…and So On and So Forth…


I’ve been keeping busy. If you are interested in anything that I do, below you will find some highlights of the past few months. I also just posted a newish piece to soundcloud here.

Walk from Birmingham to London for de Ereprijs

In July, myself and Joe Cutler walked from Birmingham to London along the Grand Union Canal to raise money for Dutch Ensemble Orkest de Ereprijs and in particular their Young Composers Meeting, which has been crucial to the development of young composers over the last twenty years or so (Both myself and Joe were participants at different times and Joe has been back as a teacher). We had a very nice walk over seven days, saw some really beautiful parts of the UK countryside and had some fantastic chats (Joe is a wonderful travel companion!) More importantly, the weather was bad for only three out of the seven days! All told we managed to raise £5465 for the young composers meeting and we are incredibly grateful to all who gave us words of encouragement and gave us the £££!

You can read about our story here

Birmingham Record Company Release

In August Birmingham Record Company released my first full length album entitled 45 Minutes of Music on the Subject of Football.

Performed by Ensemble Krock from Sweden, the album was recorded and mixed in Guerrilla Studios, Dublin by John Murphy and mastered in Birmingham Conservatoire by Simon Hall. There is also a video performance made by Seán Zissou here.

The album can be streamed and/or downloaded here for the low, low price of four english pounds.

It has also had some nice airplay by Bernard Clarke on RTÉ Lyric FM Nova and John Schaefer on WNYC New Sounds.

Electronic Music

Over the past few months I have been working on an electronic album (to be released sometime in 2016). It is being created entirely on an Op-1 Synthesiser and is made up of synthesis and found sounds that I have been collecting over the past year and a half. The pieces also use a dialectical structure that I have been devising over the past number of months. Some of this work will be getting an outing in Birmingham next week. (Details below)

Holidays in America

It’s always good to get away and I had a wonderful couple of weeks on the east coast of America visiting Jaime’s family in August. While it was nice to take some time off, it was also a very inspiring trip. We stayed in Madison, the exact same place where Karlheinz Stockhausen wrote Stimmung in the 60’s and we also visited La Monte Young’s Dream House in New York City, which was an incredible experience. We also had fantastic days at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation and the recently (re)opened Whitney where I saw in person some of my favourite works of art on this planet. It was an incredibly refreshing trip and just being in an incredibly different environment, with different sights, smells sounds and so on and so forth gives much food for thought.

Culture Night

I was very fortunate to be part of the Contemporary Music Centre’s programme of events for Culture Night 2015. I created a site specific work which featured the CMC’s staff as collaborators, writing texts to be displayed around the building, which were then featured in a 40 minute live electronic piece created collaboratively by myself and Thomas Parkes.

It was a really enjoyable experience working with the CMC staff in the week leading up to the performance, and it was very enjoyable performing again! It was also wonderful to hear the work of other composers and performers on the night including the Brennan-Cahill duo, Anna MurrayMichelle O’ Rourke, Gavin Prior, Enda Bates, Ian Wilson and Cathal Roche

Back to Birmingham Conservatoire

We are already in week two at Birmingham Conservatoire. It has been nice to meet all of our new incoming students and welcome back all of our returning students. I have some very exciting classes planned for this year, and am very glad to be back in this wonderful place with brilliant colleagues and fantastic students.

New Pieces to Write

I am currently continuing with the composition of my electronic album mentioned above. I am also writing a new solo piano piece for an interesting publication in 2016 as well as a new piece for Workers Union Ensemble in 2016 and a new piece for Crash Ensemble for 2017. Additionally, myself and Thomas Parkes are sifting through 8 hours of Moog material to release an album sometime in 2016. They are all brilliant projects to be working on!

Some Upcoming Performances

My new electronic work Six Minutes of Music Created From Sounds Around My Home will be performed in the Legacies in Technology concert series 12-13 October 2015 at Birmingham Conservatoire. More details available here

I am a featured composer in the Austrian Cultural Forum, London’s Soundings Series along with Christian Mason, and Kate Whitley from the UK, and Mirela IvičevićHannes Kerschbaumer, and Daniel Moser from Austria. I will have a number of pieces performed there between 2-5 November 2015, including a new piece especially written for Darragh Morgan & Mary Dullea. I’m very much looking forward to this exchange of music and ideas and more information can be found here

Shout outs!

Ergodos have just released an amazing CD of music by Kevin Volans. I was at the launch concert last night and it really is incredible music, pristinely recorded and beautifully  packaged. You should go get it here.

The Jimmy Cake recently released one of the best albums ever to come out of Ireland. If you like long music and synths, then this is one for you! Get it here

That’s about all I got right now. Hope to see you soon!

