MUSIC CURRENT, Dublin’s annual contemporary music festival turns three this year and returns to Smock Alley Theatre showcasing the of best new Irish and international contemporary electronic music. Hosting concerts, panel discussions and a music commission, this three-day event runs from 12–14 April.
Now established in its third year, MUSIC CURRENT festival offers a unique blend of electronic performance and provides a much-needed platform for the newest contemporary electronic music. This year’s event showcases a distinct celebration of piano and keyboard music and welcomes many new international artists who will perform in Ireland for the first time. Curating this exciting experimental mix of new music, Dublin Sound Lab is delighted to host another cutting edge MUSIC CURRENT for 2018
With this year’s clear keyboard theme – pianos and electronics appearing in each concert – the 2018 programme features composer Stefan Prins (Belgium), pianist Stephane Ginsburgh (Belgium), the virtuosic Yarn|Wire ensemble (USA), accomplished improviser Izumi Kimura (Ire), rising stars of the Irish contemporary electronic music scene Francis Heery and Elis Czerniak, and in a new commission with MUSIC CURRENT the stunning pianist Xenia Pestova (UK) will perform new works with composer Fergal Dowling (Ire), Helga Arias Parra (Spain) and Silvia Rosani (Italy). Xenia who has been called “a powerhouse of contemporary keyboard repertoire” by Tempo Magazine, will also perform a special concert of new works developed during the festival by participating composers – one of whom will
receive this year’s MUSIC CURRENT COMMISSION award of €2,500.
The festival opens with PIANO HERO (Thursday 12 April, 8pm), an immersive cycle for midi-keyboard, grand piano, live-cameras, video and live-electronics (2011–). Stefan Prins makes his Irish debut at MUSIC CURRENT as festival guest composer. Prins is a fearless composer, eager to explore beyond convention and any perceived musical boundaries. His mastery of both technique and technology are evident in this Piano Hero series of pieces. At times whimsical, or even throw-away, the Piano Hero pieces demonstrate Prins’ dedication to revealing the relationship between materials and their context, and to imagining new musical forms through extra-musical materials and technologies. Together with Stephane Ginsburgh (piano) and Florian Bogner (computer music realisation) this team produce a tour de force of aesthetic and technological brilliance.
The virtuosic YARN|WIRE ensemble from Boston (USA) bring two new works by rising stars of the American new music scene – Catherine Lamb (“hypnotic… vivid, evocative” [The Guardian]) and award-winning playwright, performer, composer Rick Burkhardt – together they share a programme with Irish composer Ann Cleare with the Irish premiere of her spellbinding ‘I should live in wires for leaving you’. With these three works Yarn|Wire ensemble fill the space with a ‘theatre of objects’ that must be witnessed. Not to be missed!
One of Ireland’s most inventive improvisers, IZUMI KIMURA, joins forces with two of the country’s most imaginative composers, Francis Heery and Elis Czerniak, to reinvent the ‘prepared piano’ and extend its possibilities with live electronics through two new works specially commissioned for Music Current 2018. These new works are contextualised with John Cage’s seminal Sonatas and Interludes, one of the best-known works from the ‘inventor’ of the prepared piano. This programme is supported by Jeffers Pianos, in association with Galway Jazz Festival and Music Network.
Powerful, refined, sensitive, imaginative, precise, pianist XENIA PESTOVA brings her immense talents to the eight new works selected from the international MUSIC CURRENT ‘call for participation’. This spectacular programme also premieres two new commissions, including Silva Rosani’s award winning new work for piano, resonating metal plates and keyboard instruments. Together with the Irish premiere of Helga Arias Parra’s tactile ‘Astraglossa’, and Fergal Dowling’s new Arts Council commission – Mixed Synthetic Fabrics (for piano and live electronics) – Xenia has assembled a visual and aural feast.
The festival also features an opportunity for the public to engage with composers through a Public Panel Discussion at the Contemporary Music Centre Library, 19 Fishamble Street (Friday 13 April, 6pm). Entitled ‘Are We There Yet?’ the discussion considers current composition trends, performance practice, critical perspectives, and new directions, featuring festival composers Stefan Prins and Ann Cleare, pianist Xenia Pestova, sound artist Sven Anderson and musicologist Adrian Smith (DIT). Moderated by Evonne Ferguson, Director of CMC.
SMOCK ALLEY THEATRE, Dublin
STEFAN PRINS: Thursday 12 April | 8pm | €15/10
YARN|WIRE: Friday 13 April | 8pm | €15/10
IZUMI KIMURA: Saturday 14 April | 6pm | €15/10
XENIA PESTOVA: Saturday 14 April | 8pm | €15/10
Sponsored by IMRO