A new work by George Higgs will be premiered in Wicklow on 16 May

George Higgs at one of the recent workshops for his piece, 'Up the Downbeat'

George Higgs at one of the recent workshops for his piece, ‘Up the Downbeat’

The 12-minute work, Up the Downbeat, is a commission from Wicklow County Council on behalf of Music Generation Wicklow for large ensemble including strings, woodwind, brass, and percussion.

The musicians for the piece include 14 young people from the VAULT Arklow Youth Centre, and 15 members of the St Mary’s College orchestra, Arklow, under the direction of Christine Steele.

The performance takes place in St Mary’s College on 16 May 2014 as part of the ‘Arklow Youth Music Project’ – a showcase of the diverse musical talents of young people in Arklow hosted by the VAULT.

Writing about the commission process Higgs says, ‘Being a composer is essentially a cryptic act of communication between yourself and your musicians; the score is a coded message to them. If you want to have any satisfaction as a composer, you must learn to make your message as clear as possible. In order to do that, you have to adapt your language to individual performers, and respect their various strengths and needs. Working in a setting like Arklow is extremely refreshing, as you can’t fall back on all your assumptions about performers. It’s been extremely rewarding getting to know the performers in this intimate, musical way….’

George Higgs is a composer whose work includes opera, symphony, compositions for small ensemble, music for experimental theatre, work for installation and a number of HIGGSTRUMENTS which he has designed for the performance of certain compositions. His music has been performed across Ireland, in Russia and the United States and he has received numerous awards and honors including a grant from the Wellcome Trust, the Director’s Prize from the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, numerous Arts Council awards and a MacDowell Fellowship.

Up the Downbeat is one of four new music works commissioned by Wicklow County Council and produced by the Contemporary Music Centre under the per cent for art scheme on behalf of Music Generation Wicklow. These commissions will involve some 300 children and young people between the ages of 6 and 16 across County Wicklow.

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