45 Minutes of Music on the Subject of Football is here

45 Minutes of Music on the Subject of Football Cover

I’m delighted to announce that last Friday, Birmingham Record Company released my first full length album with them entitled 45 Minutes of Music on the Subject of Football.

Performed by Ensemble Krock from Sweden, the album was recorded and mixed in Guerrilla Studios, Dublin by John Murphy and mastered in Birmingham Conservatoire by Simon Hall. There is also a video performance made by Seán Zissou here.

The album can be streamed and/or downloaded here for the low, low price of four english pounds.

I’m really elated with how everything came out and very grateful to all involved in the process. If you’re a fan of minimal music, post rock, or extended pieces I hope that you might enjoy the album too!

Release of 45 Minutes of Music on the Subject of Football and so on and so on…

45 Minutes of Music on the Subject of Football Cover

Good news! Birmingham Record Company will be releasing my electric guitar quartet Forty-Five Minutes of Music on the Subject of Football on 7 August 2015. Performed by Ensemble Krock and recorded & mixed by John Murphy at Guerrilla Studios (with mastering by Simon Hall). It is my longest piece to date and was a true collaboration between myself, Krock, & John and I’m absolutely delighted that it’s coming out soon. It will be available on Bandcamp from 7 August and on other streaming services soon after. In the interim, a short excerpt can be heard on my soundcloud page and you can watch a wonderful video of the whole piece here, made by Seán Zissou.

In other news, I’ve updated some new(ish) tunes here and I have also created a video page here, where you can see videos of some of my performances.

For now, back to writing on harmolodics!

Planes, Trains, and… Walking


From 6 – 12 July Joe Cutler and I will walk from Birmingham to London along the Grand Union Canal in support of Orkest de EreprijsYoung Composers Meeting. Orkest de Ereprijs have had severe cuts over the past number of years making their annual cultural and educational programmes increasingly difficult. For more than twenty years, this course has been particularly beneficial to young composers in the UK and Ireland, many of whom have been prize-winners and have gone on to do great things. I would be incredibly saddened if future generations of composers would not have the opportunity to partake in this fantastic course because of funding cuts. Joe and I really want them to continue their valuable work so that our students and others like them can benefit from their fantastic approach to music making. If you would be interested in supporting our cause please take a look at our just giving page here and consider donating what you can.

End of Year at Birmingham Conservatoire

We have just finished up the academic year 2014/15 at Birmingham Conservatoire and I am immensely proud of, and happy for our students and how well they all did. It is fantastic to work in such an environment where we are constantly surprised and astounded by the work that people are capable of creating. Each year the bar is constantly raised, and each year it is surpassed. I will be particularly saddened to say good-bye to this year’s outgoing fourth years, as this is the first year group that I have taught from first year right up until fourth year. I have no doubt however, that they are going on to brighter and better things!

 Kirkos Ensemble Blackout

A little over two weeks ago I had the great pleasure and fortune to hear Yseult Cooper Stockdale perform a new piece of mine Sixteen Minutes of Music on the Subject of Sitting in Kirkos Ensemble’s Blackout Series. Not only was Yseult’s performance beautifully focused and refined, but the whole concert was remarkably well conceived and executed by Kirkos, which not only contained other wonderful performances and pieces by Steve Reich, Raymond Deane, Gráinne Mulvey and Tom Lane, but offered a completely immersive listening experience involving all bar one senses, smell, taste, touch and sound, omitting sight and opting to perform each concert in complete darkness. It was fantastic to be featured in such an innovative concert series, and Kirkos with Ensemble are to be commended on such a bold undertaking. I wish them every success for the future.

Moog Soundlab residency

Two weeks ago I was incredibly fortunate to be selected to have a two-day residency at the Moog Soundlab, which was based at Birmingham City University in partnership with Capsule/Supersonic. I used the residency to collaborate with Thomas Parkes and experiment with new modes of working as a composer, devising pieces collaboratively in an organic and symbiotic way, where artistic thought was not preempted but created through the time spent in collaboration. We used the time to explore analog sound-scaping and synthesis, working within chance determined structures to build and develop a vocabulary that will hopefully be released online in the coming months. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with these wonderful machines and to have collaborated with Tom. Leaving the studio each day I heard the world in a different way.


 I have just set up a personal Bandcamp page here. I hope to use this to release the majority of things I do in the future either as personal releases or through Birmingham Record Company. There’s not a whole lot up at the moment but there will be at least two more releases up before the end of 2015. If you’re interested, check it out and keep an eye on it.

Krock Video and Release

Speaking of releases, the video for Ensemble Krock performing my Guitar Quartet Forty-Five Minutes of Music on the Subject of Football has been finished and signed off on. It should be appearing on The Practice Tapes site any day now. It has been a wonderful journey working with Ensemble Krock, Seán (video) and John (audio) on this project and I’m delighted that the fruits of our labour will shortly be arriving.

