Yannis Kyriakides, whose online installation forms part of Sound and Music’s first season
Sound and Music
Sound and Music has launched its first season. The result of the merger of the British Music Information Centre, the Contemporary Music Network, the Society for the Promotion of New Music and Sonic Arts Network, the new organisation will produce live events as well as providing information and resources, fostering education and participation in new music and hosting a ‘virtual venue and community’ on its website.
Performances in the inaugural season include a new arrangement of Brian Eno’s Apollo album, featuring the ensemble Icebreaker and the pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole; Rufus Wainwright’s new opera, Prima Donna, which will be premiered at the Manchester International Festival (see page 49 for a review of the Wainwright/Wilson Sonnets); a set of commissions for new raga compositions involving the BBC Concert Orchestra and Bollywood singers; the Cut & Splice festival, which features the American composer Alvin Lucier; the Cutting Edge concert series at London’s Warehouse venue; the Sound Source experimental night; and the touring Fertilizer festival, which focuses on ‘good shit from Poland’ this year.
The organisation’s website will provide ‘opportunities for networking, listening, promotion and e-commerce’ with webcasts and a special online installation by the Greek composer Yannis Kyriakides.
Sound and Music will also house an online and physical collection of scores and recordings and is planning a series of CD releases.
Educational ventures include a week-long residential summer school geared toward teenagers; the Sonic Postcards project; The Shortlist, which offers a platform for younger composers; and the New Voices and Contemporary Voices schemes, which will promote and publish new works. soundandmusic.org
The Una Corda project is a voluntary organisation founded by members of Ireland’s music community to support Cuban musicians and specifically Cuban pianists. Since 2005, groups of Irish piano tuners have been visiting the island, sharing their skills and developing a new generation of Cuban piano tuners. As part of the project, hundreds of Irish holiday-makers have lent a hand by transporting supplies of strings and spare parts, a few kilos at a time, in their luggage. This July, Una Corda has organised two fund-raising concerts in Ireland by five-time Grammy award winner Chucho Valdés who has been a friend and supporter of the Una Corda project since its inception. Valdes performs with full band in Vicar Street in Dublin on Tuesday 21st July and in a special solo concert at the Cork School of Music on Monday 20th July. unacorda.org
New Books on Music
Loops, edited by Lee Brackstone and Richard King, is a new, twice-yearly journal published by Faber and Domino Recording Company. Beginning in June and focusing on the pop music world, Loops will publish tour diaries, non sequiturs and think pieces. The first issue will include contributions from Michael Bracewell, Lavinia Greenlaw, Colin Greenwood, Nick Kent and Jon Savage.
Faber also publish Journeying Boy this year, the 1928–38 diaries of the young Benjamin Britten, selected and edited by John Evans. The diaries cover the period between his arrival as a boarder at Gresham’s School, his private lessons with Frank Bridge, and his student days at the Royal College of Music. faber.co.uk
August sees the publication of The Blue Moment: Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue and the Remaking of Modern Music by Richard Williams, which presents the album in a wider cultural context, making connections to painting, literature, philosophy and poetry. faber.co.uk
Harvard University Press have published Selling Sounds: The Commercial Revolution in American Music by David Suisman which explores the rise of music as a big business around the turn of the twentieth century, discussing the music entrepreneurs who laid the foundation for today’s industry, with new products, technologies, and commercial strategies to incorporate music into the daily rhythm of modern life. hup.harvard.edu
Cambridge Scholars Publishing have recently published Anáil an Bhéil Bheo: Orality and Modern Irish Culture. Edited by Nessa Cronin, Seán Crosson and John Eastlake, it brings together essays by scholars in the fields of music, history, folklore and theatre. c-s-p.org
Four Courts Press have published the tenth volume in the Irish Musical Studies series, Music, Ireland and the Seventeenth Century. Edited by Barra Boydell and Kerry Heuston, among the contributors are Adrian Scahill (‘Irish traditional music and the seventeenth century’), Andrew Robinson (‘Narcissus Marsh: ground-breaking bishop’), John Cunningham (‘The Irish harp in non-Irish contexts’), and Martin Adams (‘Critical reflections on Purcell via his music for the centenary of Trinity College Dublin’). fourcourtspress.ie
