Huang Ruo: City of Floating Sounds

6 - 8 Jun 2024

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A futuristic cityscape with cherry blossom trees and people walking in the backgroud
6 - 8 Jun 2024
Standard Tickets £20
Concessions £10
Aviva £10 tickets

Start time: 6.30pm

To book access tickets and personal assistant tickets please call 0161 817 4531 (Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm) or email

We’re putting art in the heart of Manchester, within reach of everyone; and have affordable ticket options including £10 tickets for those on limited incomes.

For information about who qualifies for Aviva £10 Tickets and concessions visit our Affordable Ticketing FAQs page.

This experience takes place across the city, before culminating in a performance at Aviva Studios. There are four starting points to choose from, or you can choose your own route. Discover the different starting points and routes below, then book your ticket. You'll be sent information nearer the time about how to access the City of Floating Sounds app.

This event has ended

Please note the performance element in the Hall at Aviva Studios contains smoke.

Accessibility features available for this event: Wheelchair Access

Hear the strands of Huang Ruo’s new symphony grow and meet each other as you travel through the streets of the city – before a world premiere of the full score performed by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra at Aviva Studios

City of Floating Sounds is an invitation to connect with our surroundings and each other. Experience a shifting soundscape as you journey through the city. Can you find other audience members to create a richer sound?  

Pushing the boundaries of classical music performance, City of Floating Sounds uses cutting-edge creative technology to take music out into the city. Guided by a bespoke mobile app, make your way through the streets of Manchester listening to fragments of Huang Ruo’s meditative new work, recorded by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

As you get closer to Aviva Studios – and other audience members – the sound will expand, revealing more parts of the work. An opportunity to explore Manchester in a new light – the path you take and who you meet on your journey can all change what you hear.

On arrival at Aviva Studios, enjoy the world premiere of City of Floating Sounds performed live by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gemma New. Hear the full score come to life with an immersive performance – this is a classical concert experience like no other. 

Artist and composer Huang Ruo is known for his distinctive sound that blends Chinese folk with Western avant-garde music. No stranger to composing for urban landscapes, he created a site-specific audio work in Manchester Town Hall for Music for a Busy City at MIF17. The project brings together Huang Ruo, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Creative Technologist Josh Kopeček from Echoes – a company that specialises in creating unique sound experiences through app technology. 

City of Floating Sounds asks you to open your senses to the city. What will you hear and who might you meet? 

On Friday 7 June there is a post-show talk at 8.30pm which is included with your ticket for that evening's performance. The panel brings together Composer Huang Ruo, Conductor Gemma New, ECHOES Founder Josh Kopeček, and Director of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra Adam Szabo. The talk is chaired by Factory International Creative Director Kee Hong Low with a Q&A afterwards.

Image: Wenjun Miakoda Liang

Choose your starting place

  • You can start your journey wherever works best for you, or join at one of our starting points where you can meet others
  • Nearer the time of the performance, you'll be sent instructions to download an app which will be available on Android and iOS
  • Cathedral Gardens

    At 1 mile, this is the shortest route and the most suitable for those who prefer to travel at a more leisurely pace.
  • Peel Park

    At 1.1 miles, this is a shorter route beginning in the beautiful green space behind Salford Museum.
  • Ordsall Park

    At 1.3 miles, this is the longest route and mixes the urban environment with a scenic canal walk.
  • Sackville Gardens

    At 1.2 miles, this route takes you through the city centre and past St Peter’s Square.
  • Choose Your Own Path

    Fancy a more adventurous journey or know this city like the back of your hand? Select this option to make your own way to Aviva Studios.


We have a range of affordable tickets, including options from £10 for those who may need them. You can find out more about our Affordable Ticketing Policy here.

For ticketing and box office related enquiries, please contact or call 0333 322 8679 (phone lines are open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm).

For more information please visit Ticketing and Sale of Goods Terms & Conditions – Factory International



Commissioned by Factory International, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, National Taichung Theater, Taiwan and West Kowloon Cultural District. Produced by Factory International and BBC Philharmonic.

