Contemporary Irish Music

Music Network actively supports and promotes the work of contemporary Irish composers by commissioning new work and including works by Irish composers in tour programmes.

Music Network Commissions

Music Network actively commissions new works by Irish composers, and promotes existing works within relevant Music Network concert programmes. Read more here.

Since the roll out of our Strategic Plan in 2014, we have included contemporary Irish works in 91% of relevant touring programmes:

Two of Ireland's finest composers wrote new music for Music Network's Autumn 2017 season. Virtuoso trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth and pianist Gunnar Flagstad premiered an intriguing new work by Deirdre Gribbin, "Through every wind that blows", in October, and Rhona Clarke's Edge, String Quartet No. 3, was written especially for Quatuor Voce for their tour in November.

Music Network commissioned Ian Wilson to compose a new work for an all-violin quartet, which was premiered in April 2017 and received 9 performances by Mia Cooper, Katherine Hunka, Ioana Petcu-Colan & Helena Wood. The work was inspired by Cy Twombly’s ‘Quattro Stagioni’.

Music Network commissioned Philip Martin to write a new work Avoca: a Celtic Journey for large-scale harp ensemble premiered on 20th November 2016.

Music Network commissioned Anne-Marie O’Farrell to write a new work for our November ’16 tour featuring Anneleen Lenaerts (harp) and Dionysis Grammenos (clarinet)

Music Network commissioned Tola Custy, Colin Dunne, Maeve Gilchrist and David Power to create Edges of Light, a new cross art form work that premiered in September and received 11 performances.

In addition, our Young Musicwide Awardees Chatham Saxophone Quartet launched their debut album New Irish Music in June 2015 with Music Network's support. Released on the RTÉ lyric fm label, the CD features works by Brian Byrne, Ian Wilson, Brian Irvine, Jonathan Nangle and Kenneth Edge.

Music Network is continuing to commission new works for performances in the future:

Siobhán Cleary and Benjamin Dwyer composed two new works especially for the March and April classical tour programmes of Spring 2018. Siobhán Cleary’s ‘An Cailleach’ received its premiere at Abbeystrewry Church, Skibbereen on Sunday 4th March. Benjamin Dwyer’s 'sin títolo' received its premiere at St. Iberius Church in Wexford on Sunday 22nd April.

Our second commission for child/family audience with co-commissioning partners The Ark is in process, following on the success of A Most Peculiar Wintry Thing by composer Brian Irvine in 2014.

Composer's Voice

Our partnership with the Contemporary Music Centre under its Composer's Voice initiative has brought composers Deirdre McKay, Gráinne Mulvey, Anne-Marie O'Farrell, Ian Wilson and Rhona Clarke to talk about their work at our concerts in 2016 and 2017, enhancing the listening experience for audiences.

In 2018, Siobhán Cleary gave a Composer's Voice talk on her piece, 'An Cailleach' at the Linenhall Arts Centre on Wednesday 7th March. The work was composed especially for award-winning Russian pianist Anna Tsybuleva. Unfortunately due to a status red weather warning, the first two concerts of this tour were cancelled - six out of the eight scheduled performances took place.

Rhona Clarke spoke about her piece String Quartet No. 3, commissioned by Music Network especially for a tour with Quatuor Voce, during a concert at Siamsa Tíre, Tralee on Friday 24th November 2017. 

During our Spring 2017 season, Ian Wilson gave a Composer's Voice talk on his piece, Quattro Stagioni, at the Courthouse Arts Centre, Tinahely on Saturday 29 April. The work for an all-violin quartet inspired by Cy Twombly’s cycle of four paintings of the same name. The piece was composed especially for Mia Cooper, Katherine Hunka, Ioana Petcu-Colan & Helena Wood for their tour and received 9 performances.