Journey into the evolving sounds of a contemporary music universe

by Emma Nolan
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A CONTEMPORARY music festival is taking to Smock Alley Theatre this April. Music Current 2017 is a showcase for the best in new Irish and international contemporary electronic music.

This year’s festival runs for three days at The Boys School, Smock Alley Theatre, from April 27 to 29.

Considered as the “Fringe” of Irish new music festivals, Music Current is now in its second year and gives a platform for the newest contemporary electronic music, hosting four concerts over three days.

This year’s line-up features Irish soprano Elizabeth Hilliard, guest composer Christopher Fox, German ensemble KLANK, a major new immersive installation by Dublin Sound Lab composers, plus a special concert of new international works developed during the festival by participating composers – one of whom will receive this Year’s Imro/Music Current Commission award of €2,500.

The festival opens with Vox Electronica (at 8pm on Thursday, April 27), a programme of new works for soprano and electronics performed by Elizabeth Hilliard.

Hilliard is a pioneer of Irish contemporary music and is renowned for her exceptional musicianship, effortless creativity and emotional intensity.

In this concert, she will present the Irish premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s seminal masterpiece, Lonh – a beguiling work for solo soprano and electronics.

The concert also includes recent works by festival composer Christopher Fox: Sea to the West (for soprano and electronics), which was recently recorded by Hilliard for the Metier CD label, and Fox’s encyclopedic Catalogue Irraissonne (for solo soprano), a captivating meditation on language and the fragility of communication.

In KLANK plays KLANK (8pm on Friday, April 28) Bremen-based quartet KLANK bring their mad, lucid logic to Dublin for the first time in a programme of works developed by the group.

KLANK create their own sonic universe from a dizzying interaction of musical techniques and cultural approaches, where improvisation collides with the musical potential of everyday objects to create uniquely inventive klang-aktionen (sound performances).

The festival concludes with Perisonic (8pm on Saturday, April 29), a large-scale immersive, panoramic “painting” of Dublin, using eight loudspeakers and four large video screens.

In this major collaboration, composers Scott McLaughlin, Grainne Mulvey, Jane Deasy, Fergal Dowling, creative producer Sabina Bonnici and video artist Mihai Cucu extend Barker’s vision of a 360-degree experience by reimagining a cityscape reconstructed in pure sound.

Immersed in surround-sound and accompanied by video, the audience is invited to explore four singular perspectives of Dublin.

Music Current 2017 also features an opportunity for the public to engage with composers through a public panel discussion at the Contemporary Music Centre Library, No 19 Fishamble Street (at 6pm on Friday, April 28).

Entitled, Are You Talking to Me?, the discussion considers the relationship between listeners, performers and composers from the audience’s perspective. The panel will include members of KLANK, composer Christopher Fox and other guests.

Moderated by Evonne Ferguson, director of the Contemporary Music Centre, audience members and concert-goers are encouraged to participate.

For further information, see

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