James Camien McGuiggan studied music in Maynooth University and has a PhD in the philosophy of art from the University of Southampton. He is currently an independent scholar, with interests in the philosophy of music and R. G. Collingwood.
Farpoint Recordings have recently released 'SacrumProfanum' by composer Benjamin Dwyer, a work for ensemble and tape inspired by the medieval Sheela-na-gig carvings found in Ireland. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
Last week, the National Symphony Orchestra performed under Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro a programme of works by Salonen, Mahler, and Stravinsky, featuring mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
The Music Current contemporary music festival returned last week post-pandemic and featured international groups Splinter Reeds, Loadbang and Ensemble Garage, Barry Guy and Maya Homburger, and a range of premieres. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
Norwegian violinist and composer Henning Kraggerud recently performed with the Irish Chamber Orchestra at the NCH. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
The Fidelio Trio have recently released an album of chamber music by Ernest Moeran with works dating from the 1920s to the 40s. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
Music for Galway's annual Midwinter Festival took place last weekend (21–23 January) and focused on the Irish composer Charles Villiers Stanford. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
Peter Maxwell Davies' 'The Lighthouse', Irish National Opera's most recent production which ends its national tour this week, is based on a true story about keepers who go missing without a trace. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
The Music Current festival in Dublin ended with concerts by Lina Andonovska and Richard Craig. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
Composer Dave Flynn has recently released an album of string quartet and chamber works, 'Irish Minimalism', which combines traditional Irish and contemporary music. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
'Music for Cranes', a site-specific performance by Kirkos ensemble, recently took place as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
The latest release from Farpoint Recordings is a combination of field recordings from Dún Laoghaire by Anthony Kelly and improvisations from pianist Izumi Kimura and violinist Cora Venus Lunny. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
Released in March, 'Lipids' features three works by Barry O'Halpin performed by Crash Ensemble and the composer. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
The Sligo International Chamber Music Festival took place online this year with four concerts and three new commissions from Irish composers. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
Presented as part of the MusicTown festival this year, 'A Weldon Kane Report – Joe Heaney Is a Time Traveller' explores the revelation that there exists a secret society of time-travelling Irish traditional musicians. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
Composer Karen Power's new album 'human nature' combines recordings of the living world with improvisations from musicians such as Michelle O'Rourke and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
A major book by American writer Ted Gioia, published last autumn, explores the history of music and many overlooked traditions, and argues that the best music has almost always been subversive. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
Violinist Darragh Morgan and pianist John Tilbury have recently released a recording of the demanding work 'For John Cage' by Morton Feldman on Diatribe records. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
Axel Klein, who has written a number of works on Irish classical music, has recently published a voluminous biography of the almost totally unknown Irish-American, Paris-resident composer Swan Hennessy. Is his music worth reviving? James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
Flute-player Lina Andonovska's much-anticipated debut album 'A Way a Lone a Last' features five new works by Barry O'Halpin, Nick Roth, Donnacha Dennehy and Judith Ring. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
A recent book on the life and work of the Irish composer Ina Boyle suggests an oeuvre worth uncovering. James Camien McGuiggan explores the arguments.
American composer Missy Mazzoli's 'Breaking the Waves' received its European premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival in August. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
The Feakle Festival in County Clare featured a range of traditional music acts, from the Martin Hayes Quartet to Cormac Begley and Steve Cooney. James Camien McGuiggan reviews two of the weekend concerts.
Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi's opening concert from their current Irish tour had a leitmotif of displacement, writes James Camien McGuiggan, as well as political moments.
The Saturday night double-header at the Spike cello festival featured traditional musicians Liam O’Connor and Cormac Begley with Cello Ireland, and free improviser Ernst Reijseger – a night that went from Irish slow airs to musical comedy. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival is gradually transforming our concept of the new music event, writes James Camien McGuiggan, addressing the disconnect from the rest of musical life – this year's 10-day festival showed we are beginning to see the rewards.
Roger Scruton's new book 'Music as an Art' is generous and insightful when it comes to some musics, but those moments are far too rare, writes James Camien McGuiggan.