Dublin Sound Lab Presents Music Current 2023 Contemporary Music Festival

February 23, 2023

Music Current offers a visual treat for all music lovers as the annual four-day festival of new music returns this April:

Dublin Sound Lab’s Music Current festival returns with a visually stunning and technically outstanding four-day festival programme showcasing some of the most fearless innovators in contemporary music. The festival will host four new concerts, a chamber opera, workshops and discussions that explore the cutting edge of new music, as it takes over Project Arts Centre from April 12 – 15.

Music Current platforms some of the most adventurous musical and visual artists including celebrated Irish artist Jaki Irvine whose new work, Re_sett_ing_s, for ensemble and VJ, will be a major draw to this year’s event. This year the festival welcomes the innovative international new music artists and ensembles Nadar Ensemble, Schallfeld Ensemble, and Natacha Diels – all of whom are performing Ireland for the first time.

Festival Director, Fergal Dowling commenting on this year’s programme says:

Music Current Festival has always focused on the experience of live music, and this year we have put together a programme that is rich in multimedia, video, interactive electronics and new performance practices. Music creation is also always central to the festival and this year we have three new works written especially for Dublin Sound Lab, three workshops focusing on music creation, and every piece in every programme is an Irish premiere. So this really is music that has to be experienced, not just heard.

Dublin Sound Lab open this year’s concert festival with their own curated programme on Wednesday (12 April). With many Irish and world premieres, including three new works written especially for this performance by Francis Heery (Ireland), Jaki Irvine (Ireland) and Alessandro Massobrio’s (Italy) new Music Current Festival commission. This seemingly eclectic programme shows the results of extended collaborations combined with video and virtuosic interaction. Three modern multimedia and electronic music “classics” for soloists form the skeleton of the programme: Simon Steen-Anderson’s (Denmark) hypnotic Study for String Instrument #3, and Johannes Kreidler’s Bow – both of which are visually witty commentaries on the concept of multimedia composition and interaction – and Martin Matalon’s (Argentina) masterfully sonorous Traces V for clarinet and computer.

Natacha Diels presents Somewhere Beautiful, her one-person show, and her very first performance in Ireland (on Thursday 13 April), staging her unique vision of musical performance as multimedia theatre. The performance is like a journey into a strange landscape occupied by sounds and images that are at once both familiar and strange, reassuring and unsettling. Diels’ work combines choreographed movement, video animation, instrumental practice, and cynical play to create worlds of curiosity and unease.

Shallfeld Ensemble (Austria) are regular guests at major international music festivals worldwide (Wien Modern, Implus, Darmstadt, Poznan, EMA). They bring their trademark innovative repertoire and performance style to Dublin and Music Current Festival for the first time with their concert Chemical Etudes (Thursday 13 April). Here they present a programme of works by long-time collaborator Marko Ciciliani, overtly referencing game culture, and integrating competitive and interactive elements from computer games into compositions and concert settings.

Cold Sweat (Kalter Schweis) – a 30-minute “micro opera” – is the first in Michael Maierhof’s (Germany) series of “home operas”. The work is intended to be performed in domestic spaces, living rooms or public places – at Music Current Festival Cold Sweat will be performed at the Library of the Contemporary Music Centre, Dublin (Friday 14 April). Currently there are four completed works in the series, each based on a movie of a different genre. Cold Sweat is based on the 1970 gangster movie of the same name directed by Terrance Young and starring Charles Bronson, James Mason and Liv Ullmann. The opera focuses on a single scene showing James Mason being shot, threatening the villain with a gun, and protecting Bronson’s wife.

Nadar Ensemble (Belgium) presents a multi-layered musical and visual discourse, with avatars as main characters set into their Doppelgänger concert. The piece by Jessie Marino sets a magic and confusing atmosphere, Michael Beil and Pierre Jodlowski create a more gloomy wonderland, full of Lynchian alienation. The programme also features the famous “mirror scene” from the Marx Brothers’s film Duck Soup The scene presents us with the most dramatic moment of selfidentification in the 1933 film. Finally, Stefan Prins leads us to the dark side of the wondrous technology.

