In 1990, as part of an “open house” day at the Université de Montréal faculty of music, Michel Gonneville worked with four other composers (Pierre Desrochers, André Hamel, Alain Lalonde and Alain Dauphinais) in creating the Sonoguide event. Part of the performance consisted of the audience walking through a guided tour of the building at 200 Vincent d’Indy Street, given form and voice by the five composers. Following on their successful Sonoguide experience, they were keen to explore the emplacement of instrumental music, calling into question the form and presentation of the traditional concert. In 1992 three of the composers (Alain Lalonde, André Hamel and Alain Dauphinais) decided to establish Espaces sonores illimités (ESI).
The first presentation by Espaces sonores illimités took place in 1984, marking the official opening of the 11th edition of the International Festival of Contemporary Music in Victoriaville, Quebec (FIMAV). In 1996 their piece Cadavre presqu’exquis was performed by 26 musicians of the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal.
As part of the Pointe-à-Callière 1998 harbour symphonies, ESI produced the Airs libres event and for the occasion commissioned works by composers Marie Pelletier and Diane Labrosse. In 2000, Espaces sonores illimités collaborated with a team of 19 composers brought together by the SMCQ to create a millennium symphony.