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October 15, 2021

Dublin’s annual new music festival returns with six concerts in four days featuring the best of new Irish and international contemporary electronic music, Smock Alley Theatre, 8–11 November 2021. MUSIC CURRENT, now in its fifth year, gives a platform for the newest contemporary electronic music.

This year’s festival has a decidedly multi-media flavour, featuring: interactive web-based performance, performance with video, computer-based score following, private YouTube performances transported to the concert hall, guns, shovels and even buckets of sand.

The festival opens with the Irish debut concert of Australian pianist and new music adventurer Zubin Kanga, who performs in Dublin for the first time. A champion of collaboration and new music commissioning, Zubin performs a highly personal programme entirely of works he personally commissioned for piano and electronics, featuring: the Irish premiere of Alexander Schubert’s WIKIPIANO. NET, in which audience members can add to, or alter, the score; Michael Finnissy’s and Adam de la Cour’s, new Beethoven-inspired “Hammerklavier (Part 2)”; the world premiere of Nicole Lizée’s, revised “Scorsese Etudes”; as well as new works for piano and electronics by Scott McLaughlin and Fergal Dowling

Every year MUSIC CURRENT invites composers from around the world to develop new works for the festival. This year seven Irish composers have been invited to collaborate with five Irish soloists to prepared a concert of entirely new works based on the their year-long collaboration. The resulting Music Current Soloists Concert is a thought-provoking mix of intimate, imaginative, challenging and playful new works by established and next generation composers: Seán O’Dálaigh, Elis Czerniak, Jane Deasy, Gráinne Mulvey, Darragh Kelly, Paul Scully, Neil O’Connor, with works performed by Paul Roe, Marja Gaynor, Ilse de Ziah, Joe O’Farrell and Darragh Morgan.

This concert is normally associated with new works developed within the festival, rather than in advance, with one of the participating composers being offered a commission for the following year’s festival. This year the commission award will be open to online submissions and the announcement will be made at this event.

This programme is part of a double-bill concert which also showcases “classic” works from the repertoire. Darragh Morgan, one of the most highly regarded interpreters of contemporary music, will give the Irish concert premiere of Pierre Boulez’s “Anthèmes 2”, a seminal work for solo violin and electronics, in which the computer literally “follows” Darragh’s performance in real-time and renders a live accompaniment. Boulez’s masterwork is twinned with Frank Lyon’s recent commission “Spin 2”, commissioned by Darragh Morgan, the work follows similar development to Anthèmes 2, having undergone revisions and addition of an electronic part.

The festival sees the Irish debut of renowned London-based iconoclasts, Bastard Assignments, who bring their unique brand of collaborative composition and ensemble performance to Dublin in a programme of four recent works. This concert is a true multi-media performance that defies the limits of what is considered music – this is a show that can only be experienced live.

The festival closes with a double-bill concert of Irish and international works for flute and electronics. Australian flautist, Lina Andonovska gives a programme exclusively of Irish premiers featuring some of the most widely performed international composers of the current generation, including: Brigitta Muntendorf’s “Public Privacy #1 (flute cover)”, a study on the schizophrenic relationship between at-home YouTuber soloists and their very public performances; Sarah Nemtsov, “amplified imagination”; and the Irish premieres of Nicole Lizée’s cinema-inspired “Tarantino Etudes”.

Renowned Scottish flautist and new music champion, Richard Craig, closes the festival with a programme of recent works built around Richard Barrett’s “Vale”, mesmeric study for amplified flute. Richard will also premiere Seán O’Dálaigh’s intimate and searching “Landscape II” for flute; a work Seán wrote especially for Richard in response to the Music Current 2019 commission.


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