It’s been an incredibly busy time and I’ve had little opportunity to update this site. But now that things have quietened down for a few days here is what has been going on.
The majority of February and March has been spent working on my RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Commission. I’m really happy with this piece and think it will come across well with the orchestra. The piece offers an alternative existence for the Faith No More song Jizzlobber, which I was incredibly interested in due to its highly original form and its complete lack of structural anxiety. I have tried to encapsulate these things in my orchestral piece and have also tried to maintain some of the sonic gestures of the song particularly the Sludge Metal feel. A big thank you to Linda Buckley, Joe Cutler and Howard Skempton for guiding me through this piece and offering many useful thoughts and criticisms. I’m very much looking forward to working on it with Gavin Maloney and the NSO at the end of April.
March saw the world premiere performance of my large ensemble piece White Paintings performed by Toy Sound Circus and Dan Watson. I was delighted with the performance of this piece and was impressed with the clarity of delivery by Dan and the players which is exactly what was required. They performed expertly on a piece that had absolutely now safety net and allowed for now margin of error. So a big thank you to all involved.
Later on in March I had the absolute pleasure of being involved in Birmingham Conservatoire’s Frontiers + Heiner Goebbels festival. This was an incredibly brilliant festival and a huge pay off for all who worked incredibly hard in its preparation. I had the privilege of picking Heiner up from the airport and introducing him to the city and the conservatoire. I was also fortunate enough to have a private tutorial with him where we discussed many polemical topics and a lot of what he had to say resonated strongly with my own work and beliefs. (We did however disagree on one major issue!), but it was fantastic to have an open and frank discussion with someone of this stature. It was brilliant to have Heiner around for the majority of the week and to hear his valuable insights into music, art, theatre and aesthetics. In addition, throughout the week we were treated to many fine performances including the brilliant Decibel performing student works on Monday night, two fantastic student major projects on Tuesday, some improvisation projects between the composition department and the Jazz department as well as a theatre workshop on Wednesday and a superb concert of music by Heiner Goebbels, Michael Wolters and Ryan Latimer performed by the Thallein Ensemble on Friday. Special mention must be made however, for Thursday night’s Decibel concert featuring Goebbels’ Red Run. This concert was for me the highlight of the festival, featuring works by Ed Bennett, Paul Norman, Damien Harron, Howard Skempton, Joe Cutler and myself. I was absolutely thrilled with their performance of my piece I See Now Why People Hide, which they premiered last year. It was hard to believe that they could surpass their performance of it last year, but they did. The piece really came alive and it was riddled with energy from beginning to end. These guys are a really hot band and it would be a delight to be afforded the opportunity to hear them perform more often.
For now I am focused on writing a little companion piece to Joe Cutler’s Cultural Olympiad commission Ping! and I’m finally writing up the final draft to my PhD Thesis to go with my composition portfolio. This process will no doubt contribute to my receding hairline and my diet of pizza… I have some very interesting commissions lined up for after the summer which I am very much looking forward to getting stuck into, but for now its head in books and word processors…
I’ll finish these inane ramblings by suggesting to keep an eye on the Tunes section of this site as I shall be uploading some new music very very soon.