Finola Merivale, Éna Brennan, Wyvern Lingo and Amelia Clarkson Announced as Winners of Female Commissioning Scheme
The expanded scheme, which issued a call for submissions in December, now has four awards worth a total of €38k, with funding provided by the NCH and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media under the Creative Ireland Programme.
The winners this year are Éna Brennan (new commission for an established composer; €10k), Amelia Clarkson (new commission for an emerging composer; €3k), Finola Merivale (recording award; €10k) and Wyvern Lingo (project award; €15k).
Brennan’s new work Rupture is part of a series of works that explore conflict, dichotomy and rupture within the body and mind. Following on from her opera as part of Irish National Opera’s recent 20 Shots of Opera, violinist and composer Brennan, who also works under the name Dowry, continues the series with a new 10–12 minute piece written for strings, electronics, percussion and upper voices.
Clarkson, a composer from County Down, titles her new piece I AM LEDA. It is a non-verbal retaliation to Yeats’ poem ‘Leda and the Swan’, considering the victim’s perspective in the story and challenging victim-blaming and the effects of romanticising non-consensual sex in classical and popular culture.
Finola Merivale, an Irish composer based in New York, will use the award to release her debut recording Do You Hear Me Now?, an album of music composed between 2012 and the present, for strings, piano and electronics. Pieces will include Release for violin and piano, commissioned by Music Network in 2019, and Do You Hear Me Now? for string trio, commissioned by Kirkos Ensemble. The album is a collaboration with the Desdemona Ensemble.
Winner of the project award, Wyvern Lingo (Caoimhe Barry, Karen Cowley and Saoirse Duane) will create a livestream concert performance based on their new album Awake You Lie that will feature digital installations by Liing Heaney and special guests.
Commenting on the awards, Karen Power, Chair of Sounding the Feminists, said:
STF were hugely impressed by the depth and diversity of creative voices that emerged through this scheme. There is an abundance of skilled women working across many areas of Ireland’s music sector. We are thrilled that this partnership enables us to support even a small portion of some of the most original and valuable work out there.
The Female Commissioning Scheme is part of a five-year initiative with NCH and Sounding the Feminists, established in 2018 and supported by the Department under the Creative Ireland programme with a co-funding commitment of €20k a year over five years. Previous winners include Jennifer Walshe and Claudia Schwab.
The judges for the awards this year were Cat Hope, Anne Hilde Neset and Áine O’Dwyer (commissions award); Catherine Sikora, Heather Roche and Toner Quinn (recording award); and Juliet Fraser, Olga Barry and Belinda Quirke (project award).
For more on Sounding the Feminists, visit www.soundingthefeminists.com.