The Contemporary Music Centre announces four commissions by four Irish composers for Music Generation Wicklow

The four commissions are being managed and produced by the Contemporary Music Centre under partnership with Wicklow County Arts Office and Music Generation Wicklow and will involve some 300 children and young people aged between six and sixteen.

Elaine Agnew, George Higgs, Vincent Kennedy and Neil Martin are the commissioned composers. Each composer will work with different music groups and schools based around the entire county of Wicklow. They will provide valuable musical experiences for the children and young people through a series of workshops and by participation in the composition process.

George Higgs’ new work Up the Downbeat involves 15 young people from The Vaults, Arklow, and members of The St Mary’s School Orchestra, Arklow, under the direction of Christine Steele. Up the Downbeat is a 12 minute composition for large ensemble including strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion. The premiere performance will take place on 16 May 2014 in St Mary’s School, Arklow as part of a concert hosted by The Vaults, Arklow.

Children in the Music Generation Wicklow Foundation years programme at primary school level are the focus of Elaine Agnew’s commission. Elaine has conducted workshops in three schools located in Greystones, Newtownmountkennedy and Roundwood. Elaine’s new work entitled Mostly Me will be premiered on 8 June at the Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray. Elaine’s commission process will also produce a workbook with 8 lesson plans for future use across the Foundation programme of Music Generation Wicklow.

The Russborough Suite by Belfast-born composer Neil Martin, is a commission for a traditional piece of music arranged for two traditional groups: Club Ceoil in Blessington and Music Under the Mountains in Hollywood. The two traditional music groups have been coming together for workshops with Neil since January 2014. The premiere of the work will take place in a concert at Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Course, Blessington on 6 July 2014.

Vincent Kennedy’s commission will begin after Easter 2014. It will be a 30-minute work for children playing recorder, ukulele, and violin and will involve three professional percussionists alongside Music Generation Wicklow tutors. This commission will involve Vincent visiting schools in Bray, Lacken, Glendalough and Greystones. The new work will have two performances on 30 November at the Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray.

Music Generation Wicklow is a partnership between Music Generation Ireland, Kildare & Wicklow Education Training Board and Wicklow County Council. It is managed and administered by partner Kildare & Wicklow Education Training Board and its Steering Committee, Wicklow Music Education Partnership. Music Generation Wicklow is also supported by Wicklow Town Councils.

It is the intention of the Commissions Strand of Music Generation Wicklow to animate young people’s experience of music participation and performance. This is as a counterpoint to the excellent music education experience being provided throughout the other Music Generation Wicklow strands. The Commissions Strand will be delivered across the Music Generation Wicklow Programmes with the same integral focus on quality of both the music practice and participation experience for young people.

The Contemporary Music Centre was appointed to manage and produce this commissioning strand on successful completion of a commission tender in August 2013.

For further information on the above commissions, please contact Karen Hennessy, Commissions Manager, T: 01 6731922; E:

For further information on Music Generation Wicklow, please contact Ann Catherine Nolan, Manager, Music Generation Wicklow, T: 0404 60505; Mobile: 086 7909887; E:

Elaine AgnewGeorge Higgs
Vincent KennedyNeil Martin

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