James Camien McGuiggan

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.

A Tradition Carried Forward
'MÁM' by Michael Keegan-Dolan and dance company Teaċ Daṁsa, featuring concertina player Cormac Begley and the Berlin-based collective s t a r g a z e, is currently on tour. James Camien McGuiggan reviews a performance in Portarlington Community Centre on 28 October.
Starting with Intent
Music Network's first tour of the autumn season began with Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Cormac de Barra and Mark Redmond at the Sugar Club in Dublin on 14 September. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
Clarity of Vision
Celebrating ten years, Kirkos ensemble hosted their festival '10' in Dublin in July, featuring new work from Susan Geaney, Sebastian Adams, Jonathan Nangle, Áine Mallon and Robbie Blake. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
In-Depth Experience in West Cork
Returning for its first live festival since 2019, the West Cork Chamber Music Festival took place from 24 June to 3 July with over 100 concerts. James Camien McGuiggan attended for three days and reviews a number of events.
Representing Ireland's Damaged Past
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.
Shades of Drama and Light
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.
Making Unlikely Things Possible
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.
Reflections on Home from Norway to Ukraine
Norwegian violinist and composer Henning Kraggerud recently performed with the Irish Chamber Orchestra at the NCH. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
Drawing on a Host of Traditions
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.
Remembering Stanford
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.
Capturing the Darkness and Lightness of Maxwell Davies
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.
Picturing Flutes
The Music Current festival in Dublin ended with concerts by Lina Andonovska and Richard Craig. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
Hear Him Out
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.
Shouting About Housing
'Music for Cranes', a site-specific performance by Kirkos ensemble, recently took place as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
Sounds and Sadness in South Dublin
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.
Within the Stillness
Released in March, 'Lipids' features three works by Barry O'Halpin performed by Crash Ensemble and the composer. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
A European Tour Under Lockdown
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.
Is Music Timeless?
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.
Love of the Living Sounds
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.
Is Great Music Always Subversive?
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.
Bringing Out the Stillness
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.
Celtic Connection or Talented Imitator?
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.
The Breadth of Contemporary Flute
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.
Making the Case for Ina Boyle
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.
Extreme Encounters
American composer Missy Mazzoli's 'Breaking the Waves' received its European premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival in August. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
The Freedom of Feakle
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.
Dark Clouds Will Gather 'Round Me
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.
Trading Licks
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.
Broaching the Disconnect
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.
Closed-hearted Ranting on Pop
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.