Pulitzer-winning Composer Caroline Shaw to Perform at Louth Contemporary Music Festival
The Pulitzer-Prize-winning American composer Caroline Shaw will perform with the Esposito Quartet at the 2023 Louth Contemporary Music Society Festival in Dundalk on 17 June. She will also attend a performance of her choral work How to Fold the Wind on 16 June, performed by Chamber Choir Ireland conducted by Paul Hillier.
Shaw, a violinist and vocalist, won her Pulitzer in 2013 for her vocal work Partita for 8 Voices, written for the ensemble A Roomful of Teeth. The citation described the work as ‘a highly polished and inventive a cappella work’. The Partita also recently featured as the theme music for the BBC One series Marriage.
In Dundalk, where the festival this year has the theme of ‘Folks’ Music’, Shaw and the Esposito Quartet (Mia Cooper, violin; Anna Cashel, violin; Joachim Roewer, viola; and William Butt, cello) will perform a group of her contemporary folk songs, and the quartet will also play her work The Evergreen. In addition, the programme will feature the new String Quartet No. 2 by British composer Laurence Crane, whose Natural World recently featured at the New Music Dublin festival.
How to Fold the Wind by Shaw was co-commissioned in 2019 by Chamber Choir Ireland and Kilkenny Arts Festival, with funds from the Arts Council, and it was premiered online during the pandemic in 2021. Describing the work, Hillier has said:
Caroline Shaw’s new work is something of a mystery. Musically it is very open and direct, and, I must add, very beautiful, but what is it about? When Caroline was beginning to work on the piece, she told me that the only thing she knew at that point was that it would be about origami…. The music uses ordinary singing, but it also calls for other vocal sounds drawn from everyday speech, all used in a very structured but delicate manner. The piece is something of a mystery until you hear it, and … it is one of the finest pieces to come my way in a long time…
Also on the programme are world premieres commissioned by Louth Contemporary Music Society from two composers who have previously featured at the event: American composer Linda Catlin Smith’s Folio and Canadian composer Cassandra Miller’s The City, Full of People.
The festival takes place over two days and, on Saturday 17 June, there will be three concerts, beginning with the Explore Ensemble at 1pm in the Oriel Centre performing music by Clara Iannotta, Miller and a world premiere by Irish composer Sam Perkin (Awe for video and string quartet). At 3pm, the Sigma Project will perform at St Vincent’s Chapel in Dundalk (this concert is already sold out), at 5pm Shaw and the Esposito Quartet are at the Spirit Store in Dundalk, and at 8pm there will be unique concert with several renowned Irish traditional musicians, led by Zoë Conway, performing Terry Riley’s classic In C. Artists include Dónal Lunny, Paddy Glackin, Máirtín O’Connor, Mick O’Brien, and Louise and Michelle Mulcahy. This concert is also sold out.
Commenting on this year’s festival, Eamonn Quinn, Artistic Director of LCMS, said:
Caroline Shaw, a Grammy award-winning musician, is known for her innovative approach to classical music. Her upcoming performance at the Louth Contemporary Music Society’s festival in June 2023 is sure to be a highlight of the event. Her music combines traditional and modern elements, creating a sound that is both fresh and accessible. Not only will Caroline Shaw’s unique style and talent be showcased at the Spirit Store concert, but the festival itself is a hub for new and exciting music that is sure to attract a diverse range of music lovers.
For full details on all concerts and to book, visit www.louthcms.org.
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Published on 30 May 2023