Sofia Borges is a percussionist, composer and improviser who has gained prominence through a wide range of international projects. As a solo performer, and in collaboration with the most diverse international artists in the fields of contemporary music, improvised music, free jazz and world music, she has performed in a variety of international festivals, including the Hamburger Klangwerktage, WOMAD — World of Music, Arts and Dance (Spain, Australia, the UK and New Zealand), Percpan — Panorama Percussivo Mundial (Brazil), Women Voices (Taiwan), ZKM next_generation (Karlsruhe), Cork Choral Festival (Ireland) and many others in Switzerland, Estonia, France, Portugal, Macau and Poland. For her compositions and performances, she brings together traditional and custom-made instruments and electronics configurations.
Borges has been playing percussion since she was a teenager, receiving her early training on drums, percussion, jazz, chamber and orchestral music at the Escola de Música dos Conservatório Nacional (Portugal) and the Hot Club of Portugal. Subsequently, she broadened her studies to include composition, computer music and multimedia at the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa (Portugal) and the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg (Germany). She has studied with composers Luís Tinoco, João Madureira, Sergio Azevedo, Georg Hajdu and Peter Michael Hamel, among others, and has participated in composition workshops with James Wood, Leo Samama, Marco Stroppa, Edith Canat de Chizy and Michael van der Aa.
Sofia Borges’ compositions cover a wide spectrum ranging from chamber and orchestral works to vocal music. She was commissioned by Antena 2 / RTP to compose D’Ouro Sobre Azul as the obligatory solo marimba work for the 2010 Prémio Jovens Músicos competition. She was a finalist in the Tenso Young Composers Award in 2015 (Marseille, France) and again in 2017 (Nova Gorica, Slovenia). Subsequently, Borges was commissioned to compose Color Charts for the City (for female voices and electronics) for the Tenso Professionals Meeting (Berlin, 2018). She has also worked as a composer and sound designer on various theatre and dance productions at Kampnagel (Hamburg) and Ballhaus Naunynstrasse (Berlin), as well as on several children’s theatre productions (Portugal).
As an improviser, Borges is active in the Berlin scene and has toured throughout Europe for solo performances and collaborations with the most prominent musicians in the field, receiving critical praise for her performances. She performs using a distinguished sound palette that constantly evolves but includes a selection of percussion instruments complemented by a wide variety of everyday objects, tools, hardware, music boxes and toys, with which she engulfs the audience in the most diverse and unexpected sonic landscapes.
She has been a member of Red List Ensemble since its founding in 2019, and the free jazz improvisation quintet SORBD, and also works with a range of musicians and improvisers including Robyn Schulkowsky, Ignaz Schick, Emilio Gordoa, Mia Dyberg, Ryeko Okuda, Mathias Müller, Michael Thieke, Klaus Janek, Nick Dunston, Caroline Tallone, Jack Adler-McKean, Anna Kaluza, Cansu Tanrikulu, Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø, Richard Scott, James Banner, Declan Forde, Jasper Stadhauders, Maria do Mar and Abdul Moimême. In 2020/21 she collaborated with the dance company Damaged Goods / Meg Stuart.
In addition to her compositional and performance activities, Sofia Borges is also an enthusiastic educator, committed to engaging the youngest generations in contemporary music and æsthetics, extended techniques, improvisation and sound art. In her composition workshops she initiates children and youths in new music and sound exploration with a focus on the relation between composition, sound, graphic notation, physicality and visuals, using traditional means as well as animated scores. Further, she collaborates with such renowned institutions as the Klangradar network, an experimental sound research and sound design programme across Germany, to produce artistic-oriented pedagogical content. For its 100th anniversary, the Bauhaus Foundation in Dessau commissioned a stage work from Borges that was intended for young performers and audience alike.