Donnacha Dennehy’s opera The Last Hotel receives its premiere in Edinburgh

This week Crash Ensemble will give the premiere of The Last Hotel, a new opera by Donnacha Dennehy. The new work will receive multiple performances in Edinburgh (as part of the Edinburgh International Festival), London, Dublin (as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival) and New York over the coming months, and is due to tour further over the next two years.

The opera, produced with Wide Open Opera and theatre company Landmark Productions, is written to a libretto by Irish playwright Enda Walsh, with whom Dennehy worked on 2011’s Misterman. The Last Hotel is a dark work, and stars Robin Adams, Claudia Boyle, Katherine Manley and the actor Mikel Murfi, and conducted by André de Ridder.

The Last Hotel is supported by the Arts Council.

Karen Power’s electronic music in UK and US

Karen Power

Karen Power

An electronic work by Karen Power was featured this week at a festival at London’s Café OTO. Forever ricefields, a stereo tape piece created in 2014, was played as part of the Full of Noises Festival, a weekend-long festival of new music and soundart run by the Octopus Collective. Also on the programme at Café OTO were multichannel works by Brona Martin, Cathy Lane and Annie Mahtani.

Brona Martin wrote to me and asked if I had a suitable piece for a sound artists program she was curating, which would be diffused though an 8-channel speaker system. forever ricefields seemed like the perfect choice, as its delicacy is sometimes lost when listening to it on home speakers etc. It is my only pure field recording composition to date and as such the compositional elements are almost un-tracable and serve only to enhance the tiniest moments, which may otherwise go by unheard. – Karen Power

The same work is also feature on this week’s New Sounds programme on WNYC, presented by John Schaefer. This edition of the programme, which has often featured the work of Irish artists, focusses on electronic music. Forever ricefields can be found on Karen Power’s recently-released album, is it raining while you listen, on Farpoint Recordings.

Listen to the New Sounds programme:

CMC Library Update for May and June 2015


This update from the library features some of the works added to its collection during a two month period. In May and June, works from 16 different composers were added to the CMC online library catalogue. Selected works include:

David Coonan (1987-) Sarcasms
Commissioned by RTÉ for the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. No.1 ‘Romance’ was written for the London Symphony Orchestra, as part of the LSO Discovery Panufnik Composers Scheme.
Premiered by RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, conductor Gavin Maloney on 20 January 2015 at Horizons Series, National Concert Hall, Dublin.
No.1 ‘Romance’ was premiered by London Symphony Orchestra, conductor François-Xavier Roth on 11 April 2013, LSO St. Luke’s Centre, London, England.
This piece is dedicated to Martin Adams – for his constant guidance and friendship, for which I’ll always be immensely grateful.

Christy Doran (1949-) Mesmerized
To be premiered by Christy Doran’s NEW BAG on 6 November 2015 at Göttingen Jazzfestival, Germany.
Listen to this work on the composer’s Soundcloud page here

Eric Skytterholm Egan (1983-) Tubulent Priest
Premiered by BBS SSO Brass Quintet on 21 April 2015 at Sage Gateshead, England.
Listen to this work on the composer’s website here

Victor Lazzarini (1969-) Five Preludes for Four Hands
Premiered by Duo Sargasso on 30 June 2010 at The Warehouse, London.
Listen to this work on the composer’s Soundcloud page here
For the Duo Sargasso.

Ben McHugh (1989-) The Forest is All and Nothing
Premiered by Claire Duff (vn [baroque]) on 24 March 2015 at ICC The Strung Series, Irish Georgian Society, Dublin.
Listen to this work on the composer’s Soundcloud page here
The idea for this piece came from walking in the same forest in four different seasons, noticing the cycle of birth, growth, fall and decay on the forest floor and in its trees.

Karen Power (1977-) Inside the Arctic Ice
Premiered on 29 May 2015 at Noyes museum of Art, Stockton University, New Jersey, USA.
Listen to an extract from this work on the composers’ website here
Part of the exhibition Frozen Earth: Images from the Arctic Circle at Noyes Museum of Art, running from 29th May 2015 to 10th January 2016.

Donal Sarsfield (1980-) Blackout
Premiered on 22 April 2015 at Sonorities Festival, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Listen to this work on the composer’s Soundcloud page here
Composed for the ballet We/Part, with choreography by Paolo Mangiola.

Andrew Synnott (1970-) Plus One
Premiered by Finghin Collins (pf-solo), Mary Curran (hn), Ken Edge (cl), Sile Daly (ob) and Andrew Synnott (pf) on 29 October 2014 at Áras Inis Gluaire, Belmullet, Co. Mayo.

New works by Frank Corcoran performed in Italy this summer

Frank Corcoran, who divides his time between Hamburg and Italy, will introduce two concerts in Orvieto in Umbria and Bolsena featuring his work.

The performers are three of Frank’s friends from the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra – cellist Martin Johnson, violist Adele Johnson, and pianist Fergal Caulfield.

