Over 80 Irish Composers to Feature in ‘Composing the Island’

Over 80 Irish Composers to Feature in ‘Composing the Island’

Three weeks of concerts to include almost 200 works written between 1916 and 2016.

Eighty-two Irish composers – or composers with a strong connection to Ireland – will feature in a major series of concerts this September at the National Concert Hall called Composing the Island.

Taking place over three weeks (7–25 September), and presented by RTÉ and the NCH, the series, which is part of the 1916 commemorations and is sponsored by Bord na Móna, features 27 concerts with almost 200 works written between 1916 and 2016.

Charles Villiers Stanford is well represented with almost a dozen works being performed, as are other composers who were prominent in the early twentieth century: Hamilton Harty, Herbert Hughes and Arnold Bax.

Several significant works by mid- and late-twentieth century composers Frederick May, Aloys Fleischmann, T.C. Kelly and Gerard Victory will also be featured. The majority of works to be performed are by living composers, with Raymond Deane, Philip Martin, Donnacha Dennehy, John Kinsella, Seóirse Bodley and Gerald Barry each having between four and seven works performed. 

Several female composers are to be featured, including a major work by Rhoda Coghill (1903–2000) titled Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Rocking (1923) that will finish the series. Other women composers whose work will be performed include Deirdre Gribbin, Jane O’Leary, Deirdre McKay, Joan Trimble and Judith Ring.

There are also specially commissioned world premieres by Benedict Schlepper-Connollly, Andrew Hamilton, Ian Wilson and Ronan Guilfoyle, and a range of works by composers of the new generation such as Michael Gallen, Sebastian Adams, Garrett Sholdice and Jonathan Nangle.

Performing groups and artists over the three weeks include the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Vanbrugh and Con Tempo Quartets, Hugh Tinney, Fidelio Trio, Crash Ensemble, Robin Tritschler, Michelle O’Rourke, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Peter Tuite and many more.

While many composers in the series will be familiar, there are also works by less well-known artists such as Norman Hay, Charles Kitson and Col. Wilhelm Fritz Brase.

Composing the Island is the most extensive exposition of the work of Irish composers ever undertaken in such a short period, but there are some surprising omissions, such as the work of John McLachlan, Shaun Davey, Jennifer Walshe, Bill Whelan (who was recently elected to Aosdána), Benjamin Dwyer, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and Dave Flynn. 

To coincide with the series, a book titled The Invisible Art: Composing The Island, will also be published. The work consists of a number of essays and short pieces by a range of writers and will provide an overview of classical music composition in Ireland in the last 100 years. Contributors include Axel Klein and Liam Cagney. The book is edited by Michael Dervan of the Irish Times.

For full details see the brochure below or visit https://goo.gl/vpgoYu

Published on 26 June 2016

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