Production Credits

Huang Ruo Composer

Gemma New Conductor

Josh Kopeček Creative Technologist

Adam Szabo Director, BBC Philharmonic

Lucy Carter Lighting Designer

Bethany Wells Visual Designer

Digby Shaw, Aaron Holloway-Nahum, Mike Cox for Southby Productions Sound Design

Hannah Carolan Stage Manager

Tom Baxter Orchestra Manager

Stefanie Farr Assistant Orchestra Manager

Tom Hilton Senior Stage Manager

Will Southerton Stage Manager

Tricia Coleman Senior Producer

Pete Vance Producer

Rebecca Burgess Production Administrator

Maya Chowdry Factory Fellow

Director of Production and Building Operations Paul Moore

John Gilleese Technical Manager

Phil Buckley Production Manager

Sorcha Steele Head of Sound

Alex Adamson Head of Scenic & Gallery Installations

David Wimpenny Head of Lighting & Video

Tom French Head of Rigging & Automation

Jay Smith Deputy Head of Sound

Dean Fenton Deputy Head of Stage

Dash Wong & Kevin Williams Deputy Head of Lighting

Matt Williams Deputy Head of Rigging and Automation

Rob Parkinson Sound No.1

El Theodorou Sound No. 2

Max Schule, Callum Stelfox, James Kenyon Sound Technicians

Akshay Khubchandani LX Programmer & Operator

Bella Casson, Simon Beech, Ellis Robison, Mark Ellidge, Ollie Troup, Paddy Roberts Stage Technicians

James Greenwood, Andrew Featherstone Lighting Technicians

Shkiesha Pryce, Joel Pendleton, Phil Thackray Rigging Technicians

International presentations

New York

23 – 24 July 2024

Lincoln Center


Huang Ruo smiling inside a recording studio with microphones behind him

Huang Ruo | In the Studio

An Introduction to Huang Ruo

Huang Ruo looking to the side, posing next to a large white lamp
Get to know the composer and conceptual artist here – from his early life on Hainan Island to his success on the global opera scene.

Access information

The first part of City of Floating Sounds takes the form of a walk through the city, which may include crowded sections and navigating traffic. There are four routes, including two shorter ones, or you can choose your own route:

City Of Floating Sounds: Cathedral Gardens 1 mile

City Of Floating Sounds: Peel Park 1.1 miles

City Of Floating Sounds: Sackville Gardens 1.2 miles

City Of Floating Sounds: Ordsall Park 1.3 miles. Please note that though the route is accessible, the section alongside the canal on the Ordsall Park route has moments of terrain that might be challenging for wheelchair users.

City Of Floating Sounds: Choose Your Own Path

You'll use an app on your own device to join in the experience and listen to different sections of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra playing Huang Ruo's symphony. At each meeting point, there will be greeters who can help you get started using the app if you need a hand.

The second part of the experience will be a full performance by BBC Philharmonic Orchestra which takes place at Aviva Studios. There will be wheelchair positions and seating options for those who need it in various locations around the space. At the moment, we don’t envisage that this show will have fast flashing lights or strobing.

Our full address is Aviva Studios, Water Street, Manchester M3 4JQ and the what3words is

To book access tickets and personal assistant tickets please call 0161 817 4531 (Monday-Saturday, 10am-6pm) or email

Access bookings can be made by email or phone. They are also available in person at Aviva Studios.

Once inside Aviva Studios, there is step-free access to all areas of the venue. The flooring throughout the building is smooth concrete.

The entrance to the Hall is by lift, escalator or stairs from one side of the Social beside the brick arches. There is only one escalator, and this will take you up to the Hall before the show, and will be reversed so that you can travel down at the end of the performance.

The Social has a range of seating, including those with arms and backs.

The bars in the Social and Hall Foyer have lowered accessible service points.

Our building is large. We have portable stools available to borrow if you would benefit from resting along the way during your visit.

We have wheelchair spaces and seats at standing events for all events.

There are accessible toilets on all public levels of our building.

Accessible toilets are located inside the main toilets space in the brick arches of the Social.

Here you’ll find a mixture of accessible cubicles with left- or right-hand transfer, towards the back of the space, as well as ambulant accessible cubicles with grab rails, as well as a Changing Places facility.

The toilets in the brick arches of the Social are split into male, female and gender neutral – all of which contain accessible cubicles. There are shared handwashing facilities in each arch – they have soap dispensers under the mirrors to your left and dryers to the right. There are separate handwashing facilities inside the accessible cubicles.

There are additional single-room accessible toilets located in both Hall Foyers, at stalls and circle level.

There are additional single-room accessible toilets located in the Warehouse Foyer.

You do not need a key to use the accessible toilets at Aviva Studios.

Assistance dogs are welcome in our building, and we can provide mats and water bowls on request, just ask a host when you arrive. We can also take care of your assistance dog if you do not want to take your dog into the performance space. Please also refer to our assistance dogs policy.

If you are bringing an assistance dog to a ticketed event, please let us know in advance by contacting or calling our access phone number: 0161 817 4531 (phone lines are open 10am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday).

Please note the performance element in the Hall at Aviva Studios contains smoke.

Got any questions?

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