Music Current 2022 – The newest of the new music

Dublin Sound Lab presents



Ireland’s most ambitious and adventurous contemporary music festival Music Current returns from its Covid slumber and moves into a brand new home at Project Arts Centre for 2022. With many new concerts over 5 days, as well as participation workshops and panel discussions, this year’s concerts showcase some of the most adventurous groups in Irish and international contemporary and electronic music today, many performing in Ireland for the very first time, at this unique event which runs from 19 – 23 April.

Showcasing some of the most fearless innovators in contemporary music today; hosting 5 new concerts, 2 new free participation workshops for audiences, musicians and composers; a lecture recital on ‘music stretching’ by Maya Homburger and Barry Guy; and a shared masterclass with eight composers, led by renowned composer Natacha Diels, over 5 days, and with a brilliant new commission opportunity for 2023.

Music Current has a reputation for presenting music that is at once both fun and challenging, and this year the programme is entirely made up of Irish and world premieres, and sees many contemporary music artists converge again in a live setting, from Ireland and abroad, for the first time in two years. The festival is a showcase of the “newest of the new” music from Ireland and worldwide.

Festival Director, Fergal Dowling commenting on this year’s programme says: “We are delighted to be able to present a full programme at Music Current this year. Music Current is a like a window on the world of contemporary music and is a great chance to hear the newest of new music by Irish musicians and composers as well as our international guests: Splinter Reeds Ensemble (USA), Loadbang Ensemble (USA) and Ensemble Garage (Germany). This year we also have a range of workshops that explore music writing, performance and technology, that are of interest to concert-goers, musicians and the public, so there’s lots of opportunities to take part and become involved in the festival.”

A central feature of Music Current Festival is the creative collaboration of composers and performers with the presentation of new works, and Music Current regularly commissions new compositions and creates opportunities for collaborative development.

19 April

In their first concert of the 2022 festival, Currents, Dublin Sound Lab present four new works that have been developed in close and extended collaboration between the composers and performers throughout 2021; including premieres of new works by Paul Scully, Jane Deasy and GráinneMulvey. With a second performance Elis Czerniak’s and the Acceptance of Death, as well as new works by Panayiotis Kokoras (Greece/USA) and Brona Martin (Ire/UK), commissioned as part of their annual commissioning scheme.

Panayiotis Kokoras’ new work for cello and electronics explores the cello’s sound potential using fabricated prosthetic devices that blend composition and performance practice with electronics and instrument design. Brona Martin’s new surround sound acousmatic composition is an extended meditation on the seminal folk music recordings made by the American ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax in Ireland during the early 1950s.

20 April

On Wednesday Splinter Reeds from San Francisco’s East Bay Area, comprise of five virtuoso musicians. They present a concert entitled Hypothetical Islands, an adventurous programme of acoustic and electroacoustic works for reed quintet that highlight a range of extended techniques and vibrant sound worlds. The programme comprises entirely of Irish and world premieres that are a result of in-depth collaborations, and reveal the unique musical vocabulary of the individuals within the ensemble, as well as three new works written especially for the group by Irish composers Siobhán Clear, GráinneMulvey and Fergal Dowling.

Explicitly committed to the cutting edge of contemporary composition, Splinter Reeds freely juxtaposes multiple styles and aesthetics in their programming in order to enthusiastically share adventurous new music with the widest possible audience. The quintet has worked closely with such composers as Eric Wubbels, Sky Macklay, Paula Matthusen, Marc Mellits, and Ken Ueno, while presenting North American premieres by European-based composers Dai Fujikura, Matthew Shlomowitz, and YannisKyriakides, among others.

21 April

Music Current’s Thursday concert features New York music chamber group LOADBANG, who will perform a programme called IRRATIONAL, which showcases the breadth of their creative work in the past decade. Ranging from off-kilter grooves to apocalyptic soundscapes, the programme features works by some of their favourite collaborators including Eve Beglarian, Taylor Brook, Chaya Czernowin, George Lewis, Alex Mincek, and AngélicaNegrón as well as a world premiere by Irish composer Fergal Dowling.