Constable in London have published Revolution in the Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan Vol. 1 1957–73 by Clinton Heylin. It recounts the story of every Dylan song as it was written, charting his rise as a writer, where he gained his inspiration, the moments that produced some of his most famous songs as well as the lesser known stories. constablerobinson.com
Traditional Music Releases
Cló Iar-Chonnachta, the traditional-music and song label based in the west of Ireland, is currently seeking recording proposals from traditional musicians and singers for its upcoming releases. Interested individuals should email music [at] cic [dot] ie or send sample tracks on CD with a covering letter to CIC Music, Cló Iar-Chonnachta, Indreabhán, Co. Galway. Cló Iar-Chonnachta’s recent releases include fiddler and composer Charlie Lennon’s album of new compositions, Turning the Tune, solo recordings by fiddler Brian Conway and flautist Catherine McEvoy as well as the fiddle/concertina duet album by Ben Lennon and Tony O’Connell, Rossinver Braes. Upcoming releases this summer include the first solo album from Dervish flute-player Liam Kelly, Sweetwood, a new album from Mick, Michelle and Louise Mulcahy, Reelin’ in Tradition, and the second solo album by flautist John Wynne, Ar Nós na Gaoithe. cic.ie
The American jazz musician Ornette Coleman is the curator of this year’s Meltdown Festival at the Southbank Centre in June. The festival, which has previously been curated by David Bowie, Patti Smith and Robert Wyatt among many others, has invited a different eminent musician to curate the festival each year since its inception in 1993. Coleman’s selections include Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band (with Sean Lennon and Cornelius), Moby, Bobby McFerrin and Charlie Haden (one of the original members of Coleman’s quartet). Coleman himself will be joined by the Master Musicians of Jajouka to play music of and inspired by his albums The Shape of Jazz to ComeThis is Our Music on 19 and 21 June respectively. meltdown.southbankcentre.co.uk
The Reel Deal
A new television series on traditional Irish music will be broadcast on RTÉ 1 in June and July. The Reel Deal, a seven-part programme presented by Aoibhínn Ní Shúilleabháin, Brian O’Connell and Bláthnaid Ní Dhonnchadha will be ‘a behind the scenes look at the contemporary world of traditional music’ and will visit musicans, groups and organisations from across Ireland. Among the many featured are the concertina player Noel Hill, the Antrim group Beoga, the fiddle player Zoë Conway, the Irish Traditional Music Archive and Na Píobairí Uilleann. The first programme airs on 12 June at 7:30pm. rte.ie
Music Network have announced details of this year’s Young Musicwide Award, which is aimed at young chamber ensembles this year. The programme will assist an ensemble over a three-year period by providing performance opportunities, publicity support, assistance with the production of a CD and masterclass opportunities. Previous recipients of the award, which rotates around young jazz, classical and traditional groups from year to year, have included Trihornophone, the Callino Quartet and Fidil.
The selection will be made through an audition process in September. The closing date for applications is Monday, 6 July. musicnetwork.ie
The American folk singer and banjo player Abigail Washburn and the electronic music producer The Shanghai Restoration Project (a.k.a. Dave Liang) have released Afterquake, an album in aid of the victims of the earthquakes that devastated the Sichuan province of China in May 2008.
Washburn and Liang travelled to the region earlier this year and recorded the sounds of building construction and playgrounds, as well as musical performances by locals, all of which are combined on the seven-track album. The proceeds will benefit the Sichuan Quake Relief organisation. afterquakemusic.com
West Cork Chamber Music Festival
The fourteenth West Cork Chamber Music Festival will run in Bantry from 27 June to 5 July with a particular focus on the music of Dmitri Shostakovich. The Russian pianist Alexander Melnikov will perform Shostakovich’s Twenty-four Preludes and Fugues over two evenings, while the Belgian string quartet Quatuor Danel will perform a number of the composer’s quartets along with works by his friend, Mieczysław Weinberg. Symphony No. 15 will be heard in a rarely-performed chamber version for piano trio and three percussionists. westcorkmusic.ie
Association of Irish Composers
The Association of Irish Composers has a new website. The AIC is the representative body for composers in Ireland (including Northern Ireland) and has a three-fold brief: to provide information to composers, to represent and lobby for composers, and to promote composers and their work.
