Earlier this year I was commissioned by my good friend artist and cellist Tess Leak to compose a work to be performed at the opening of her new exhibition ‘I Shall Make For My Own Castle’ at the West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen. The piece features a strange and wonderful instrument called a ‘phono-fiddle’ which Tess inherited from her great-uncle, music hall performer Frank Clifton. I strung it up with a cello string and had to learn to play it! The work is for phono-fiddle, bassoon and strings and we will be playing it on Friday May 8th in the West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen 8pm.
I am honoured that my score ‘Passacaglia Apis’ for Baroque violin and string orchestra has been chosen as winner of the East Cork Early Music Festival competition and that Maya Homburger and Barry Guy have asked to perform a version for solo violin and double bass.
The piece will be played by them on Thursday 9th October 1.10pm in the Triskel Christchurch, Cork, and then by Elizabeth Wallfisch and the Cork Baroque Orchestra on Friday 10th October in the Curtis Auditorium, Cork School of Music.
The Human Orchestra Project was unwittingly born this year, after writing a piece for a string orchestra made up of beginners and professionals alike, each with different parts. Inspired by Bill Drummond’s ideas in his book ‘The 17′, as well as the challenges I faced composing scores people of all abilities could perform, the project gathers groups of humans together in specific places, times and occasions to perform music using their voices and instruments brought along. The music they make is unlike any music you have heard before. If you come to a concert, you will be a member of the Human Orchestra Project, and will be an integral part of the performance. Prepare to be a part of something transcendent!
Pearse McGloughlin and myself made a record together this year called ‘Idiot Songs’. I was in cold snowy Canada, and Pearse was in Dublin. We shared recordings on dropbox and in a month we had a very unique and beautiful record made. We had both loved reading ‘The Idiot’ by Dostoyevsky, and felt a great kindredness to that most lost and pure soul Prince Myshkin.
The record came out in July on Urchin Collective and people in the press and at shows all found it very moving. We were happy about that.
“I’m utterly overwhelmed by the quality of work here and more than anything, long to abandon my place in front of this laptop and, with these songs drifting outwards, want to pull The Idiot from my bookshelf and disappear for a week. It’s a beautiful homage to the empathy and creativity of Dostoyevsky and without a doubt one of the best concept albums I’ve heard in my time.” -Harmless Noise-
“a series of sonic gems (gifted with beats and beautifully spectral spoken-word inserts) that breathe life and art into electronic music.” 4**** -Irish Times-
“the pair create what the best albums manage to do, an atmosphere exclusive to itself with its own identity.”
Album of the week -Nialler9-