Sebastian Adams on the Irish Composers Collective Ten-year Anniversary Festival

Composer and ICC Chairman Sebastian Adams on the collective’s upcoming 10th Anniversary Festival, which takes place at the Project Arts Centre from 19-20 November 2014


Sebastian Adams, photo Daryl Feehely

A question I am asked with annoying regularity is ‘So what IS the Irish Composers Collective, anyway?’ I usually groan with exasperation at this point but really the question is not as easily answered as you might assume.

On the surface, the ICC exists to organise concerts of new music by emerging Irish composers. This is the most concise answer and gives the gist of our general activities, but it sort of misses the point.

As well as providing composers in Ireland with opportunities to have their works performed by world-class musicians, the ICC provides a focal point for composers. Our members come to our concerts and hear the music of their direct peers in great abundance, providing vital food for our composer-brains; we hold workshops to learn from the performers we book; we meet every month and share ideas, crow over one another’s triumphs and laugh at our many disasters. We are creating our own sustainable support system, building a platform for our musical lives without relying on external factors and the generosity of others, shaping the Irish new music scene around its composers – and we have been doing so for an entire decade.

ICC10 will provide a more concentrated whiff of what the collective is – eight very varied concerts wedged into two days will include appearances from well over half our current members, so the festival should bring the less tangible aspects of the organisation to the fore as we celebrate and explore the past, present and future of this wonderful, unique and important movement we are privileged to be members of.

As well as a celebration of the legacy left behind by the last decade of Irish Composers Collective activities and a summing up of where the collective is in 2014, we are hoping ICC10 will act as a springboard, catapulting the ICC into its second decade in stronger shape than ever before. What we want from the festival, even more than the eight brilliant concerts we are certain to get, is to transform our often insular activities into a coming together of the entire Irish new music community (in the broadest possible sense). We desperately want to fill every seat in the Project Arts Centre not just so we can cover all our expenses, but because the emerging composers in this country deserve to be integrated into every aspect of Ireland’s variegated musical life – and because our music deserves to be heard.

Every side of the many-faced ICC will be on show during the festival and we are certain that anyone attending will find it difficult to stay away from our concerts in the future. So I hope to see you in your droves in the Project Arts Centre on November 19th and 20th – and keep your eyes peeled for the announcement of our exclusive festival launch on November 18th.

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