Meet Isabella Loong: Music and Education student with a passion for Electronic Music

26 Jul 2018

Isabella Loong is pushing the boundaries as a female producer, sonic composer and artist.

Isabella Loong Bachelor of Music and Education student

The 21-year-old UNSW Music student is an emerging sonic artist, composer and producer.

With a Classical music background in Violin, Isabella experiments with innovative digital sound production techniques and music technologies.

For example, her composition Experiment (2017) explores the ethereal nature of sounds by experimenting with field recordings and digital sound manipulation.

The composition received a Highly Commended award in the international exhibition Celebrating Women in Sound which was held at Goldsmiths, University of London on International Women’s Day in March 2018.

When composing, Isabella “initially listened for specific sounds in her domestic setting – such as the electrical humming from lights and appliances, and a dripping tap – and then captured and magnified elements of the soundscape via a contact microphone and Zoom recorder”.

The event was hosted by the international network Women in Sound Women on Sound, which is dedicated to creating opportunities to showcase the impact of women in the field of music and Sonic Arts.

A recent study by Triple J’s Hack program found solo-female artists or all-female acts are severely underrepresented on Australian radio, making up 28 percent of the most-played songs on radio.

Isabella Loong

“There is a prevalent lack of representation, recognition and credit for the achievements of female musicians, producers, composers, and artists,” Isabella says.

“However, this has positively resulted in women collectively creating their own platforms and organisations, including Women In Music, Music Love, Women in Electronic Music at Music NSW and FBi Radio, and Women in Sound Women on Sound at Goldsmiths, University of London.

“I am very passionate about gender equality, and women being acknowledged, heard and being behind the music production process, label, distribution, and creativity of music.”

This year was the third time Isabella appeared on The Voice Australia, playing violin backing for performances by the coaches and artists, alongside celebrities Kelly Rowland, Boy George, Delta Goodrem and Joe Jonas.

The electronic musician will complete her Bachelor of Music, majoring in Sonic Arts and Bachelor of Education in 2019.

The student’s project North-West (2017) is an example of “an audio-visual sonic experience of driving from the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Anzac Bridge at dusk”.

“A single moving 360-degree shot is accompanied by a composition of ambisonic sounds to create a multi-sensory journey, travelling between two bridges,” she says.

The student has just returned from New York City, where she took part in New York University's Summer Music Technology Intensive Program at the Steinhardt Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions.

The two-week program provided hands-on training focusing on a combination of sound recording and production.

Isabella said she was excited to refine her skills and work with innovative technologies and equipment.

“After I complete my studies, I look forward to continuing my academic research in Sonic Arts, and producing and composing music.”

“I am very grateful for the training and experience I received from UNSW Sonic Arts department and the Technical Resource Centre.”

Isabella is starting her Honours in Music at UNSW this semester.

Follow Isabella’s music on sydneyandstreet.