Fergal Dowling and Michael Quinn: ‘Stops VIII’

Stops VIII is one of a series of compositions for instrumentalist(s) and computer, which aim to rebalance the respective roles of composer and performer between the computer operator the instrumentalist while creating concentrated musical arguments.
During performance every sounded event is automatically recorded by the computer. As the performance progresses, and more sounds are detected and recorded, the newer sound events trigger the earlier recorded sounds to be replayed. All sounded material is produced during performance time, there are no pre-recorded materials, and the sounds are not treated in any way.
Decisions regarding exactly which events are recorded and replayed and when they occur, are determined by details of the ongoing performance. The automatic detection parameters can be set in advance, or they can be manipulated on-the-fly by a computer operator.
As the sounded work emerges it quotes extensively from its own performance and creates multiple repetitions and layerings. The resulting elisions, interruptions and re-orderings reveal a self-referential musical form through which the performer and computer operator explore the evolving relationship between the material and its changing context.

Fergal Dowling is a composer of electroacoustic and instrumental music. He studied composition at Trinity College Dublin and, with the assistance of the Elizabeth Maconchy Composition Fellowship awarded by the Arts Council of Ireland, he completed a PhD in composition at the University of York in 2006. Many of his works make use of computer-mediated performance strategies to combine ‘live’ electronic parts with instrumental or vocal forces. His fixed media compositions often use ‘granular spatialisation’ to render multichannel works. His works have been presented in concert and as installations in Ireland, England, Germany, Sweden, Canada, the USA, Spain, Portugal, Brazil and Japan and he has performed his own computer-based interactive music with various groups including Ex-Machina (Bra), Concorde (Ire), Ensemble Chimera (Eng), Projektgruppe Neue Musik Bremen (Ger), Electro Acoustic Revue (Ire), Grup XXI (Esp), notes inégales (Eng) and Dublin Sound Lab (Ire).

Michael Quinn studied piano and organ at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, and organ and harpsichord at the Royal Conservatory, The Hague. He is a music graduate of Trinity College Dublin and King’s College London. Michael has appeared as organist in The Netherlands, Spain and England and as soloist with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. He has given recitals in St Patrick’s Cathedral, and St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin and in St Michael’s Church, Dun Laoghaire, as part of their summer series. With a particular interest in new music, he has premiered works by Fergal Dowling and Jacques Bank, and presented several Irish premieres with Dublin Sound Lab.

Dublin Sound Lab
Dublin Sound Lab is a contemporary music project group specialising in electronic and computer-mediated concert performance. As well as presenting existing works, we initiate collaborations and use computer-based techniques to explore relationships between compositional process and performance practice, and to create new and genuinely engaging concert experiences.
Formed in 2008 by composer Fergal Dowling and organist Michael Quinn, Dublin Sound Lab has worked with manyleading Irish and international composers, performing works by: Ailis Ni Riain, Gérard Grisey, Salvatore Sciarrino, KaijaSaariaho, Luca Francesconi, Karlheinz Essl, Peter Ablinger, Mauricio Kagel, Wim de Ruiter, Ann Cleare, ScottMcLaughlin, Barry Truax, Roderik de Man, Karen Tanaka, Jean-Claude Risset, Ed Bennett, Judith Ring, Gerald Barry, Jonathan Nangle, Jonathan Harvey, Rob Canning, Gráinne Mulvey, David Bremner, and Garth Knox amongst others.
Dublin Sound Lab has initiated collaborations with many composers and artists. In 2011 we invited Karlheinz Essl, on his first visit to Ireland, to develop new generative and interactive works for ensemble in collaboration with Dublin musicians and composers, and to perform the new works in concert. In 2013 we commissioned MIRRORS OF EARTH, a large-scale video work by Ailbhe Ní Bhriain to accompany the complete performance of Kaija Saariaho’s seminalmixed-media work, MAA. In 2014 we commissioned PLACES & RESPONSES for the Dublin Fringe Festival, a multi-venue, dispersed performance, involving collaboration with Peter Ablinger, Gráinne Mulvey, Rob Canning and PiarasHoban.
In 2016 Dublin Sound Lab began collaborating with other composers and producers – including Ann Cleare, Gráinne Mulvey and Sabina Bonnici – and launched MUSIC CURRENT, Dublin’s annual festival of contemporary electronic music. The festival features guest composers, international performers, workshops, masterclasses, public discussions, new commission opportunities, and premiers of works by participating composers.
Dublin Sound Lab believes that contemporary music should be engaging and exciting and that the presentation and production of concerts should be as inspiring as great musical performance. We recognise that there is a new audience for contemporary art and live music performance that wants to experience music in new ways. Dublin Sound Lab wants to reach these audiences and inspire these listeners by presenting the very best and newest contemporarymusic from Ireland and abroad, and by creating amazing new experiences with sound and technology.

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