May-Nov 2022

Well I’ve managed to do that thing again where I forget to update my website for several months… distracted by writing many, many notes…

During November I’ve mainly been working on a new piece Honnold for the Crash Ensemble for New Music Dublin 2023, and been enjoying experimenting with lots of instrument preparations for that! This month has been super busy for new releases of recorded music. Firstly, my large chamber work Engines of Babel was released on new music::new Ireland four by the Contemporary Music Centre Ireland, played by the Crash Ensemble. I’m very grateful to CMC for supporting me to travel over to Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, where the CD was launched, and my piece Pollen, Blood, and Seaspray also featured as part of the Ulysses Journey installation at the festival. The new CD is available on bandcamp and various streaming services.

Crash Ensemble celebrates their 25th anniversary this year with events at the NCH and the release of [REACTIONS], a new album featuring 17 duo pieces they commissioned over the lockdown periods of 2020-2021. My piece Cross-Purposes is the opening track, and again this album is available on bandcamp/streaming.

The third album released in November was We’re all in this, part of the Freedom of the City Project produced by Kwame Daniels and the Belfast City Council. Over several months in 2021-2022 6 musicians ran projects with groups of key-workers in Belfast City, exploring their stories and experiences during the pandemic, and then creating music with the participants as a response to this. My piece Shock/Stasis, for violin and piano, was composed with teachers from Victoria Park Primary School, and recorded by Ioana Petcu-Colan of the Ulster Orchestra, and Cahal Masterson. At the album launch, Cahal and Rachael Masterson premiered the work at the Oh Yeah Centre in Belfast. The album will be available for streaming shortly, as well as a documentary film created by the BBC for the project.

Cahal and Rachael Masterson premiering Shock/Stasis at the Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast

During October and November I received news about funding support for two recording projects next year: I’m grateful to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for their General Arts Award support for my second album Kraina, which will be released during 2023, and to Help Musicians UK for their Recording and Releasing Fund, which will enable me to create a professional recording of my brass band piece Rasp in early 2023.

In October I finished a new commission, Rusted Sugar, for violinist Larissa O’Grady, part of a project featuring six new commissions for violin from Irish composers, supported by the Arts Council of Ireland. My first opportunity to work extensively with a microtonal system, this was both a challenging and enjoyable piece to write, and I’m looking forward to working with Larissa on it in 2023.

Over the summer I finished Kraina, a song cycle in Polish and English for soprano and piano, which was recorded by Rebecca Murphy and Cahal Masterson for my new album. Pollen, Blood, and Seaspray was screened in Dublin, Belfast, Budapest, and Paris (and I’m grateful to Culture Ireland for supporting my attendance at the international premieres) during June. In July an hour-length programme dedicated to my music was broadcast twice in Estonia on Klassikaraadio, which you can listen to here. Thank you to host Johanna Mängel for broadcasting so much of my music. In other radio news, I had a lovely chat with Luke Clancy for RTÉ’s Culture File in May, which you can listen to here. In July I had a wonderful few days in Oxford, where I was invited to deliver a talk on my music at the Hutchmoot UK conference 2022. I also had several pieces workshopped and premiered: Common Places for soprano and piano trio at the National Concert Hall by Elizabeth Hilliard and the Degani Piano Trio, Lucan Duets for violin and cello by Martin and Adele Johnson (commissioned by the Lucan Children’s Music Festival), and Coruscate for orchestra workshopped by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. I have several large projects ahead for early 2023 which I’m excited to announce, and will try make sure to not leave it so long before another update… now back to the piano…