James Camien McGuiggan holds a PhD in the philosophy of art from the University of Southampton. Prior to this, he studied music in Maynooth University. He is currently an independent scholar, with interests in the philosophy of music and R. G. Collingwood.
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.