Orchestra In The Digital Age (2019)

Instrumentation
Orchestra and Sine Tones

Duration
10 min

Composed For
The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra

Conductor
Gavin Maloney

About The Work

What can 'The Orchestra' be today? This piece blurs the line between what we expect an orchestra to sound like today and what is possible. Sine Tones are the purest form of electronically produced sound and I blended these Sine Tones with the Orchestra in such a way that it is impossible to tell the difference between the two, blending them together to the highest degree possible. The result is an act of synchronisation which makes the orchestra glow in a new light, like hearing it anew. The piece speaks of the ever-advancing complex relationship between our technology and ourselves.


Grey Area (2017-19)

Instrumentation
For Ensemble and Street Skateboarding Video

Duration
20 min

Composed For
Crash Ensemble

Commissioned By
Engage Arts Festival

Supported By
The Arts Council of Ireland

Composer / Artistic Director
Sam Perkin

Cinematography
Niall O’Byrne, Sam Curtin

Skateboarders
Charles Neilson, Paddy Walsh

Premièred at
Musica Nova Helsinki, Finland

“Blending the essence of street skateboarding with contemporary music,

‘Grey Area’ is a hypnotic nocturnal journey through the streets,

leading us to secrets that we find only if we are open to them.”

About The Work
As a composer and skateboarder, it has taken me quite a few years to find a way of blending the two together in a meaningful artistic way. Grey Area is the fruit of a collaboration between friends, an exploration at the crossroads between contemporary music and street skateboarding. I wanted to convey the unique feeling of liberation that street skateboarding brings. I also wished to transport the listener / viewer into the mind a skateboarder. I did this to reveal how skateboarders look differently at architecture - how they perceive their landscape and the excitement that it brings to them.

In the film, two different worlds are shown in relief, each one complementing the other. The first layer is in slow motion and follows a skateboarder from the centre of a city to its outskirts. The second layer intersperses energetic, glitchy shots of a skateboarder interacting with their landscape. All sound was removed from the film and we hear this second layer played by Crash Ensemble. In other words, I orchestrated the sounds, rhythms and colours of skateboarding and The City. We are hypnotically drawn in to the skateboarder’s nocturnal journey to see what secrets are to be found, if we are open to them.


Waves (2016-18)

Soloist
Alex Petcu

Conductor
Gábor Takács-Nagy

Supported By
The Arts Council of Ireland

Instrumentation
Solo Percussionist and String Orchestra

Duration
18 min

Commissioned By
The Irish Chamber Orchestra

About The Work
Tinnitus is the hearing of sound when no sound is present.  As a composer, hearing these phantom sounds, which started a year ago for me, can be frustrating. They can make composing, conversing, and sleeping quite difficult. Some people find that white noise, rainfall or ocean waves can help to mask these sound mirages. The ocean wave sounds worked for me, and I listened to them a lot. Over 365 days, while I had them flowing through my mind, I took these sounds from nature, that I cherish so much, and composed a work that is entirely made up of these beautiful patterns, in essence, 365 variations on a wave gesture. The ebb and flow in the music comes from the true rhythm of nature, and in the way it mysteriously varies itself. I attempted to harness these natural forces to create a work in which we can be in awe of nature’s secrets, but also a work that, who knows, can maybe cure tinnitus.

"...charts the wonderful variety of wave sounds, their slow rolling might, their percussive foam and froth, their rumbles and shimmers. Gabor Takács-Nagy and the players of the ICO, with Alex Petcu playing percussion, seemed to be delivering everything he could have wished for."

— Michael Dervan, The Irish Times


Twitter (2018)

Instrumentation
For Flutes, Audience, Smartphones, and Video

Duration
7 to 8 min

Commissioned By
La Côte Flute Festival, Switzerland

About The Work
Twitter is a composition which depicts the moments before, during and after sunrise in a forest. Involved in the piece are: an audio track which will be diffused (recording of dawn chorus), a video which will be projected (forest filmed at dawn for a dawn chorus), many flautists who read from a score and use their voices (imitating and connecting with the recorded dawn chorus), and the audience who also use their voices. On top of this, the performers and audience will also diffuse the audio track on their smartphones/devices. The piece develops nature/ornithological listening and improvisation skills, and is freely lead by a conductor in the spirit of sound-painting. The music is an awakening of a forest at dawn, something that happens everyday, something that a lot of us have lost touch with in contemporary society.


Pause (2016)

Instrumentation
String Orchestra and Slowed-Down Irish Fiddle

Duration
11 min

Commissioned By
Ortús Chamber Music Festival

Supported By
The Arts Council of Ireland

About The Work
Pause is a meditative work in which a live classical String Quartet interacts with a recorded traditional Irish Fiddle slowed-down by 800%. Commissioned by Ortús Chamber Music Festival, the work was written to commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland and it is dedicated to Thomas Kent who executed during the aftermath of The Rising. The haunting slowed-down Irish tune heard in the work is The Foggy Dew, played from a laptop during the performance and originally performed by Mairéad Hickey. The audience are invited to hum for the end of the piece.


Nimbus (2015)

Instrumentation
String Orchestra (18 Parts)

Duration
20 mins

Commissioned By
The Irish Chamber Orchestra

Supported By
The Arts Council of Ireland

About The Work
Very occasionally, you cross paths with someone and you feel a strong presence. It is like an aura that only you can see. Its radiance is outside of the realm of the five senses and the physical plane. Some things can never be told through words. That is why there is music.


Inspirit (2013)

Instrumentation
Youth String Orchestra with Body Percussion

Duration
10 min

Commissioned By
Concorda Chamber Music

Supported By
The Arts Council of Ireland

About The Work
This work contains many Body Percussion and Vocal techniques. These include: foot stamping, finger clicks, string slaps, blocked string pizzicato, body taps, rubbing of hands, whispering, breathing noises, and many other sounds that the human body can make. Dedicated to the memory of Hugh and Tricia Maguire.