In addition, the audio recording has been sent off to be mastered and will be released in the very near future!

 Electronic album

I am more than half way through the composition and recording of my electronic album, which has turned into a kind of tribute album to Ornette Coleman who recently passed away. Ornette Coleman’s music and thought process has been such an inspiration on my journey as a composer. Although our paths never crossed, his impact on me was so great that I felt I needed to mark his death in someway.

Other projects and so on and so on

Additionally, I am conceiving of and working on five pieces for some very exciting groups and organisations that will culminate in performances towards the later half of 2015 and into 2016. For next few weeks however, I’m undertaking some intense study of the music of Christian Wolff, whose music I feel leads one to consider heretofore unexplored territory. It’s sunny where I am now and there is an air of positivity. Long may it continue…

Nowhere Better Than This Place


Last Saturday I went to an exhibition at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin where I saw Untitled, 1989/1990 by artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres, a piece consisting of two large stacks of paper with the sentence Somewhere better than this place printed on one, Nowhere better than this place printed on the other. It certainly was food for thought in this age of mass migration and transition and maybe also a good analogy for thinking about music. Aspiring for the other is good, so too maybe is where one is… with that in mind, although this part of the internet resembles the land that time forgot, here is where I am for anyone that may be interested.

Forty-Five Minutes of Music on the Subject of Football Release

My forty-five minute electric guitar quartet performed and recorded by Ensemble Krock last July in Guerrilla Studios in Dublin (with production by John Murphy) is almost ready to be released by Birmingham Record Company. This release will also be accompanied by a video by Seán Zissou. Keep an eye on this page for an exact release date and how to obtain a copy.

Kirkos Ensemble – Blackout

I have recently been commissioned by Kirkos Ensemble to write a piece for solo cello as a companion to Steve Reich’s Different trains. My piece which uses the structure of Jonathan BurrowsBoth Sitting Duet will be performed in Kirkos Ensemble’s innovative concert series entitled Blackout in which all pieces will be performed in complete darkness and accompanied by a menu created by Gruel Guerrilla. For more details on this exciting project and how you can get involved please click here. It promises to be a truly unique and remarkable series of events.

Workers Union Ensemble Composer in Association

I am delighted to announce that I have recently been made composer in association with Workers Union Ensemble. This group is an amazing bunch of players and have recently completed a UK tour featuring Simon Steen Andersen’s wonderfully inventive On And Off And To And Fro. I am delighted to be working closely with them over the next year particularly on my most recent piece Thirty Minutes of Music on the Subject of Guillaume de Machaut written for them and fellow comrades Ensemble Krock. I’m really looking forward to beginning rehearsals with them this coming Sunday and seeing how this project and association unfolds over the coming months.

Xenia Pestova and smaller pieces

Two weeks ago during her fantastic Frontiers Festival performance in Birmingham, the wonderful pianist Xenia Pestova premiered a recent toy piano piece of mine Four Pieces of Music lasting Thirty Seconds Each. It was immensely refreshing to have the restriction of writing a very short piece (I have of late essentially only been writing very long pieces) and really made me think of the immediacy and distillation of ideas. It has opened up a series of thought processes which I will be pursuing (in conjunction with longer pieces) for the foreseeable future. Thanks to Xenia for affording me the opportunity to engage in this thought process.  To hear me hacking my way through these pieces click here (Four Pieces of Music Lasting thirty Seconds Each) and here (Three Lines of Music Lasting Seventy Seconds Each) 

I See Now Why People Hide performed at Leeds College of Music

Also about two weeks ago students at Leeds College of Music performed my 2011 ensemble piece I See Now Why People Hide in a slightly new arrangement. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the performance, but thanks to the students in Leeds and to Damien Harron for putting the piece on and I hope they enjoyed it!

Fourteen Minutes of Music on the Subject of Greeting Cards featured at David Lang’s What?… Wow Festival

In March my trio Fourteen Minutes of Music on the Subject of Greeting Cards was performed by Crash Ensemble at David Lang’s What?… Wow festival of music in Dublin. It was such a great pleasure to have my work performed alongside my most respected friends and peers by my most respected musicians. It was also an honour to be featured in a festival by many of the people who inspire me to compose on a daily basis and I was extremely privileged to hear fantastic brand new and newish work by Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe and David Lang. Click here to hear Fourteen Minutes of Music on the Subject of Greeting Cards and click here and here to read some reviews of the festival.

Incidentally, it was an even greater pleasure to see my friends Stephen and Isobel get married that same weekend! 

