RTÉ Announces Three-year Residency for Composer Gerald Barry

RTÉ Announces Three-year Residency for Composer Gerald Barry

Thursday, 28 May 2015, 4.00pm

RTÉ has announced a new Composer-in-Residence relationship with Irish composer Gerald Barry, running for three years and effective from autumn 2015 to summer 2018.

The residency will be framed around a number of commissions and performance opportunities. Both RTÉ orchestras, the quartet and the two choirs will perform new and existing music by Gerald Barry and the work will reach a wider audience via live broadcast, live streaming and recordings for RTÉ lyric fm.

Key elements include three new commissions for forces ranging from string quartet to choir and orchestra and the Irish premiere of Gerald’s Piano Concerto. A number of additional orchestral works will be performed by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the RTÉ Contempo Quartet.

The commissioned works will be:

  • Humiliated and Insulted for choir and orchestra, co-commissioned by RTÉ and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and based on Gerald’s existing work for solo piano. To be premiered by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir during the orchestra’s 2016–2017 season and repeated in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus.
  • Midday for string octet, commissioned by RTÉ and based on Barry’s existing work for solo piano. To be premiered at Music in Drumcliffe in May 2017 by the RTÉ Contempo Quartet and the Vogler Quartet.
  • String Quartet No. 1, commissioned by RTÉ. A reworking of Gerald’s original String Quartet No. 1. To be premiered in 2017 by the RTÉ Contempo Quartet.

Commenting on the new RTÉ relationship, John O’Kane, Executive Director RTÉ Orchestras, said:

Gerald Barry is now an Irish composer of international renown, whose work is regularly performed by some of the leading musicians and orchestras in many countries. His music connects on account of its distinctive and daringly original voice and he is rightly celebrated for creating music of enormous visceral impact and boundless energy, cross cut with a unique humour and pathos.

Perhaps less commented upon is that his music also creates moments of stillness, quiet soundscapes that somehow retain an uncompromising spirit and charge. This new residency renews a long association between RTÉ and Gerald Barry that stretches back over several decades. With some exciting plans in hand, we believe that the new project is something to celebrate. In particular, we are really looking forward to working with all of RTÉ’s performing groups to present the premieres of commissioned works and performances of existing works. Equally, we place great value on the potential to share this music-making with a very broad audience both nationally and internationally via the broadcasting and recording of the music in conjunction with our colleagues in RTÉ lyric fm.

Gerald Barry commented:

My first outing with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra was in the early ’70s with a performance of Lessness, my setting of Beckett’s text for voices and orchestra. Even at that early stage, the orchestra was a generous supporter, and the association has been a rich one for me, culminating in their recording of my opera, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. It’s a real pleasure and privilege to now renew that association with this residency and to have the opportunity to work with RTÉ’s other ensembles.


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