A Space Where The New, The Unknown, And The Unheard Can Flourish – New Music Dublin 2024


Posted 1 month ago in Festival Features

DDF apr-may-24 – Desktop

Returning for 2024, and directed by Red Note Ensemble composer/director John Harris, New Music Dublin has once again summoned an exhaustively inventive lineup of composers, ensembles and organizations from across the world.

“We don’t just host a festival; we create a space where the new, the unknown, and the unheard can flourish”, John Harris explains.  “Our programme is a testament to the vibrant creativity alive in Ireland and around the world, offering something truly new for everyone.”

This year’s festival promises a host of premieres including ambient and classical masterminds A Winged Victory for the Sullen. Attendees can also look forward to the National Symphony Orchestra performing Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Symphony, ‘A Prayer to the Dynamo’, and a further two world premieres from the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

‘A Prayer to the Dynamo’ Jóhannsson’s final symphony, was inspired by his fascination with technology, and  in particular field recordings he made at Iceland’s Elliðaár power plant. Underpinned by the hypnotic reverberations of these recordings, Jóhannsson’s masterwork precedes a set from two of his contemporaries and collaborators, celebrated, archetypical  ambient music duo, A Winged Victory For The Sullen.

Elsewhere, one of the best vocalists Ireland has ever produced, Iarla Ó Lionáird, will be performing as a soloist alongside the National Symphony Orchestra. Ó Lionáird is the featured soloist in Buckley’s ‘Tuile agus Trá’, which forms the centerpiece of a programme which opens with ‘SLEEPTALKER’ by 2023 recipient of the NCH Jerome Hynes Young Composer Award Robin Haigh and closes with Crash Ensemble founder and famed composer,  Donnacha Dennehy’s ‘Violin Concerto’ performed by internationally acclaimed soloist Stephen Waarts brings the evening to a thrilling conclusion.

Brian Irvine TMUO

Also returning, Brian Irvine’s Totally Made Up Orchestra will be performing their inclusive and always-surprising musical tradition at New Music Dublin. A recurring highlight of the New Music Dublin lineup, The Totally Made Up Orchestra is a group that blends composition, improvisation, words, sounds, movements, noise, gesture, humour to result in this unique and captivating performance. Led by composer Brian Irvine, musicians and music lovers of any age, any instrument and any ability are encouraged to join this ‘beautiful, monster, music machine phenomenon’, the only requirements being a desire to be heard and to make music with others, an open mind and a big, creative heart.

Ann Cleare’s ‘Terrarium’ also makes its world premiere, where attendees are offered the chance to “Venture into a landscape of time at this awe-inspiring world premiere, as you journey with Crash Ensemble through historic Irish countryside to a vanished Mesolithic lake.”

Written during Ann Cleare’s time as composer in residence with Crash Ensemble and created in collaboration with artists Lay of the Land and videographer/director/Persona mastermind/polymath Laura Sheeran.This immersive exploration of the evolving geological strata of Ireland’s boglands transports viewers to Lough Boora, Offaly, navigating the narrows of  memory and myth embedded within the fascinating terrain there.

Stone Drawn Circles

And another first; the debut performance from Irish supergroup Stone Drawn Circles with their new work, ‘In Formation’. This collaboration between double bass master Caimin Gilmore, renowned harpist Úna Monaghan, violist Nathan Sherman and percussionist Alex Petcu, with flutist Lina Andonovska and vocalist Michelle O’ Rourke, promises to be a spellbinding affair.

The Monochrome Project, also looks to be a memorable event: a 36 trumpet ensemble that includes the international Monochrome Project. With students drawn from the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris and the Royal Academy of Music London , as well as brass players from across the island of Ireland,this huge ensemble with be led by Marco Blaauwan, and will be perform a major new work by celebrated American composer David Lang.

Leitrim sound sculptor Natalia Beylis will also premiere her highly lauded ‘Around Here, The Birds Plant The Trees’, showing for the first time in Ireland. “We stand in our field, gathered together to listen: to the creatures rustling in the undergrowth, to the wind making the oak leaves dance, to the lone, distant curlew and to ourselves; our breathing, our heartbeats and our place within it all.”

