Jennifer Walshe collaborates on opera in Toronto on 4 October

Composer Jennifer Walshe collaborates with Tony Conrad and Francesco Gagliardi in Toronto on a ‘street spectacle shadow opera’ called The Signing.

The event takes place in Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto on 4 October and is a large multimedia event that not only includes experimental film, video, sound, installation and performance art, but will also utilise social media as part of the work. Centred on the myth of Orpheus and Euridice, the narrative focusses on the tension of the singing of a contract, while the two characters will also communicate via Twitter, with each other and with the public.

In addition to the involvement of Walshe and Conrad, videos from a ‘Digital Chorus’ comprised of artists from across the world will be featured in the work, as well as available on a Tumblr page,

The event is part of Toronto’s festival of creativity, Nuit Blanche, which takes place from 5–13 October, featuring over a hundred events, both commissioned by the City of Toronto and independent projects.

Following this project, Jennifer Walshe will travel to the Donaueschingen Music Days 2014 for a premiere of a new work on 18 October commissioned by the festival.

Listen to an interview with Jennifer Walshe about The Signing and her new work for Donaueschingen Music Days

Muzika Trio perform Martin O’Leary’s works in Maynooth and Dublin during October

542184dcbb5c9.imageBased in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Muzika Trio have performed Martin O’Leary’s Bluescape in the US in 2011. As a result of these performances, the composer wrote a new work for them, Avanti, which was premiered in the US by the ensemble in 2013.

The two works will be performed for the first time together in Ireland as a complete work, entitled Diptych. The composer writes about the background:

‘Avanti was written between September and November of 2012, and was intended as a complimentary piece, and also a contrast with Bluescape. The latter is a slow piece (with a fast introduction) and the former work is for the main part quickly paced, although it does have slower music as well. The idea was that both pieces could be played together or separately. In fact, both pieces share some of the same basic material, and also conclude with the same notes – I’m not sure if this just happened or if it was a conscious decision – probably a mixture of both! Hearing both works performed together in Kenosha led me to cement the union of the two pieces and I decided to title the overall work Diptych. The idea of a work which contains a number of pieces (or movements) which can be performed separately is one I have used before – in my Missa Sacra (1989–93) for voices and organ, Sonata Schumanniana for piano (1994–2000) and also 6 Preludes for guitar (2006–7).’

The performances take place at NUI Maynooth on 9 October at 1.10pm and the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin on 10 October at 1.30pm.

See also: Martin O’Leary’s report from attending the premiere of Avanti by the trio last year.

New Music Digest: 29 September – 5 October


Events This Week

Concorde Ensemble present an Up Close With Music concert as part of the Sundays@Noon series, featuring works that the ensemble have commissioned over the past few years.

  • 5 Oct, 12pm, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Dublin
  • More

The Chatham Saxophone Quartet continue their tour including performances of two works by Ian Wilson

  • 30 Sep, 8.30pm, All Saints Church, Limerick
  • More

Music for Galway present a concert called Eight Cello Extravaganza, including a work by Jane O’LearyDistant Voices

Balleto di Roma perform a new collaborative ballet work by Donal Sarsfield called We/Part in Milan

British pianist Andrew Zolinsky will premiere a new work by Karen Power at a fuaim concert in Cork

  • 3 Oct, 1pm, Aula Maxima, University College Cork

Guitarist Christoph Jäggin will perform a piece titled Doucement by Matthew Rowan at the Swiss Festival de la Guitare

A gamelan day in London will feature a premiere of Sailendra by Peter Moran, performed by the Southbank London Gamelan Orchestra


A recording of Fergal Dowling‘s Three Reconstructions from Dublin Sound Lab’s recent ‘Responses’ event

Meet The Composer: Paul McGuire

We profile some of the composers who have been accepted for CMC representation over the last year

Paul McGuire is currently studying for a PhD in Composition at Brunel University, London with Jennifer Walshe and Christopher Fox, funded by the 2012 Elizabeth Maconchy Composition Fellowship Award. In February 2013, he won the Pablo Wendel – Performance Electrics International Composition Competition for his piece Marshes (2013), written for mass guitar ensemble.

His work Marshes (2013) for guitar ensemble was premiered by Open Source Guitars with conductor Helmut Oesterreich at the Municipal Gallery of Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany on 21 April 2013.

