Four Days of Cutting-edge Electronic Music at 3rd Music Current Festival

Xenia Pestova (Image: Chrios Webb)

Four Days of Cutting-edge Electronic Music at 3rd Music Current Festival

Contemporary music festival takes place on 12–14 April at Smock Alley Theatre.

The third annual Music Current contemporary music festival, curated by Dublin Sound Lab, will feature four days of new electronic music focussing on piano and keyboards.

Featuring composer Stefan Prins from Belgium, pianists and new music specialists Xenia Pestova and Stephane Ginsburgh, the Yarn|Wire ensemble from the US, improviser Izumi Kimura, composers Francis Heery, Elis Czerniak, Fergal Dowling and more, Music Current will feature four main concerts plus a panel discussion.

Among the works to be performed are Prins’s Piano Hero #1–#4, the Irish premiere of I should live in wires for leaving you by Ann Cleare, John Cage’s (Selections from) Sonatas & Interludes, new Music Current commissions by Czerniak and Heery, Fergal Dowling’s Mixed Synthetic Fabrics, and new works by Rick Burkhardt (USA) and Silvia Rosani (Italy). There will also be performances of work following Music Current’s recent call for proposals. The selected works will be workshopped and performed in a concert by Xenia Pestova on the final day, when one of the participating composers will be awarded the Music Current Commission of €2,500 for a new work to be premiered at the festival in 2019. 

The Music Current panel discussion will take place at the Contemporary Music Centre Library on 13 April at 6pm. Titled ‘Are We There Yet?’, the talk will consider current composition trends and will feature Stefan Prins, Ann Cleare, Xenia Pestova, sound artist Sven Anderson and musicologist Adrian Smith. It will be moderated by Evonne Ferguson, Director of CMC.

For full programme details and concert booking, see below or visit

Read The Journal of Music’s review of the first Music Current festival here.

Full programme
Music Current 2018
Smock Alley Theatre
6-7 Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar, Dublin 8

12 April, 8pm
Piano Hero

Stefan Prins – Piano Hero #1–#4
An immersive cycle for midi-keyboard, grand piano, live-cameras, video and live-electronics (2011–2017)

Stephane Ginsburgh, piano
Florian Bogner (ICST Zürich), computer music realisation
Alexis Nealon, sound projection

Stefan Prins makes his Irish debut at Music Current as festival guest composer. Prins is a fearless composer, eager to explore beyond convention and any perceived musical boundaries.

At times whimsical, or even throw-away, the Piano Hero pieces demonstrate Prins’s dedication to revealing the relationship between materials and their context, and to imagining new musical forms through extra-musical materials and technologies.

Together with Stephane Ginsburgh (piano) and Florian Bogner (computer music realisation) this team produce a tour de force of technical and technological virtuosity.


13 April, 8pm
Piano + Percussion

Catherine Lamb (USA) – Curvo Totalities
Ann Cleare (Ire) – I should live in wires for leaving you
Rick Burkhardt (USA) – New Work

piano/percussion quartet:
Ian Antonio, percussion
Laura Barger, piano
Ning Yu, piano
Russell Greenburg, percussion

The virtuosic Yarn|Wire ensemble (USA) bring two new works by rising stars of the American new music scene – Catherine Lamb and award-winning playwright, performer, composer Rick Burkhardt – together with the Irish premier of Ann Cleare’s spellbinding I should live in wires for leaving you.


14 April, 6pm
Prepared Piano

John Cage  – (Selections from) Sonatas & Interludes
Elis Czerniak – New Commission (prepared piano and live electronics)
Francis Heery – New Commission (prepared piano and live electronics)

Izumi Kimura, piano
Elis Czerniak, computer
Francis Heery, computer
Alexis Nealon, sound projection

One of Ireland’s most inventive improvisers, Izumi Kimura joins forces with composers Francis Heery and Elis Czerniak to reinvent the ‘prepared piano’ and extend its possibilities with live electronics through two new works specially commissioned for Music Current Festival. The new works are contextualised with John Cage’s seminal Sonatas and Interludes, one of the best-known works from the ‘inventor’ of the prepared piano. These new works follow Cage’s original preparations to fix screws, bolts and rubbers inserted between the strings.

This programme is supported by Jeffers Pianos, in association with Galway Jazz Festival and Music Network.


14 April, 8pm
Piano + Electronics

Participant Composers – Selected Works
Silvia Rosani  – Music Current Commission (for pianist, keyboard instruments, resonating metal plates and computer)
Fergal Dowling – Mixed Synthetic Fabrics
Helga Arias Parra  – Astraglossa

Xenia Pestova, piano
Silvia Rosani, live electronics
Helga Arias Parra, computer
Fergal Dowling, computer
Alexis Nealon, sound projection

Powerful, refined, sensitive, imaginative and precise, Xenia Pestova (UK) brings her talents to the eight new works selected from the international ‘call for participation’. This programme also premieres two new commissions, including Silva Rosani’s award-winning new work for piano, resonating metal plates and keyboard instruments. Together with the Irish premiere of Helga Arias Parra’s tactile Astraglossa, and Fergal Dowling new Arts Council commission, Mixed Synthetic Fabrics (for piano and live electronics), Xenia has assembled a visual and aural feast.


For more, visit

This news item is supported by Dublin Sound Lab.

Published on 4 March 2018

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