The programme will include piano trios from Schubert, Brahms, David Popper, and the first three movements from Frank Corcoran’s new work, 8 Irish Duets for Cello and Piano. Based on Irish slow airs, the composer describes them as being, “neither neo-romantic settings, nor neo-Bartok, nor neo-minimalist and yet neo-Corcoran.”

The concerts take place at the Teatro Mancinelli, Orvieto, on 31 July, and a similar programme in Bolsena’s Piccolo Teatro Cavour on 2 August.

In other news, a book on the composer entitled Festschrift Frank Corcoran and edited by Hans Dieter Gruenefeld will be launched this autumn in Dublin.

Maria Minguella talks about her work in CMC as part of its first summer residency for composers/performers

CMC’s summer residency involves a composer/performer using the Centre during working hours to compose and rehearse. The aim of the residency is to allow composers and performers the use of the space to carry.

Taking place from 13 to 17 July following an open call, the residency was awarded to Cork-based composer Maria Minguella. Maria is based in CMC during this week, and will use the time to explore the CMC’s collection of scores and recordings, as well as working with the Elwood Guitar Quartet to compose a piece for them.

The CMC Summer Residency is kindly supported by Temple-bar Cultural Trust and Dublin City Council.

CMC spoke to Maria today about her work and her plans for the week:

Eoghan Desmond wins 2015 Jerome Hunes Composers’ Competition

IMG_2030Eoghan Desmond has been announced as the winner of the 2015 Jerome Hynes Composition Competition. The Competition is run annually by the National Concert Hall, with past winners including Amanda Feery and Alex Dowling. The prize is in the form of a commission for mezzo-soprano and voice, working with the winner of the Bernadette Greevy Bursary winer.

I was delighted to be informed that I had won this year’s Jerome Hynes award, right on the tail of my Ó Riada win earlier this year. As a singer myself I was particularly excited by the prospect of writing for voice and piano and working with this year’s Bernadette Greevy winner, Gemma Ní Bhriain. 

For the competition, I chose to submit my ‘Meditations on Ave Maris Stella’ for piano trio, first performed in 2012 by ensemble Avalon, and also a piece written specifically for the application – a setting of the final section of Rimbaud’s Phrases for Mezzo-Soprano and piano. I chose these because they embody the more mystical, romantic side of my compositional mindset, which is the style in which I will be composing for Gemma, as opposed to the more snide, cycnical, neo-classical style that my O Riada winning piece represents.

Eoghan Desmond is a Dublin-based composer, conductor and bass-baritone. He holds a BA in music and an MPhil in composition, both from TCD, where he studied under Evangelia Rigaki, Matthew Barnson and Donnacha Dennehy. A choral musician since the age of 9, he composed his first mass at the age of 12, and has since had his choral music performed by leading Irish ensembles.

New Music Digest: 6 – 12 July

soundSCAPE Festival, Maccagno

soundSCAPE Festival, Maccagno

Events This Week:

The soundSCAPE Festival in Maccagno continues this week, featuring Irish Artist-in-Residence Jennifer Walshe, supported by the AIC, CMC and Culture Ireland

  • 3 – 16 July, Maccagno, Italy
  • More

The Fidelio Trio will play Martin O’Leary‘s Bluescape in a concert in St. Patrick’s College

  • 8 Jul, 8.30pm, St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Dublin
  • More

Raymond Deane‘s Samara is featured in the RTÉ NSO Beethoven concerto series

  • 10 Jul, 8pm, National Concert Hall, Dublin
  • More

A new work by Trevor Knight with singer Honor Heffernan called The Whistling Girl, based on extracts from the writings of Dorothy Parker, will be performed in Tallaght

  • 10 Jul, 8pm, Civic Theatre, Tallaght, Dublin
  • More


Kate Ellis performing Redshift by Barry Guy with soundSCAPE faculty cellist, Felix Fan, at her 2014 residency at the Festival

New Music Digest: 29 Jun – 5 Jul

Events This Week:

The West Cork Chamber Music Festival continues, with a host of international and Irish performers and composers

  • 26 Jun – 4 Jul, Bantry, Co. Cork
  • More

A new work of Acoustic Theatre, titled in Geheimen, by Ian Wilson will be premiered in Germany by the Elole Trio

  • 2 Jul, 7.30pm, Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden, Germany
  • More

Another concert in Germany this week features music by David Fennessy performed by the Munchener Kammerorchester

  • 2 Jul, 8pm, Prinzregenttheater, Munich, Germany

The RTÉ NSO Beethoven Concerto Series continues with a performance of Seóirse Bodley‘s A Small White Cloud Drifts Over Ireland

  • 3 Jul, 8pm, National Concert Hall, Dublin
  • More

Jennifer Walshe begins her residency with a concert at the soundSCAPE summer festival in Italy in association with CMC and the Association of Irish Composers

  • 3 Jul, 8pm, Maccagno, Italy
  • More

The Guitar Festival of Ireland 2015 begins this week, with a range of performers and styles, including the premiere of a new work by Roland Dyens by GuitaRIAM.

