MONA’s true colours shine through in a festival exploring this strange musical phenomenon.

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have synaesthesia – the involuntarily association of musical pitch or tonality with colour, and vice versa. Sure, perfect pitch is a neat party trick, but could “seeing” sounds in technicolour enrich the experience of music? Would a “loud tie” actually beloud? What happens if Elvis’ voice in Blue Suede Shoesmakes you see red?

Opera Australia artistic director Lyndon Terracini has co-curated a festival at Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art that attempts to give a flavour of these mingled sensations to the general public. MONA’s Synaesthesiaweekend, he says, will be a “pretty out there festival.”

With musicians as diverse as Messiaen and Scriabin, Duke Ellington and Billy Joel affected by the condition, Terracini has devised a “program with many different entry points.” Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amenand Quartet for the End of Timeare the full expression of his immersion in colour, while other works on the program interact with visual and lighting stimuli throughout the MONA gallery. In addition to classical music played by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra...

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