The new website features a news feed with information on funding and commission opportunities as well as an event guide and a listening post. Available for download are a set of commission guidelines with suggested rates for new work. The AIC offers advice to both composers and commissioners on the commissioning process. composers.ie
Newport at Fifty
The Newport Folk Festival celebrates its fiftieth birthday this year, taking place in the Fort Adams State Park, Newport, Rhode Island on 1–2 August. It has been renamed George Wein’s Folk Festival, after the festival’s founding booker and the curator of this year’s festival. Pete Seeger, who performed at the first festival in 1959 and who turned ninety last May, will be making a number of appearances, as will Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez and Billy Bragg. Later generations will also be represented, with the Fleet Foxes, Josh Ritter, Gillian Welch and Neko Case performing.
The Newport Folk Festival, at which Bob Dylan played his first ‘electric’ set in 1965 disappeared during the 1970s but was revived in 1985 and has run continually since. folkfestival50.com
World Saxophone Congress
The Irish saxophonist Kevin Hanafin will present a programme of contemporary Irish saxophone music at the World Saxophone Congresss, which takes place in Thailand on 7–12 July.
Hanafin, who lectures in Saxophone at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and the DIT Conservatory of Music, will perform Arabesque by John Buckley, I Sleep at Waking by Ian Wilson, Two Miniatures by Greg Caffery (world premiere for saxophone) and Arioso by Éibhlís Farrell. The Congress, which is the world’s largest gathering of saxophonists, will be opened by a performance of traditional Thai music played on saxophone as well as new works using traditional Thai modes. wscxv.org
Desire and Duty
Nicholas Carolan, Director of the Irish Traditional Music Archive, will give the Breandán Breathnach Memorial Lecture, ‘Desire and Duty: The Collecting of Irish Traditional Music’, at the Willie Clancy Summer School, which runs 4-12 July in Miltown Malaby. setdancingnews.net/wcss/wcsss.htm
Carrick Water Music
The Carrick Water Music Festival will take place on 4–9 August across various venues in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim. Events this year will include Redmond O’Toole (guitar) and Elizabeth Cooney (violin); Opera Theatre Company’s Alcina; and a performance involving the traditional flute player Emer Mayock with the violinist Gwendolin Masin and the groups Tarab and Yurodny. carrickwatermusic.com
Contemporary Irish Music CD
Dublin’s Contemporary Music Centre has launched the eighth volume in its promotional CD series, Contemporary Music from Ireland. The CD, which is distributed to radio stations, festivals, performers and universities, is available free of charge from the CMC.
The latest CD includes music by Kevin Volans, Andrew Hamilton, John Kinsella, Elaine Agnew, Deirdre McKay, Frank Lyons, Gerald Barry, Anne-Marie O’Farrell, Jennifer Walshe, Jürgen Simpson and Martin O’Leary, with performances by, among others, the National Chamber Choir of Ireland, Apartment House and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
Videos to accompany the CD are available to view on the CMC website. cmc.ie
A twelve-part series of performances called Zwielicht (meaning ‘twilight’) is underway at the A trans Pavilion in Berlin. As the name suggests, the concerts have a roving start time, having begun at 16:04pm during winter and happening progressively later as winter advanced to spring.
Curated by two Canadians living in Berlin – the composer Marc Sabat and artist Marieke Lee, the series is guided by an impulse to ‘bring unexpected approaches to experimental sound into a shared space’. plainsound.org/zwielicht
MBNA Limerick International Music Festival
The MBNA Shannon International Music Festival is now known as the MBNA Limerick International Music Festival. Hosted by the Irish Chamber Orchestra, this summer’s festival begins on 29 June and will run until 12 July. The Franciscan Church in Limerick City has been adopted as the new festival venue.
As well as orchestral performances of music by Bach, Vivaldi, Corelli and Boccherini, and others, the festival will feature choral concerts and chamber music performances. The young Irish flautist Fiona Kelly and the British violinist Jennifer Pike will be showcased in particular.
Music Factory, a five-day summer camp for children directed by members of the ICO, involving drumming, dance singing and songwriting, will take place in the orchestra’s newly-built rehearsal studio on the University of Limerick campus.
The festival will conclude with Haydn’s last major work, his Harmoniemesse, performed by the ICO, the National Chamber Choir and soloists. irishchamberorchestra.info
Also in Limerick, on 2–5 July, is the first weekend session run by the local CoMA group, which stands for Contemporary Music-Making for Amateurs. New works by Irish composers Karen Power, Jennifer Walshe and Donnacha Dennehy will be rehearsed by the participating musicians, who will be joined by members of CoMA London and their conductor Gregory Rose. The weekend will close with a concert at the Belltable Arts Centre. belltable.ie/comaweekend
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Published on 1 June 2009