  • 3 – 6 July, venues in Dublin
  • More


Meditation on Ave Maris Stella, by Eoghan Desmond, recent winner of the NCH Jerome Hynes Young Composer Competition.

Irish works feature in the international line-up of the 2015 West Cork Chamber Music Festival

The 2015 West Cork Chamber Music Festival begins on Friday, with over a week of concerts, masterclasses and talks taking VBQ-homepage-111214place in Bantry. In its 20th year, the festival boasts a strong line-up of Irish and international acts, with a strong contemporary music presence and a number of world and Irish premieres. It also features the premiere of works by the four winning composers of the West Cork Chamber Music Composition Competition and the Young Composers’ Forum.

The festival opens with a concert in Bantry House (now sold out), with the Cremona Quartet playing Mozart, Barry Douglas playing Schubert, and the Vanbrugh Quartet performing a string quartet by Sean Doherty, commissioned by Vanbrugh as part of the Crossings project and premiered earlier this year.

“My String Quartet No. 3 ‘The Devil’s Dream’ was commissioned by the Vanbrugh Quartet as part of their Crossings project—a collaboration between artists from backgrounds of classical and Irish traditional music. I was introduced to music through the fiddle tradition of my native Donegal. The tradition is distinctive in Ireland: not like the languid lilt of the Clare style nor the light patter of the Galway style, the Donegal style looks outwards, across the sea, for its closest kin—to Scotland and to Nova Scotia. Aggressive, driving, and un-ornamented, the tunes are as stark as the bogland, the bowing as jagged as the cliffs. A leading of exponent of this tradition was my teacher, the fiddle player James Byrne and this string quartet is loosely based on two tunes that I learned from his playing: An Londubh and The Devil’s Dream. This quartet was written in his memory.” –Seán Doherty

Other premieres by Irish composers include Alina Ibragimova playing Ian Wilson’s Sonáin Béaloidis for solo violin (29 Jun, 8pm, St Brendan’s Church), while Tabakova’s Such Different Paths (30 Jun, 4pm, St. Brendan’s Church) and Fagerlund’s Transient Light (30 Jun, 8pm, Bantry House) are among the international works receiving Irish premieres.

The four winning composers of the 2015 Composition Competition for Young Composers are Robert Coleman, Peter Leavy, Finola Merivale and Amy Rooney. These four composers works were chosen from an annual call for submissions of works for string quartet, to be performed and workshopped throughout the festival. Coleman’s work Monster will receive its premiere by the Arioso Quartet; Leavy’s Kintsukuroi by the Lir Quartet; Merivale’s The Language of the Mountains is Rain by Sonora Quartet; and Rooney’s Viscosity for String Quartet by the Vuillaume Quartet. All concerts are afternoon events taking place at St. Brendan’s Hall, and see the young composers’ works paired with music by Beethoven, Debussy, Schubert, and Barber. The composers will also take part in the Young Composers’ Forum directed by Finnish composer Sebastian Fagerlund on 27 June.

For more information and full programme, see

New Music Digest: 22 – 29 June

10514469_1120981414583670_3427189605910252695_nEvents This Week:

The Quiet Music Ensemble present an evening of music throughout all the rooms and spaces of Freemasons’ Hall on Molesworth St, including music by Pauline Oliveros, Jennifer Walshe and John Godfrey.

  • 25 Jun, 6.30pm, Freemasons’ Hall, Molesworth St., Dublin
  • More

The RTÉ ConTempo Quartet with William Dowdall perform Donnacha Dennehy‘s pushpulling as part of their ‘Father & Sons’ concert series

  • 26 Jun, 1pm, The Granary Library, Limerick
  • 28 Jun, 1pm, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Dublin
  • More

Derek Ball‘s crowdfunded song cycle The Way We Are receives its premiere, performed by David Bremner and Elizabeth Hilliard

  • 26 Jun, 6.30pm, Royal Irish Academy of Music, Westland Row, Dublin
  • More

The West Cork Chamber Music Festival opens on Friday with a concert featuring a new string quartet by Sean Doherty performed by the Vanbrugh Quartet

  • 26 Jun, 8pm, Bantry House, Bantry, Cork
  • More

The RTÉ NSO‘s Beethoven summer series continues with a performance of David Fennessy‘s Prologue (Silver are the Tears of the Moon)

  • 26 Jun, 8pm, National Concert Hall, Dublin
  • More

A symposium and concert titled Breaking the Sound Barrier: New Paths in Extended Techniques takes place in Middlesex University, with presentations and performances from composer Benjamin Dwyer and composer/performer Nick Roth

  • 23 Jun, 9am – 8.30pm, Middlesex University School of Media and Performing Arts, London

Breifne Holohan launches his debut album of works for electric guitar and electroacoustic music, Eastern Passageswith a concert in Drogheda

  • 26 Jun, 8pm, Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda
  • More


Quiet Music Ensemble perform Jennifer Walshe’s Dordán at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Centre


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