsombl.