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 Burrows‘ Both 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…