Posted April 3, 2019 in Music Features

BIMM dec-21–jan-22 – Desktop

MUSIC CURRENT is back bigger and better for 2019. Returning to Smock Alley Theatre this April, Dublin’s annual contemporary music festival expands its run dates and events, to showcase more of the best of new Irish and international contemporary electronic music, to Irish audiences. This unique four-day event runs from 10–13 April, hosting a four-day festival of concerts, panel discussions, composer talks, and a special music commission for artists.

Produced in collaboration with the Contemporary Music Centre and supported by the Arts Council and Dublin City Council, MUSIC CURRENT is now established in its fourth year, and the festival offers a unique blend of electronic performance and provides a much-needed platform for the newest contemporary electronic music rarely seen in Ireland.

This year’s festival has a decidedly theatrical flavour featuring Steven Takasugi’s hilarious and unnerving ‘Sideshow’, a concert-length masterwork for ensemble and electronics, in which the players, Ensemble Tzara from Switzerland, ‘perform’ in a decidedly giddy theatrical sense. Sideshow is a humorous and eerie meditation on virtuosity, freak shows, entertainment, and spectacle, and after sold-out shows and critical acclaim across America and Europe, Music Current is delighted to present the Irish premiere of what will surely become one the defining works of early 21st century music. The theatrical theme continues with Swiss trio Retro Disco who take inspiration from Dadaist aesthetics and create absurdist performances, and perform a new commission by Irish composer Karen Power.

The festival opens with a double-bill programme: Sweeney Lives! featuring three major ‘radiophonic’ work by Irish electronic music pioneer Frank Corcoran; and German music collective Stock11, one of the most thought provoking music groups performing today.

Retro Disco will also perform a new commission by Argentinian composer Patricia Martinez in a special concert of new international works developed during the festival by participating composers, one of whom will receive this year’s Music Current Commission of €2,500.

Welcoming many new international artists who will perform in Ireland for the first time, and curating this exciting experimental mix of new music, Dublin Sound Lab is delighted to host another cutting edge MUSIC CURRENT for 2019.




SWEENEY LIVES! by Irish composer Frank Corcoran offers three ‘tape’ music masterworks that will be presented in Ireland for the first time in surround sound and as a complete body of work, in a single concert. Each of these works reveals Corcoran’s far-reaching vision of a distant, multi-layered, mythic past which is rendered so deftly here in late 20th century technology.

Written in the years spanning the peak of Corcoran’s creative output, these pieces are in a consciously radiophonic style and, when heard together in a seamless concert performance, they accumulate a coherence and forcefulness of argument, and bring to life Corcoran’s mythological landscape, littered with visual metaphors, in a true ‘cinema for the ear’.

“Corcoran’s Musical Mass is a furious symbiosis of polyphonic liturgical sound” – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

FRANK CORCORAN, In Conversation, Contemporary Music Centre, 19 Fishamble Street, Temple Bar, Dublin

Wednesday 10 April | 6pm | Free

SWEENEY LIVES Wednesday 10 April | 7pm | €15/10  Smock Alley Theatre, Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar, Dublin



SHERRIFS LOVE SONGS by STOCK11 displays the eclectic approaches and techniques of this German collective of composers and performers. They share an aesthetic position that accommodates everyday activities and materials and contemporary practices from beyond the usual musical world within their compositions and performances.

In this concert, three of the group’s composer/performer members – Michael Maierhof, Christoph Ogiermann and Hannes Seidl – make their first appearance in Ireland performing highlight works from the group.

“One of the most original composers working today and a master manipulator of the sonic properties of plastic” –

Wednesday 10 April | 8pm | €15/10 Smock Alley Theatre, Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar, Dublin



SIDESHOW is the Irish premier of American composer of electro-acoustic music, Steven Takasugi‘s, concert-length music theatre masterwork for chamber ensemble.

Based on the dark sideshows of Coney Island’s amusement parks in the early part of the 20th century, SIDESHOW is a meditation on virtuosity, freak shows, entertainment, spectacle, business, and the sacrifices one makes to survive in this world.

 “There is an unrepentant nakedness in Takasugi’s performances that suggests an intensely honest viewing of the world…. Crippling engrossing SIDESHOW…” –

Thursday 11 April | 8pm | €15/10 Smock Alley Theatre, Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar, Dublin 


WHOSE MUSIC? Panel Discussion

WHOSE MUSIC? is an open public panel discussion, where invited guest panellists, participant composers and public share thoughts on current composition trends, performance practice, critical perspectives, and new directions in music making. This year invited panellists, including Dr Róisín Loughran (School of Business, UCD), consider the potential impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on music composition and how future developments impinge on aesthetic considerations and audience reception.

The discussion is open and accessible to public participation, and contributions are welcome from the audience too. The event is hosted by the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland’s archive and resource centre for new music, and will be moderated by Evonne Ferguson, Director of CMC / presenter of RTE Lyric FM’s Daybreak Show.

This public event is free to attend and all are welcome. MUSIC CURRENT encourage people to indicate their attendance by emailing

Contemporary Music Centre, 19 Fishamble Street, Temple Bar, Dublin Friday 12 April | 6pm | Free



Making their Irish debut, Swiss trio RETRO DISCO (horn, cello, synthesizer and electronics), showcase new music from Switzerland written specially for the group. The programme also includes the premier of a new commission by Irish composer Karen Power.

RETRO DISCO create a hybrid between electronic and acoustic sounds. Their repertoire includes everything from absurd performances to sound installations, microtonal sine waves, synthetic sounds of the ’80s, or dismembered and dismembered samples.

“It’s Dynamite, it’s Retro Disco!” – Robert Ashley (American contemporary composer)

Friday 12 April | 8pm | €15/10 Smock Alley Theatre, Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar, Dublin



CURRENTS – Retro Disco Trio perform new works for horn, cello, synthesizer and electronics by participant composers, selected following the annual Music Current ‘call for participation’. A regular and unique feature of Music Current festival, this concert offers a rare chance to hear the most original voices in contemporary composition from around the world showcasing their work in Dublin.

One of the participating composers in this programme will be offered a commission to prepare a new work for Music Current 2020. This concert will also feature the premiere of a new work by Argentinian Patricia Martinez – recipient of Music Current 2018 commission – written especially for RETRO DISCO.

Also including works by:

Claire Fitch
Alessandro Perini
David Bremner
Seán Ó Dálaigh
Weston Olencki
Luke Smyth
Maya Verlak


Music Current Connects

MUSIC CURRENT 2019 introduces a new audience engagement event called Music Current Connects, which runs in conjunction with each concert at this year’s festival. Music Current Connects is an informal networking event aimed at audiences, composers, and musicians who are invited to join the festival team for discussions after each concert. If you’re a composer, you can pitch ideas to Dublin Sound Lab; if you’re a performer, you can find collaborators; if you’re a concert-goer, you can discuss the evening’s music with the festival composers. Everyone is invited to come along and meet up with the festival team after the show – no ticket required, just come along and introduce yourself or email 

Saturday 13 April | 8pm | €15/10 Smock Alley Theatre, Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar, Dublin


SMOCK ALLEY THEATRE, Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar, Dublin

Box Office – Tel: 01 677 0014 /

Further info at:


TWITTER: @DublinSoundLab


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