SONDE sound sources workshop

SONDE sound sources workshop

An interactive workshop, exhibiting some of the sound sources the group Sonde and its members used during their active period.


is a group of performers and builder of sound sources that has been active in Montreal and internationally from 1975 until the mid-eighties. The group was started by students of the course Music Design taught by Mario Bertoncini at the University of McGill and over the years it has had various formations.

During the workshop, four longstanding members of the group Sonde: Andrew Culver, Charles de Mestral, Keith Daniel and Pierre Dostie will show some of the sound sources they built and used, as well as their electronic designs. The workshop will be interactive with some demonstrations and listening sessions. Questions will be welcome.

The event is organized in collaboration with Valentina Bertolani within the project “ARPOEXMUS - Archiving post-1960s experimental music: Exploring the ontology of music beyond the score-performance dichotomy”. ARPOEXMUS is supported by the European Union through a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellowship and it is carried out at the University of Birmingham, Carleton University and at Carleton University.

Registration for this event is free and available here.


Charles de Mestral

Charles de Mestral (Montreal in 1944) obtained a B.A. Philosophy and English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1996; an M.A. University of Montreal in 1970; a McGill B.Mus. (composition studies with Allan Heard, Mario Bertoncini, Harry Freedman) in 1976 and a Ph.D. University of Montreal (thesis on the particularity of the aesthetic of Georg Lukacs) in 1981. In 2007-08, he studied language and ancient Chinese thought at the Asian Studies Centre of the East, University of Montreal.

Charles de Mestral was an active member of the Montreal group Sonde as composer, performer, sound sculptor, and designer of electronic systems from 1975-2010. Sonde produced more than a hundred public events (concerts, performance accompaniments, sound installations, emissions, film music) and more than a hundred electroacoustic compositions for execution (usually) live in Quebec, Ontario and in Paris, London, Berlin, Lyon, and Bristol.

From 1987 to 1990, Charles was Secretary of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community (CEC).

Charles has held several teaching positions in Montreal at the Cégep du Vieux Montreal. From 1968 to 2007, Charles was Professor of Philosophy and coordinator of the Philosophy department from 1990 to 2000. From 1997 to 2007, Charles was Professor of Arts and Letters in the Communications Program and coordinator of the program from 2001 to 2006. Retired since June 2007, he lectures as part of the People's University Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, the Montreal UPOP (the People's University of Montreal) and the University of the Third Age.

Andrew Culver

Andrew Culver is a composer, sound installation artist, sound sculptor, film-maker, lighting designer, essayist, and former musical journalist. He worked daily for for 11 years as John Cage’s creative assistant. Culver was a founding member of Sonde, the music design and performance ensemble of Montreal. He studied composition at McGill University with Bengt Hambraeus and John Rea; electronic music with Alcides Lanza; music design with Mario Bertoncini; and sound recording with Wieslaw Woszczyk. Culver founded iLiv Technologies in 2005 to conceptualize and create a new way to manage collaborative projects, through software that is based on the processes of an unconducted orchestra. He lives and works with his wife in Pointe-au-Pic, Québec.

Pierre Dostie

Pierre Dostie, a multi-disciplinary artist, appropriates the space to play his music with a simple enchantment - close to silence. Inhabited by his moving sculptures, the place becomes a place to feel good, to feel at peace: - "Listen," he says, "we'll tune in".

This composer-performer lives and works in Val-David. Recipient of many grants from the Ministère des Affaires Culturelles du Québec and the Canada Council for the Arts, he recently exhibited in Les jardins du précambrien of the Derouin Foundation in Val-David during the Symposium internationaux d'art nature. From 1976 to 1994, he realized alone or in collaboration more than 300 concerts and public events as a designer/composer/performer and founding member of the group Sonde.

He created the soundtrack for the documentary Betty Goodwin - Le cœur à l'âme, (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 2003) and in 1999, the sound environment that accompanied Gilles Boisvert's visual installation for the event DÉCLIC-ARTS ET SOCIÉTÉ - Le Québec des années 60 à 70 at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal.

Keith Daniel

Keith Daniel (Montreal, 1960) took a very early interest in electronics, electronic music, and electroacoustics, and eventually discovered the McGill University Electronic Music Studio ca. 1977. Here, he became something of a drop-in fixture, and effectively apprenticed under Eric Johnstone, the brilliant studio technician.

It was here he was introduced to the original members of Sonde (Groupe MuD at the time), and so began a long and fruitful association in music, philosophy, technology, and artistic creation. Having abandoned the world of industrial electronics for art technology, he worked with a number of other avant guard Montreal artists of the day, like Michael Haslam and Endre Farkas. Sonde twice had workshops for instrument building and sound experimentation, first on Beaubien St. over a chicken abattoir, later on St. Alexandre street closer to Downtown. Metal work, power tools, and loud experimental sounds were permitted in those places. There he designed and built many custom mixers, filters, modulators, in the spirit of early analog electronic music.