Listen to this and other works on Paul McGuire’s SoundCloud page

Chamber ‘preview’ of Frank Corcoran’s Cello Concerto

This October the Teatro Piccolo Cavour in Bolsena Italy will host a concert by cellist Martin Johnson and pianist Fergal Caulfield, performing a programme that includes two works by Frank Corcoran.

The first, titled Im Aonar Seal, was written especially for the duo for this concert, while the second is a chamber version of a new large-scale Cello Concerto by the composer, the full version of which will be premiered by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in March 2015. Martin Johnson, who has performed Corcoran’s works in the past, will also be the soloist of the full premiere, under the baton of Kenneth Montgomery.

The composer on his Cello Concerto:

‘Without the success of my Violin Concerto ( 2012 RTÉ NSO , Alan Smale Soloist, Conductor Christopher Warren Green) I couldn’t and wouldn’t have started work on the four mighty movements of the Cello Concerto. The Concerto sways bouyantly  between its great forebears, Dvorak’s 1890 Cello Concerto and Lutoslawsky’s powerful work for the soloist Rostrapovitch of the early seventies. I, too, use a huge symphony orchestra . My opening movement uses a motto theme on the trumpets which appears a number of times, using the 7 notes of my Corcoran Scale ( G, A flat, C sharp, D, E flat, F sharp, and A) which has supplied the building-material for most of my recent works (incl. the Violin Concerto). My Slow Movement uses my chromatic version of Dvorak s hymn in his Slow Movement. My Scherzo is the most violent music I have ever composed. Its massed percussion and brass are bent on annihilating the solo cello. But it wins. My final fourth movement gives a tranquil resolution to everything already heard in the three previous movements, a summing up, the solo instrument’s triumph.

  • 12 Oct, 6pm, Piccolo Teatro Cavour, Balseno, Italy

Sean Doherty selected for ‘Adopt a Composer’ programme

Derry-based composer Seán Doherty has been selected as one of just six composers to be paired with a mentor and music groups as part of the PRS Foundation for Music’s Adopt a Composer programme.

The scheme is now in its 14th year, and is run by Making Music in association with Sound and Music. It aims to pair young composers with amateur music groups across the UK for one year. During the year the composer will work with the ensemble in writing a new work, while the group is given an opportunity to explore the commissioning and composition process. Each pair are also assigned a mentor for the year’s activities.

Doherty has been paired for this year with Kensington Symphony Orchestra, a highly-regarded non-professional orchestra established over fifty years ago in London. The ensemble has premiered works by many esteemed composers in their history such as Arnold Bax, and has commissioned works from composers such as Judith Weir and Peter Maxwell Davies. The mentor for the project will be the British composer Frasier Trainer.

For more information on the Making Music programme, see

Ed Bennett awarded new Beyond Borders commission

Ed Bennett has been awarded a new commission from the PRS for Music’s Beyond Border’s programme, a cross-borders initiative in collaboration with Arts Councils in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

Led by INTER/actions (North Wales), the project commissions a large-scale immersive work by the acclaimed Northern Irish composer Ed Bennett for piano, toy piano, portable harmonium, sampler and electronics (one performer) in partnership with Frontiers+ Festival (Birmingham, England) and Cork Orchestral Society (Ireland).

The work will be played by a single performer, pianist Xenia Pestova, who will perform on multiple keyboards and triggered samples. The work uses Irish folk music as a point of departure for exploring themes of migration, identity and belonging through expressive timbral and rhythmic transformation.

‘Transplanting Irish folk music into the world of electronic processing will create a unique and haunting sound world that bridges seemingly disparate traditions in an uncompromising and personal way, questioning and extending genre boundaries and creating new identities. The additional “double transplant” of the concert piano, an instrument with its own rich tradition and repertoire, into an unusual context of alternative keyboard interfaces and samples will build a beguiling environment with choreographed elements.This unique collaboration will bridge geographic, cultural and musical borders to bring a fascinating new work for multiple keyboards and electronics to new audiences.’   – INTER/actions (North Wales)

Ed Bennett is from Bangor in Northern Ireland, currently lives in the UK, and has over recent years also worked in Paris and Berlin. He has also just been awarded a Civitella Ranieri residency to spend six weeks in Italy, where he will work on this piece (among others).

Listen to Bennett’s 2013 Orchestral work, Freefalling, performed by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra:

RTÉ ConTempo string quartet present a new concert series in Dublin

The RTÉ ConTempo string quartet launch a new concert series this Sunday, which will see them bring their Father and Sons concept from Galway to Dublin.