Loadbang have been described as, “inventive” – New York Times, “an extra-cool new music group, exhilarating..” – Baltimore Sun, and “a formidable new-music force..” – Time Out, New York

The group relish in a new kind of music for mixed ensemble of trumpet, trombone, bass clarinet, and baritone voice. Their unique lung-powered instrumentation has provoked diverse responses from composers, resulting in a repertoire comprising an inclusive picture of composition today. They have premiered more than 400 works, written by members of the ensemble, emerging artists, and today’s leading composers. Their repertoire includes works by Pulitzer Prize winners David Lang and Charles Wuorinen; Rome Prize winners Andy Akiho and Paula Matthusen; and Guggenheim Fellows Chaya Czernowin, George Lewis, and Alex Mincek.

22 April

Friday’s concert brings us Maya Homburger and Barry Guy who join forces to present a programme called DUO, combining new compositions, masterful improvisations and Baroque masterpieces. Barry Guy is renowned as one of the most virtuosic and imaginative improvisers and Maya Homburger’s interpretations of solo violin sonatas are inspired by the duo’s freedom and creativity.

In this programme for Music Current 2022, they feature works by H.I.F. Biber, J.S. Bach, GyörgyKurtág and Barry, the Homburger/Guy Duo creates a conduit through which music from the 17th century and earlier can flow effortlessly into contemporary compositions and improvisations.

This performance will take place within a special loudspeaker system designed originally by a Stanford University team of Professor Jonathan Abel, Dr Eoin Callery, and Dr Elliot Canfield-Dafilou, which immerses both the audience and the performers in virtual acoustic spaces. This system imposes a new alternative acoustic on the performance space and can render a transparent and realistic sensation of listening (or performing) within entirely different spaces, such as: historic buildings, natural spaces or even synthetic spaces. This new sound technology continues to be developed at Stanford University and at the Irish World Academy of Music And Dance in the University of Limerick.

The concert will be preceded by a lecture-recital on the Duo’s concept of “musical stretching”, and will give insight into their approach and creativity, highlighting some of the extended techniques on bass and violin with which they create unique sound worlds.

23 April

Music Current’s closing concert of the 2022 festival, Invisible Hand, welcomes German band Ensemble Garage to Ireland for the first time. They will present a true multimedia concert of works combining choreographed movement, video, instrumental practice and cynical play to create a uniquely curious and disconcerting performance.

Ensemble Garage’s programmes are at once playful and politically engaged. This concert mixes dark comedy with the absurdity of life, love and politics. While maintaining a foothold in the abstract, their work is conceived as an attempt to reveal the connection between art and the experience of life.

Ilse de Ziah (photo, Mihai Cucu)


Wednesday 20 April // 2pm-4pm //

Music Current’s first workshop of the year will be hosted by Irish-Australian cellist and composer, Ilse De Ziah. Music, art and design intersect in so many ways, and in this workshop entitled Graphic Scores, participants get a practical introduction to interpreting, writing and performing graphic scores. Participants will review seminal graphic works, practice how to compose their own scores and how to interpret and perform them in collaboration with other participants, and will create and explore new constraints, notation practices, and explore their instrument or voice in unimagined ways. This workshop will be a challenging and engaging experience for composers, musicians and curious listeners.


Thursday 21 April // 2pm-3pm //

A workshop exploring Virtual Acoustics is facilitated by Dr Eoin Callery (Irish World Academy of Music And Dance, UL). This practical introduction to virtual acoustics will demonstrate a recently invented system for creating interactive virtual sound environments. Bring your voice or an instrument and hear yourself in various spaces from around the world, and imagine the artistic possibilities of the future.

When using these systems, the audience and performers have the sense that they are hearing sounds in a space other than the actual or expected acoustic of the physical room they occupy. This virtual acoustic system will be used in the Homburger/Guy concert later on Friday 22 April.

