June-Dec 2023

As usual, my good intentions for updating my website news once a month fall victim to the amount of notes that need written! I think I’ll just have to embrace the fact that updates to the news page will have to cover several months, but I do keep the music/schedule/about pages of this website updated more regularly. So, this post will be a brief fly-through of what I was up to in the 2nd half of 2023.

In June I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Thailand and work with the TACETi Ensemble. TACETi have been avid supporters of my music for a few years and premiered several of my pieces in Bangkok, but this was the first time I’ve been able to write something specifically for them and travel to meet them! I had an amazing two weeks and TACETi played a concert of music by myself and Piyawat Louilarpprasert in PGVIM in Bangkok and in Chiang Mai. We produced a documentary about this British Council-funded project, and you can hear my new piece A Single Tree is not called a Forest at the end of it. June also saw the premiere of my piece The Blue Bird by Cappella Caeciliana Choir, unfortunately while I was away, so I still haven’t heard it live yet!

In July and September I was working closely with several players from Crash Ensemble (and the group as a whole) on three projects. Clarinettist Leonie Bluett premiered the full set of When Aslan Shakes His Mane at the Hugh Lane Gallery. Violinist Larissa O’Grady premiered a new commission for violin and electronics, Rusted Sugar, at a separate Hugh Lane concert. This concert was reviewed by the Journal of Music (article here), who described my piece as, “bright as fluorescent light, drawing on the textural richness in upper harmonics and microtones.” The ensemble also released their album Crashworks I which features my piece Honnold. Links to all three below:

Leonie Bluett performs When Aslan Shakes His Mane
Larissa O’Grady performs Rusted Sugar

September saw the recording of two works for my 2nd album Kraina (and it’s taken me so long to write this update that Kraina is now out… oops): Moving House by Rebecca Murphy and Cahal Masterson (this piece was commissioned by the National Concert Hall Dublin for soprano Kelli-Ann Masterson), and Her Name is Sorrow, recorded by Joshua Ellicott, Laura Sinnerton, and Dermot Dunne.

In October I was working from Paris on an artistic residency at the Centre Culturel Irlandais, co-funded by CMC Ireland. While there I worked on a new choral piece, Gallagher, with author Tim MacGhabhann who was also on residency at the centre, and this piece has since won the Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition. I also continued work on my first piece for the London Symphony Orchestra as part of my residency with them. October was a busy month for performances: Rebecca Murphy and Cahal Masterson performed my song cycle Kraina in Paris and in Belfast, Sometimes I dream of Blue (for concert band and choir) was premiered at Stormont Parliament Buildings by the NI Concert Band and Grosvenor Choir, and The Blue Bird received a 2nd performance by Cappella Caeciliana. BBC Radio Ulster’s Classical Connections also featured an interview with myself and Rebecca Murphy about my upcoming second album, Kraina.

Introducing my piece Sometimes I dream of blue at Stormont Parliament Buildings. Martin Wall conducted the NI Concert Band & Grosvenor Choir.
Rebecca Murphy & Cahal Masterson perform Kraina at the CCI, Paris, after a stumbling introduction in French from yours truly, m’excuser pour les fautes de langue!