ConTempo, as well as being recently appointed the RTÉ String Quartet in residence, have been The Galway Music Residency’s ensemble-in-residence for the past eleven years. As part of their regular afternoon concerts at the Galway City Library, the quartet have been exploring the legacy of the great Classical master of the string quartet, Haydn, and his Irish ‘disciples’. ConTempo are now launching a new facet of the Father and Sons concerts: a regular appearance as part of the Hugh Lane Gallery’s Sundays@Noon events.

Taking place on the last Sunday of every month, the quartet will perform one Haydn string quartet, alongside at least one more by a 21st century Irish composer, who will also speak about their work. For each concert, they will be joined by an additional special guest musician, such as Zoe Conway (fiddle), Finghin Collins (pf), Cliona Doris (hrp) and William Dowdall (fl). The result is a wide-ranging showcase of Irish chamber music, and an examination of how contemporary Irish music fits into the historical classical canon.

The series is in association with the Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Dublin City Council, RTÉ and CMC.

Next month the ConTempo quartet will also perform a concert of music by emerging Irish composers at the Irish Composers’ Collective’s tenth anniversary celebrations.

September 28th

Joseph Haydn – Rider string quartet

Elaine Agnew – Ready, Steady…Go

Bill Whelan – Irish Suite for fiddle & string quartet

Guest Artist: Zoë Conway on fiddle

November 30th

Joseph Haydn – Birds string quartet

Poetry readings from Mountain Ash in Connemara album by Joan McBreen

Glen Austin – Irish Airs arranged for string quartet 

Guest artist: Joan McBreen, poet

January 25th

Joseph Haydn – Lark String Quartet

Jane O’Leary – Mystic play of shadows

Antonin Dvorak – Piano Quintet

Guest artist: Finghin Collins, piano

February 22nd

Joseph Haydn – Razor string quartet

Alec Roth – Klee Pictures

Robert Schumann – Piano Quintet

Guest artist: Hugh Tinney, piano

March 29th

Joseph Haydn – Opus 76 no 1, from Erdódy quartets

Ian Wilson – Her charms invited

Boccherini – Cello Quintet in C Major 

Guest artist: Christopher Marwood – cello

April 26th

Joseph Haydn – Compliments string quartet

Deirdre McKay – Mr. Shah stares to heavens

Menotti, Gian Carlo – Cantilena & Scherzo for harp and string quartet

Guest artist: Cliona Doris, harp

May 31st

Joseph Haydn – Emperor string quartet

John McLaghlan – Where we are/Planets

Handel & Corolan quintets for voice & string quartet / (TBC)

Guest artist: Deirdre Moynihan – soprano

June 28th

Joseph Haydn – Quinten/Fifths quartet

Donnacha Dennehy – Push-pulling

Mozart & Haydn – Flute quartets

Guest artist: William Dowdall, flute

Concorde announce next Up Close With Music concert

The Up Close With Music events, presented by the Concorde ensemble, are intimate concerts of works by Irish and international composers, giving the audience opportunities to engage with contemporary music, and to get to know both the composers and music.

The next concert, on 5 October, is a special event at the Hugh Lane Gallery, featuring five works that were commissioned by Concorde throughout the year’s series: works from Enda Bates, Ailís Ní Ríain, Ryan Molloy, Jane O’Leary and Rhona Clarke. These works have already been performed during the year at the RHA Gallery, and represent a wide variety of very personal and very different works. From Enda Bates’ duo conversation in The Dance of Your Breath, to Ryan Molloy’s traditional music-inspired Seisiúin, and two works incorporating visuals in works by Ailis Ní Riain and Rhona Clarke.

The concert features the players of Concorde – Jane O’Leary (cnd), Madeleine Staunton (fl), Paul Roe (cl), Elaine Clarke (vn), Martin Johnson (vc) and Dermot Dunne (acc) – joined by special guests the RTÉ and Galway Music Residency ensemble-in-residence ConTempo Quartet. It is part of the Sundays@Noon series at the Hugh Lane Gallery, Parnell Square, Dublin and admission is free.

  • 5 Oct, 12pm, Hugh Lane Gallery, Parnell Square, Dublin 2
  • More

New Music Digest: 22 – 28 September

Panel from The Ros Tapestry

Panel from The Ros Tapestry

Events This Week

The New Ross Piano Festival takes place this week, with concerts featuring a commissioned series of five new works written in response to the Ros Tapestry.

