contemporary

The Walls Have Ears

The Walls Have Ears

The Walls Have Ears

Cellist Ernst Reijseger was among the improvisers featured at Bottlenote collective's recent performance during the Dublin Fringe. Anna Murray attended one of the six improvisations, which took place in a dilapidated Georgian house.

Published on 15 September 2015

The End (and the Beginning) of the Experimental Music Festival

The End (and the Beginning) of the Experimental Music Festival

The End (and the Beginning) of the Experimental Music Festival

Far from 'anything goes', programming a festival of experimental music may be the most difficult type of all. With a new artistic director, the Borealis festival in Bergen, Norway, seized the challenge, writes Toner Quinn.

Published on 29 April 2015

Toner Quinn is publisher of The Journal of Music. www.tonerquinn.com

Almost Nothing

Almost Nothing

Almost Nothing

Can you hear the difference between a pause and silence? Composer Tom Johnson explores recent trends in European minimalism and silent music.

Published on 1 April 2015

Tom Johnson studied privately with Morton Feldman and established himself as a composer of the minimalist group in New York in the 1970s, later settling in Paris, where he has lived since 1983. Among his works are The Four Note Opera, Failing, Narayana’s Cows and the Bonhoeffer Oratorio.

Whisper City

Whisper City

Whisper City

Ahead of the premiere of a new work for singer Eimear Quinn, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the Dublin Laptop Orchestra, composer Emma O'Halloran talks about the holy grail of composing, city life and where to begin when writi

Published on 19 October 2012

Benedict Schlepper-Connolly is a composer and a director of Ergodos, a production company and record label. schlepperconnolly.com

For All Ages

For All Ages

For All Ages

Since its invention in the eighteenth century, the string quartet has proved one of the most resilient forms, continuously reinvented and repurposed for changing times.

Published on 20 April 2012

Peter Rosser (1970–2014) was a composer, writer and music lecturer.

He was born in London and moved to Belfast in 1990, where he studied composition at the University of Ulster and was awarded a DPhil in 1997. His music has been performed at the Spitalfields Festival in London, the Belfast Festival at Queen’s and by the Crash Ensemble in Dublin.

In 2011 the Arts Council acknowledged his contribution to the arts in Northern Ireland through a Major Individual Artist Award. He used this award to write his Second String Quartet, which was premiered in 2012 by the JACK Quartet at the opening concert at Belfast's new Metropolitan Arts Centre (The MAC).

Peter Rosser also wrote extensively on a wide range of music genres, with essays published in The Wire, Perspectives of New Music and the Crescent Journal. 

He died following an illness on 24 November 2014, aged 44.

Difficult Listening Hour

Difficult Listening Hour

Difficult Listening Hour

A dislike of modern music is understandable, says Bob Gilmore, but for him it is the challenge of the music he loves that makes it so special.

Published on 11 March 2012

Bob Gilmore (1961–2015) was a musicologist, educator and keyboard player. Born in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, he studied at York University, Queen's University Belfast, and at the University of California.

Between 2005 and 2012, Bob Gilmore published several articles in The Journal of Music, including seven significant profiles of Irish composers.

His books include Harry Partch: a biography (Yale University Press, 1998) and Ben Johnston: Maximum Clarity and other writings on music (University of Illinois Press, 2006), both of which were recipients of the Deems Taylor Award from ASCAP. He wrote extensively on the American experimental tradition, microtonal music and spectral music, including the work of such figures as James Tenney, Horațiu Rădulescu, Claude Vivier, and Frank Denyer. 

Bob Gilmore taught at Queens University, Belfast, Dartington College of Arts, Brunel University in London, and was a Research Fellow at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent. He was the founder, director and keyboard player of Trio Scordatura, an Amsterdam-based ensemble dedicated to the performance of microtonal music, and for the year 2014 was the Editor of Tempo, a quarterly journal of new music. His biography of French-Canadian composer Claude Vivier was published by University of Rochester Press in June 2014.

No Anxiety

No Anxiety

No Anxiety

Stephen Graham talks to Irish composer Seán Clancy ahead of the premiere of the latter's Findetotenlieder by BCMG and Susan Narucki.

Published on 26 January 2012

Stephen Graham is a lecturer in music at Goldsmiths, University of London. He blogs at www.robotsdancingalone.wordpress.com.

Resurgam Celebrate Giovani Gabrieli in Dublin

Resurgam Celebrate Giovani Gabrieli in Dublin

Resurgam Celebrate Giovani Gabrieli in Dublin

Stephen Graham rounds up classical news, including Resurgam celebrating Gabrieli, an exciting line-up for MaerzMusik 2012 in Berlin, Cara O'Sullivan in Sligo, the first EPTA Piano Festival and Concorde at the Contemporary Music Centre.

Published on 23 January 2012

Stephen Graham is a lecturer in music at Goldsmiths, University of London. He blogs at www.robotsdancingalone.wordpress.com.

Free of Baggage

Free of Baggage

Free of Baggage

Who is Kevin Volans? George Rafael goes looking for an answer after hearing the composer's latest piano concerto at the BBC Proms.

Published on 30 August 2011

George Rafael is a writer on film and music based in London. He has contributed to Cineaste, The First Post, Opera News, Film Comment and Salon.

All is Chaos

All is Chaos

All is Chaos

The idea of a common language in composition is a thing of the past: the world of contemporary music is now entirely chaotic, the result of individualism, tradition and cosmopolitanism pulling, irreconcilably, against each other.