The festival also includes three participation workshops for audiences, musicians and composers on ‘composing with synthesizers’, ‘composing with video’, and ‘composing in real-time’. A panel discussion titled ‘Beyond Pitch: Perspectives on New Music Composition Methods’ features composers from Germany, Japan, Ireland and the USA.

The discussion will consider how music making is affected by technology, social changes and the political environment. Technologists are a very important part of this community, and conversations about changing how composers think about music or how they think about the world are key to the festival too.

Music Current has a reputation for presenting music that is both fun and visionary, and this year the programme is entirely made up of Irish and world premieres, with a strong focus on video and live electronics and the experience of live music. The festival is a showcase of the “newest of the new” music from Ireland and worldwide.

A central feature of Music Current Festival is the creative collaboration of composers and performers with the presentation of new works, and Music Current regularly commissions new compositions and creates opportunities for collaborative development.

“Dublin Sound Lab is doing an important job for those in Ireland who remain passionate about music in the post-war avant-garde lineage and who rarely get the opportunity to hear such ‘difficult’ music performed… …flying the flag in Ireland over the past decade for European modernism. [Liam Cagney, Journal of Music]

Dates for your diary at Music Current 2023…


Wednesday 12 April // 2pm–5pm // Composing with Synthesisers

Thursday 13 April // 2pm–4pm // Composing with Video

Friday 14 April // 2pm–5pm // Composing in Real-Time

*All workshops will be free, booking is essential and participants are asked to contribute €5 at time of booking to cover refreshments. Workshop events are supported by the Contemporary Music Centre.


Wednesday 12 April // 6pm–7pm // Beyond Pitch: Perspectives on New Music Composition Methods

Each year at Music Current Festival music audiences and the wider public are invited to engage in debates and discussions concerning how music making is affected by technology, social changes and the political environment.

In the current New Media and post-digital environment composers are increasingly using new techniques and strategies to organise sound. Here, six composers and musicians share insights into their personal working methods, compositional techniques, rationale, and the strategies they use to approach compositional problems.

This event is hosted in collaboration with the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland’s archive and resource centre for new music. It will be moderated by CMC Director, Ferguson, which will also be recorded for the ‘amplify’ podcast.

This public event is free to attend, all are welcome and booking is advised.


Music Current Festival invites composers to propose a new work for DUBLIN SOUND LAB to be performed in Dublin, April 2024. The proposal may be for any combination of flute, clarinet/bass clarinet, violin, cello, piano, harpsichord, MIDI keyboard, guitar, electric guitar, electronics or video.

DUBLIN SOUND LAB directors will review proposals according to flexible criteria, including consideration of who might benefit or contribute most through engagement with the festival over an extended period. One successful applicant will be offered an award of €4,000. The awardee will then work closely with DUBLIN SOUND LAB for the year ahead, or later with agreement, and may be invited to give public presentations on their work or to contribute to outreach, mentoring, or other professional development programmes in collaboration with our production partners.

Applications close 11:59pm (GMT), Monday 10 April 2023. The winning proposal will be announced on 31 May 2023 – http://www.musiccurrent.ie


PROJECT ARTS CENTRE, East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

DUBLIN SOUND LAB: Wednesday 12 April | 8pm | €16/14 (early bird €12)
NATACHA DIELS – SOLO: Thursday 13 April | 6pm | €16/14 (early bird €12)

SCHALLFELD ENSEMBLE: Thursday 13 April | 8pm | €16/14 (early bird €12)

COLD SWEAT* – Chamber Opera: Friday 14 April | 6pm & 8pm | €16/14 (early bird €12)

– *Please note the venue for this event is the Contemporary Music Centre, 18 Fishamble Street,
and there are two shows: 6pm and 8pm.

NADAR ENSEMBLE: Saturday 15 April | 8pm | €16/14 (early bird €12)

Box Office / Tel: +353 1 8819 613 / projectartscentre.ie

Further info at: http://www.musiccurrent.ie

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