Written in response to a commission asking Beylis to consider an aspect of climate change, ‘Around Here, The Birds Plant The Trees’ first started with musicians meeting in a field, and on the evening will be performed with percussionist Willie Stewart, cellist Eimear Reidy, fiddler Tola Custy and viola player Ailbhe Nic Oireachtaigh.

Crash Ensemble (c) Ros Kavanagh

Crash Ensemble will once again be showcasing their Crashworks work-in-progress project, highlighting new and emerging composers, which like their recorded (and streamable) namesakes, are mandatory listening for anybody with a curiosity about what is at the very forefront of new music in Ireland and beyond.

Cór Linn and Cór na nÓg, the National Concert Hall choirs, also return to the festival, as ever promising a performance showcasing the very best of youth music-making. This concert centers on Cecilia MacDowell’s haunting ‘Everyday Wonders: The Girl from Aleppo’.

Chamber Choir – Ruth Medjber

This beautiful work recounts the incredible true story of a disabled Kurdish teenager who fled from Aleppo with her sister to start anew in Germany. Performed alongside Nick Page’s emotive ‘A Promise I Will Keep’ and commissions from Ferdia Ó Cairbre, Ollie Lambert and Cór Linn teenager Gracie Gilmartin – this is certain to be an enthralling sunday afternoon in the beautiful environs of the National Concert Hall.

Diatribe Records, Ireland’s premier contemporary classical and new music label, will be holding their bi-annual Diatribe Stage across multiple stages over the weekend. A nested doll of a festival within a festival, this year’s presentation includes showcases of ‘The Harmonic Labyrinth’, a collaboration between violinist Aoife Ní Bhriain and viola da gamba player Liam Byrne.

Diamanda Dramm by Juri Hiensch

Elsewhere, groundbreaking violinist/composer Diamanda La Berge Dramm will be performing as a duo with her mother, flutist/composer Anne La Berge, presenting a musical family history unlike any other—an impossible, rousing mix of electro and songs.

One of the wilder events on the bill, ‘ADVERT’ , will see Hamburg maestros Decoder Ensemble blurring the lines between in this multimedia multimedia performances  by “composer-performer-provocatrice” Laura Bowler, who will be having a tattoo applied live on-stage during the show by Leipzig-based artist and tattooist, Julia Rehme.

Laura Bowler

The electric lineup also offers ‘there will be no silence’, the opportunity to see the poetry of Adam Wyeth performed by renowned Irish actors Owen Roe and Aisling O’Sullivan to music by David Downes on the Diatribe Stage.

Also performing as a duo will be Nathan Sherman and Alex Petcu of Stone Drawn Circles, who devised The Archetypes Project as “a reflection on archetypal symbols that date back to the birth of consciousness, revealing our place in nature.”

David Downes TWBNS

The whole event will close out with the Barry Guy Quartet playing a closing double bill with renowned turn-tablist Mariam Rezae.

Since the first festival in 2020, New Music Dublin has more than followed through its stated intent of shining a light on exciting new music and performers, and fostering collaborations between internationally renowned names and Irish ensembles. Its fearless eclecticism and keen eye for the cutting edge have made their lineups varied and thought provoking affairs.

Mariam Rezaei

“With immense joy and privilege, New Music Dublin is announcing a programme that is as diverse and dynamic as the creators behind it,” says John Harris. “Our aim is to celebrate creativity in its most unadulterated forms, showcasing works that are as unpredictably brilliant as the minds of their creators.”

New Music Dublin, an annual festival dedicated to innovative new music and sound art. New Music Dublin is presented alongside the National Concert Hall, RTÉ and supported by The Arts Council of Ireland and Culture Ireland.

New Music Dublin 2024: Thursday 25th – Sunday 28th April. Tickets and ticket package deals available from newmusicdublin.ie 

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