With a maximum of 8 participants, this workshop is intended for anyone interested in interactive AR/VR applications, musicians, performers, composers, singers, theatre, acoustics, sound processing and audio FX.

*All workshops will be free, booking is essential and participants are asked to contribute €5 at time of booking to cover refreshments. Workshop events are supported by the Contemporary Music Centre.


Friday 22 April // 6pm-7pm //

Maya Homburger and Barry Guy give a lecture/recital on the concept of “musical stretching”. This lecture will look at the concept and practice of musical stretching and will give insight into the duo’s approach to performance and collaboration, revealing how they transport the listener seamlessly through various musical styles. They will also explain and demonstrate some of the extended techniques on bass and violin, which create new sound worlds.

*This event is a double-bill event with the following concert at 8pm; one ticket gives access to both events.

Natacha Diels (photo Alfonso Salgueiro)


Saturday 23 April // 2pm-5pm //


Renowned American composer Natacha Diels will lead a roundtable discussion and shared masterclass with eight composers at the Cube Space, Project Arts Centre. Composer will have an opportunity to present and discuss their work in a friendly and supportive environment, with analysis and group contributions. Composers of any career stage are invited to bring works for any forces in any format for presentation and discussion.

Participation: This workshop is intended for composers at any career stage who are interested in presenting, sharing and discussing their works with colleagues. Participation will be limited to a maximum of eight composers.

*This event is supported by the Contemporary Music Centre, Dublin.

Music Current (photo, CMC)

PANEL DISCUSSIONSaturday 23 April // 6pm-7pm //

Each year at Music Current Festival music audiences and the wider public are invited to engage in debates and discussions concerning how music-making is affected by technology, social changes and the political environment.

Following nearly two years of restrictions on public gatherings, and performances in particular, how do we now feel about concert music? What changes have occurred in the concert music environment and ecosystem? How do musicians perceive their place or role in society? And what is the role of the audience in future music making?

This discussion is open and accessible to public participation and contributions are welcome from the audience. This event is hosted in collaboration with the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland’s archive and resource centre for new music, and will be moderated by Evonne Ferguson, Director of the Contemporary Music Centre (CMC). Panel participants include Toner Quinn (The Journal of Music); MalgorzataWalentynowicz (Ensemble Garage); Natacha Diels (composer, USA); and Fergal Dowling (Dublin Sound Lab, Music Current Festival).

*This public event is free to attend, all are welcome and booking is advised.



Music Current Festival invites composers to propose a new work for DUBLIN SOUND LAB to be performed in Dublin, April 2023. The proposal may be for any combination of flute, clarinet/bass clarinet, violin, cello, piano, harpsichord, MIDI keyboard, guitar, electric guitar, electronics or video.

DUBLIN SOUND LAB directors will review proposals according to flexible criteria, including consideration of who might benefit or contribute most through engagement with the festival over an extended period. One successful applicant will be offered an award of €3,500. The awardee will then work closely with DUBLIN SOUND LAB until April 2023, or later with agreement, and may be invited to give public presentations on their work or to contribute to outreach, mentoring, or other professional development programmes in collaboration with our production partners.

*Applications close 11:59pm (GMT), Sunday 24 April 2022. The winning proposal will be announced on 27 May 2022 –

Ensemble Garage, photo Alessandro De Matteis


PROJECT ARTS CENTRE, East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

DUBLIN SOUND LAB – Currents: Tuesday 19 April | 8pm |  €16/14 (early bird €12/10)  //

SPLINTER REEDS: Wednesday 20 April | 8pm |  €16/14 (early bird €12/10)  //

LOADBANG:  Thursday 21 April | 8pm |  €16/14 (early bird €12/10)  //

HOMBURGER/GUY Lecture/Recital:  Friday 22 April | 6pm |  €16/14 (early bird €12/10)  //

HOMBURGER/GUY DUO: Friday 22 April | 8pm |  €18/14 (early bird €14/12)  //

ENSEMBLE GARAGE:  Saturday 23 April | 8pm |  €16/14 (early bird €12/10)  //

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