Roberto Alonso Trillo Recording

In January I finished a piece Seven Minutes of Music on the Subject of Simulacra for solo violin which will be a companion piece for JS Bach’s Violin Partita in B minor BWV 1002. This piece will be recorded and released by Roberto Alonso Trillo which will feature the complete Partita in B minor and companion pieces to each moment composed by some of the leading composers in Europe and further afield. It was a great pleasure to be involved in this project and I look forward to seeing it come to fruition.  

David Adams performance

Way back in November, David Adams performed a new piece Ten Minutes of Music on the Subject of Furniture for piano and piano playback as part of the Irish Composers Collective ten-year anniversary. It was wonderful to hear this piece come to life with such a sensitive reading by David. Very nice also to be included in the celebrations of such a wonderful organisation. Thanks to all involved!  

Other projects and so on and so on

In addition to these activities, I am as always thinking of Somewhere better than this place. Incredibly interesting machinations have been set in motion for future projects with a number of different groups and artists who I think are the best around and I am also in the planning stages of a minimal electronic album which will be recorded over the summer of 2015. All the while I to and fro between Dublin and Birmingham Conservatoire where I am immensely fortunate to have the support of the most wonderful colleagues on the planet and the most inspiring students who constantly surprise with their inventiveness…

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This is the news


It’s been a while since I had a chance to update this part of the Internet, but thus is the nature of our existence. Since late August, things have been incredibly busy around Birmingham Conservatoire, but as always it is a joy to have such fantastic students, colleagues and projects to be involved with. August also saw a repeat performance of my double concerto Strange to See you Again by Thumb (whom commissioned the piece), although I couldn’t make the performance, I have been informed that it was very well received. September was occupied for the most part with teaching and composing a number of solo pieces. The first, a piece for violin and electronics Six Minutes of Music on the Subject of Having a Coke with You should be receiving its premiere by Simon Goff sometime in 2015, the second Seven Minutes of Music on the Subject of Simulacra is being recorded by Roberto Alonso Trillo in 2015 for a forthcoming CD release and the third Ten Minutes of Music on the Subject of Furniture is being premiered by pianist David Adams on Wednesday 19 November in the project arts centre, Dublin. I’m very excited to work with all of these wonderful performers over the next few months.

October saw the second performance of Fourteen Minutes of Music on the Subject of Greeting Cards by Audrey MilheresAisha Orazbayeva and Matthew Schellhorn at the Little Missenden Festival. It was fantastic to finally hear this piece in Little Missenden after Aisha had taken ill at the original premiere. During October I also began work on a new fifteen minute solo cello piece Fifteen Minutes of Music on the Subject of Positivity which will receive its premiere in February 2015.

November sees the continuation of the composition process of this piece along with a trilogy of new pieces based on all of the Music of Guillaume de Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame happening simultaneously. One incarnation will be electronics only, the second incarnation will be for piano and electronics and the third will be a much bigger project for electronics and flexible ensemble. I’m very excited about all of these projects and very much look forward to their realisation.

In addition to these activities, I am also engaged in mixing some recordings for release including the group I play with, Nippons second record which should be released in the next few months and also my first release on Birmingham Record Company Forty-Five Minutes of Music on the Subject of Football which was recorded by Ensemble KROCK during the summer. I’m very much looking forward to both of these releases!

I’ve been living back in Dublin since August (whilst still commuting to Birmingham every week) and it has been refreshing to see so much high quality music taking place in my hometown including a new piece by Peter Ablinger, presented by Dublin Sound Lab Ergodos Santa Rita Series in the Little Museum of Dublin, the Necks in Christ Church Cathedral and bands such as Hands Up Who Wants to Die and Percolator performing in a multiplicity of different venues. It has also been a great pleasure to be working with John Murphy, Ian Chestnut and Thomas Parkes of Guerrilla Studios and Seán Zissou and David Knox  of the Practice Tapes. We will be releasing something together in the coming months, but for now check out and enjoy one of their latest projects here.  

A festival of new music curated by the American composer David Lang has been announced


Delighted to be part of this!

Originally posted on Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland:

The festival, presented by New Music Dublin, takes place at the National Concert Hall, Dublin from 6–7 March 2015 and will feature Bang on a Can All-Stars, Crash Ensemble, So Percussion, Trio Mediaeval, and RTÉ ConTempo Quartet performing a series of new music concerts over 2 days.

The concerts include 5 premieres alongside a number of Irish premieres, as well as some well-known contemporary works from the past. Highlights include an 8-hour Bang on a Can Marathon with performances of works by Irish and international composers, including works by Irish composers Linda Buckley, Donnacha Dennehy, Seán Clancy and Andrew Hamilton.

The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland also features with a programme of works by Irish composer Irene Buckley, John Luther Adams, Anna Clyne, and festival curator David Lang.

Further information and booking is available from the National Concert Hall.

The festival is supported by…

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