Waves (2016-18)

Instrumentation: Solo Percussionist and String Orchestra

Duration: 18 min

Commissioned by: The Irish Chamber Orchestra

Soloist: Alex Petcu

ConductorGábor Takács-Nagy


Programme Note: 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.  Funded by The Arts Council of Ireland.

"...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

Timpano (2017)

Instrumentation: Solo Timpanist and Orchestra

Duration: 6 min 

Commissioned by: Co-Orch Symphony Orchestra Dublin

Programme Note: Conceived as a bold concert-opener, Timpano takes something old and explores it through a new lens.  It is an attempt to show one of the most enduring fragments in all of classical music in a fresh and new light, seeking to illuminate the universality of musical thought, regardless of era.

Pause (2016)

Instrumentation: String Orchestra and Slowed-Down Irish Fiddle

Duration: 11 min

Commissioned by: Ortús Chamber Music Festival

Programme Note: 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. Supported by The Arts Council of Ireland.

Orca-Volt (2015)

Instrumentation: Orchestra and Whale Sounds

Duration: 15 min

Composed for: Orchestre du Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique de Lyon

Programme Note: Collaboration with French composer Valentin Jost. Orca by Sam Perkin blends whale sounds with the orchestra. Volt by Valentin Jost blends electricity sounds with the orchestra. The two pieces are played separately, then simultaneously with only one orchestra, in a work of striking superimposition.

Nimbus (2015)

Instrumentation: String Orchestra (18 Parts)

Duration: 20 mins

Commissioned by: The Irish Chamber Orchestra

Programme Note: 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.  Funded by The Arts Council of Ireland.

Dreaming In Sign Language (2014)

Instrumentation: Youth Orchestra with Sign Language

Duration: 6 min

Commissioned by: The Irish Association of Youth Orchestras

Programme Note: Composed especially for The 20th Festival of Youth Orchestras in Ireland, this piece is aimed specifically at youth orchestras wishing to perform something unique and also to develop diverse musical qualities. The majority of the young musicians use sign language and body percussion throughout the work. A solo violin, harp and 2 percussionists form the accompaniment. The piece is designed in such a way as to be enjoyed also by the hearing impaired.

Inspirit (2013)

Instrumentation: String Orchestra with Body Percussion

Duration: 10 min

Commissioned by: Concorda Chamber Music

Programme Note: 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.  Funded by The Arts Council of Ireland.

Violin Concerto "Voice" (2012)

Instrumentation: Violin and Orchestra

Duration: 26 min

Composed for: CSM Symphony Orchestra

Programme Note: The audience hum for the final cadenza in this concerto. This audience-performer connection creates a special aura in the concert hall. The conductor turns and gestures to the audience to start humming on a unison "D" which is transferred from orchestra to audience. As the concerto was written especially for violinist and friend Eoin Ducrot, I wanted to give him a moment to remember.