  • 25 – 28 Sep, New Ross
  • More

The Association of Irish Canon has two Irish Canon Series concerts taking place this week: Cora Venus Lunny (vln) in Dundalk, and Paul Roe (cl) in Dublin

  • Cora Venus Lunny: 25 Sep, 1pm, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Dundalk
  • Paul Roe: 26 Sep, 8.30pm, Kevin Barry Room, National Concert Hall, Dublin
  • More

The Kinsale Arts Festival takes place this week; its new music performances include the Chatham Saxophone Quartet playing music by Ian Wilson

  • 19 – 28 Sep, Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • More

The Chatham Saxophone Quartet will also play two works by Wilson in another concert in Dundrum

  • 25 Sep, 8pm, The Mill Theatre, Dundrum, Dublin
  • More

The Ulster Orchestra will also play music by Ian Wilson this week, his work Sullen Earth, with soloist Ioana Petcu-Colan and conductor David Brophy.

  • 23 Sep, 7.45, Ulster Hall, Belfast, Co. Antrim
  • More

Karen Power has a collaborative art and soundwork installed at the Korea International Art Fair

  • 25 – 29 Sep, Korea International Art Fair, Seoul
  • More

The BBC Singers, with soloists and the BBC Concert Orchestra, will premiere Kevin Volans The Mountain That Left as part of the 90th anniversary celebrations

  • 24 Sep, 7.30pm, The Barbican, London, UK
  • More

Evangelia Rigaki‘s new series of mini-operas, The Pregnant Box, will receive its premiere in Trinity College Dublin, with the Mornington Singers directed by Orla O’Flannagan, Lore Lixenberg and Joe O’Farrell.

  • 26 Sep, 6pm, Front Courtyard, Trinity College Dublin, College Green, Dublin
  • More

Mary Dullea and Darragh Morgan will perform Linda Buckley‘s exploding stars and Donnacha Dennehy‘s Overstrung at the Engage Arts Festival in Bandon

  • 28 Sep, 8.30pm, St. Peter’s Church, Bandon, Co. Cork
  • More

The Waterford Concert Orchestra performs Shaun Davey‘s Granuaile at a concert titled Pictures of Ireland in Sound, alongside the premiere of a work by Waterford composer Greg Scanlon

  • 27 Sep, 8pm, Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford

The Vikings Band will play Eoin O’Keefe’s Process as part of a marching band competition in the Netherlands

  • 27 Sep, 11am, Parkstad Limburg Stadium, Kerkrade, Netherlands
  • More


Last friday night was Culture Night. Read our Storify page on new music activities across the country

NMC Recordings release Gerald Barry‘s The Importance of Being Earnest

A new CD of John Kinsella‘s 5th and 10th Symphonies has been released


John Kinsella talks about his new CD release

Meet The Composer: Jenn Kirby

Photo by Daryl Feehely

We profile some of the composers who have been accepted for CMC representation over the last year.

Jenn Kirby is based in Dublin. She composes both acoustic and electronic contemporary works. Her work explores elements of theatricality, humour and the manipulation of the perception of time in composition. Her work has been performed in Ireland, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, Canada and the United States.

Her work Dopamine (2013) for three guitars, violin and accordion  was premiered by Allan J. Yzereef (gui), Keenan Comartin (gui), Arden Armbruster (gui), Ilana Waniuk (vn) and Olivia Steimel (acc) at the SoundSCAPE Festival, Maccagno, Italy on 5 July 2013.

Listen to this and other works on her SoundCloud page here:

NMC Recordings release a recording of Gerald Barry’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’

NMC D197 BarryThe recording of Gerald Barry’s successful opera is released by the UK-based new music label as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations this month.

The opera, which is based on the famous play by Oscar Wilde, is performed by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and soloists with conductor Thomas Adès. The recording is available to purchase direct from NMC Recordings’ web site as a CD or download.

To mark the release, Gerald Barry will participate in a live Twitter Q&A on 26 September. The questions may be submitted in advance or on the day using the Twitter hashtag #askgeraldbarry. The writers of the composer’s favourite questions will win a signed CD of the release.

Commissioned by the LA Philharmonic and the Barbican, and premiered in 2011 in Los Angeles by the LA Philharmonic, The Importance of Being Earnestwas described as “hysterically funny” by the LA Times and praised for its “sheer uninhibited exuberance” by the Guardian. It was performed in Birmingham and London in 2012 and London and received its Irish premiere to much acclaim last year.


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