Published on 1 July 2011

John McLachlan is a composer and member of Aosdána. www.johnmclachlan.info

Composer Versus World

Composer Versus World

Composer Versus World

An unlikely combination of sound-detritus and the craft of composition, the music of Ed Bennett makes strong statements about taking on, and overcoming, our contemporary challenges.

Published on 28 June 2011

Peter Rosser (1970–2014) was a composer, writer and music lecturer.

He was born in London and moved to Belfast in 1990, where he studied composition at the University of Ulster and was awarded a DPhil in 1997. His music has been performed at the Spitalfields Festival in London, the Belfast Festival at Queen’s and by the Crash Ensemble in Dublin.

In 2011 the Arts Council acknowledged his contribution to the arts in Northern Ireland through a Major Individual Artist Award. He used this award to write his Second String Quartet, which was premiered in 2012 by the JACK Quartet at the opening concert at Belfast's new Metropolitan Arts Centre (The MAC).

Peter Rosser also wrote extensively on a wide range of music genres, with essays published in The Wire, Perspectives of New Music and the Crescent Journal. 

He died following an illness on 24 November 2014, aged 44.

Stoke the Fire

Stoke the Fire

Stoke the Fire

Performances at the 2011 Sligo New Music Festival were about total immersion and intense focus, hinging on the listeners' willingness to share in a slow, smouldering process.

Published on 11 May 2011

Garrett Sholdice is a composer and a director of the record label and music production company Ergodos.

What Living is Like

What Living is Like

What Living is Like

The music of Martin Creed communicates on the simplest, most obvious terms – just like his visual art, but wilder.

Published on 1 February 2011

Stephen Graham is a lecturer in music at Goldsmiths, University of London. He blogs at www.robotsdancingalone.wordpress.com.

No Strategies

No Strategies

No Strategies

Born in Dublin in 1976, Judith Ring is a composer for whom the physical experience of a sound will shape everything.

Published on 1 February 2011

Garrett Sholdice is a composer and a director of the record label and music production company Ergodos.

Empty Space

Empty Space

Empty Space

Commissioned to compose a work in response to 9/11, John Adams confronted the question: can modern classical music still be the transcendental force we need it to be? by Barra Ó Séaghdha

Published on 1 August 2010

Barra Ó Séaghdha is a writer on cultural politics, literature and music and was previously co-editor of Graph cultural review

Sensuality Matters

Sensuality Matters

Sensuality Matters

There is a long line of theories claiming that we have reached the end of art, but they are forgetting something, writes Joanna Demers

Published on 1 June 2010

Joanna Demers is Associate Professor of Musicology at the Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California. She is the author of Listening Through the Noise: The Aesthetics of Experimental Electronic Music, to be published by Oxford University Press in July.

From Memory

From Memory

From Memory

"If you don’t have a friend who is an artist, you’re wasting your time." Kevin Volans remembers Morton Feldman

Published on 1 April 2010

Kevin Volans is a composer living in Ireland. His work, principally in the field of chamber and orchestral music, has been performed at the Berliner Festwochen, Vienna State Opera, Salzburger Festspiele, Lincoln Center, New York, Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the BBC Proms.

Have a Little Faith

Have a Little Faith

Have a Little Faith

Promoters of art mislead audiences by suggesting that there is meaning where there is none. Sometimes you just have to trust the artist, writes John McLachlan

Published on 1 February 2010

John McLachlan is a composer and member of Aosdána. www.johnmclachlan.info

Almost Nothing

Almost Nothing

Almost Nothing

Can you hear the difference between a pause and silence? Composer Tom Johnson explores recent trends in European minimalism and silent music.

Published on 1 December 2009

Tom Johnson studied privately with Morton Feldman and established himself as a composer of the minimalist group in New York in the 1970s, later settling in Paris, where he has lived since 1983. Among his works are The Four Note Opera, Failing, Narayana’s Cows and the Bonhoeffer Oratorio.

Maria de Alvear

Maria de Alvear

Maria de Alvear (voice), Songs of an Old Female Hippopotamus, Zwielicht, A trans Pavilion, Berlin, 25 July 2009

Published on 1 October 2009

Garrett Sholdice is a composer and a director of the record label and music production company Ergodos.

Roger Scruton, Understanding Music – Philosophy and Interpretation

Roger Scruton, Understanding Music – Philosophy and Interpretation

Continuum, London & New York

Published on 1 October 2009

Raymond Deane is a composer, pianist, author and activist. Together with the violinist Nigel Kennedy, he is a cultural ambassador of Music Harvest, an organisation seeking to create 'a platform for cultural events and dialogue between internationals and Palestinians...'.

Art of the Defeated

Art of the Defeated

Art of the Defeated

The inanity of commissioned music today is shocking, writes Peter Rosser, and for the radical, questioning artist, freedom means being cut adrift from employment. How did we arrive at this point, and what can be done about it?

Published on 1 October 2009

Peter Rosser (1970–2014) was a composer, writer and music lecturer.

He was born in London and moved to Belfast in 1990, where he studied composition at the University of Ulster and was awarded a DPhil in 1997. His music has been performed at the Spitalfields Festival in London, the Belfast Festival at Queen’s and by the Crash Ensemble in Dublin.

In 2011 the Arts Council acknowledged his contribution to the arts in Northern Ireland through a Major Individual Artist Award. He used this award to write his Second String Quartet, which was premiered in 2012 by the JACK Quartet at the opening concert at Belfast's new Metropolitan Arts Centre (The MAC).

Peter Rosser also wrote extensively on a wide range of music genres, with essays published in The Wire, Perspectives of New Music and the Crescent Journal. 

He died following an illness on 24 November 2014, aged 44.

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