Sound Re-creations of Artworks
The initial inspiration for spontaneously recreating artworks in sound came from Dian’s knowledge of sound and colour as a medium of healing, and also from her knowledge of Moussorgsky’s composition “Pictures at an Exhibition”. Several Russian composers and visual artists were exploring the relationships between the two media early in the 20th century. Dian saw the possibility of taking her violin to a gallery and “just playing the sounds of a painting straight off”.

She began with the works of David Nash in 1989. The first occasion was to selected sculptures in his exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens in London. Later events included concerts of his sculpture exhibitions at the Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno and the Criccieth Festival in Wales, and in a major gallery in Heidelberg, Germany.

These events led to other invitations to recreate sculptures and paintings in sound, and to teach groups of students to create sounds to artworks. They were held at the exhibitions of a number of famous British and European artists. These included Andy Galsworthy in London, Eric Gill in Leeds, Peter Randall-Page in Bristol, Meical Watts in Llandudno, Daniella Monaci in Rome, and a number of painters at the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon.

In 2010 Dian gave a concert at the Roerich Museum in Moscow, to enormous success. The museum is dedicated to the works of Nicholas Roerich and his son Sviatislav.

Audience members responded with claps and tears, and said “we have never before heard a musician create spontaneous compositions to paintings. These were such appropriate and deeply felt sounds”. She was invited to return to play again at this Museum in 2012, and also to travel to Eastern Siberia to connect with indigenous painters and sculptors, and create sounds to their work. For an example of the sounds to one of these paintings search YouTube for Dian Booth.

Artists and audiences alike have reported that they “experienced a new and different view of the artworks, often adding a new dimension to the work itself”. David Nash said, “I felt that Dian was immediately able to connect directly, not just with the finished work, but with my initial inspiration for the work”.

Tony Smibert in Tasmania said, “you brought alive another whole area of my painting that I hadn’t seen before”.

Young children often speak of how the sessions “are a lot of fun”.

Since 1989 Dian has held many concerts and workshops in galleries in the UK, Europe and Australia. People experiencing these have ranged in age from 4 to 64, and have come from schools, tertiary educational institutions, ethnic groups, and groups with severe physical and mental challenges. They have included the blind, the deaf, and the severely autistic. Carers often report that the people they were caring for were able to extend themselves appreciably during the session, often with lasting effect. Most groups report feeling that “something both important and healing occurred”.

"Comet Ball" Sound Events CD

Sound improvisations to the sculpture of David Nash

 Sculpture 'Ancient Table' by David Nash Sculpture 'Ancient Table' by David NashComet Ball is a set of improvisations in sound by Dian Booth (violin, viola, percussion and didjeridoo) and John Sharp (cello and percussion), which has been selected from public performances at exhibitions of David Nash's sculpture. Dian and John have spent much of their performing lives in classical music as soloists and chamber musicians.

The sounds have been created quite spontaneously with no prior discussion as to key, rhythm or duration. The musicians are seeking to create an equivalence in sound to each sculpture.


1. comet ball I 8. two ubus
2. brackets 9. running table
3. threshold column 10. cracking box
4. tall pegged box 11. square and branch
5. two sliced eggs 12. inside outside
6. ancient table 13. comet ball II
7. serpentine vessels  
DAVID NASH - Dian has played the sound responses to many of David Nash's exhibitions:

The Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London, 1991

Llandudno, North Wales

Kunstverien Gallery, Heidelberg, 1991

Aldeburgh Festival, England, 1992

Dian has also played the sounds of Andy Goldsworthy's work at the Tate Gallery, London

Albert Namatjira Gallery, Araulen Complex, Alice Springs, Australia, 1998

ANOTHER SOUND RECREATION OF ARTWORK was a workshop within the Arts & Community Health Program that was held at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, in November 2011. Many participants reported healing for deep seated issues.