Ireland at the moment

It’s been a long few weeks and I really should be settling in to write one of the four assignments I have lined up in front of me at the moment but… here I am! A number of things cropped up recently that I just want to mention before they go out of my head!

I have mentioned the Contemporary Music Centre (CMC) a number of times in other posts but I think it’s important to mention it again in light of a whole host of very prominent projects, in which the centre is now involved (every time I write a long sentence I think of my Prof Modes of Writing lecturer Katie Donovan telling me it’s too long or too clunky – sorry Katie, that one was a mess, but blogging gives me no proofing time!!!). I was at the CMC this evening (hi @jonathangrimes and @benedictsc ) for the launch of new music ensemble Concorde’s new album. Paul Roe, Elaine Clarke and Madeleine Staunton performed works written for the ensemble and the evening was hosted by CMC Director Evonne Ferguson and RTÉ lyric fm’s Bernard Clarke. Clarke is always a fascinating speaker, whether in one to one conversation or in front of a crowd. This evening he spoke of how new media is changing the nature of what he does, what all of us involved in new music do, and what our audience is doing. (‘If you look at my profile on Facebook you’ll see I have 288 friends. I still drink alone. But I have 288 “friends”‘ – Clarke)

‘The audience is now more powerful than the programmer… Content is no longer King.’ Clarke was referring to the rapid and constantly changing nature of communication today and that it’s the communication itself and the sense of community, which is now becoming more powerful than the content of that communication. It’s no longer good enough to say that Nova is on RTÉ lyric fm on Sunday evenings at 9pm. I’m not in on Sunday evenings at 9pm – when is Nova available to me and, more importantly, how?

Clarke predicted the end of broadcasting as we know it, and not in the distant future either. Watch this space! (The CD, by the way, is available from Navona Records and going on this evening’s performances I can’t wait to get my hands on my own copy. Stocking filler Santa!?)

This evening’s performance was also the unveiling of the new Platform for Performance in the front room of the CMC. The platform is a small performance space that is available to be used by anyone wishing to experiment in front of a small, intimate audience. The space will hopefully be programmed for monthly events across 2011, which I’m quite excited about! Another regular, calendar new music event in addition to the ever popular Kaleidoscope? Wahey!

I’ll be back in the CMC for the launch of new vocal group Soundset, next Wed 15 Dec. The group will perform works written especially for them by composers Nick Roth, Anne Marie O’Farrell and Jane O’Leary. It’s a lovely opportunity to check out the new space in the CMC and meet everyone there, if you haven’t already done so.

One last mention of the CMC this evening – they have been instrumental in establishing a new forum for new music in Ireland recently. It’s an opportunity for composers, performers, programmers, managers, all and sundry involved in new music in Ireland to come together, talk about their work and maybe form a coherent voice for the sector. Given that new music in Ireland is so varied and includes many different forms and levels of experience, you would imagine forming A Voice would be quite difficult. But there was a very positive feeling in the room at the first meeting and a sense of wanting to coordinate with each other so that we can shape the message about new music in Ireland at the moment and make it more available to existing and potential audiences. I’m a sceptic when it comes to networks and forums (am actually writing a piece on that at the moment) and I sincerely hope this forum doesn’t go in the redundant way of so many others. Given the fact that there are already a number of projects arising out of just the first meeting, I have a strong faith that this won’t be the case.

In other, non-CMC-related, news, the Dublin String Quartet will be performing the work of a very wonderful friend of mine, Peter Moran, next Monday (13 Dec). The performance will take place in the Kevin Barry Room of the NCH (another boon to new music in Ireland at the moment) at 8.30pm and tickets are 5/10 at the box office. I can’t be there, unfortunately, as I’m out of the country but I’m sorry to miss it. I’m a huge fan of Peter’s work and I know I’ve mentioned this several times previously.

Crash are in the middle of a national tour at the moment. They have been seriously thwarted with The Weather but there are a few dates left around the country. You’ll have missed the Tralee performance tonight I’m afraid but that’s what I get for blogging into the night.

The Severed Head is quickly becoming a popular new space for electronic and electro/acoustic music in Dublin. It’s just around the corner from me on Mount St (and I still haven’t managed to get to a gig there!!) and they have programmed a few Saturday nights recently. Ed Devane of SSTN presents an evening this coming Saturday (11 Dec) described on the facebook event page as “part concert, part installation, part sound sculpture, part experiment.” I already like it! Again, I’m away this weekend but will be keeping an eye on the space for upcoming gigs when things settle after Christmas.

Ok, I have no brian power left at this late stage and this ended up being a much longer post than I had planned, but I think the unprecedented length of this blog post just goes to show that despite everything, new music in Ireland is pulling together. The people who are really invested in new music are making sure that we’re not lost in the scramble for the diminishing resources over the nest few years. I’m delighted to see it happening and long may it last!

I’ll leave you with a snowy pic of me and the snowman I built with my Brazilian neighbour Hugo. His name is Milou and he’s Hugo’s first ever snowman 🙂

About aisling

nursery textiles / curating people / building communities / vintage treasures :: belgium / ireland
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