As 2022 draws to a close I’d like to thank everyone for supporting my work and the Irish Memory Orchestra during the year.
Here is a summary of what I got up to in 2022 with the orchestra and with other projects, with some info on what to expect in 2023.
Irish Memory Orchestra – Vision and Memory
In April the Irish Memory Orchestra and I were delighted to get back to live performance for the first time since November 2019. We premiered a new version of the Vision Symphony alongside the IMO Youth Orchestra and Choir, Cois Cladagh Chamber Choir and several guest blind and vision-impaired musicians. It was a thrill to conduct this concert to a warm audience at Galway’s Town Hall Theatre. In 2023 we will be releasing a film of the concert alongside a short documentary about the project.
In June a chamber group from the IMO premiered by new work ‘Éin – the Birds of Dublin’ at the Ruaille Buaille Children’s Festival in Lucan, Dublin at a lovely family-friendly event where the audience seemed fascinated by how we imitated Irish birdsong on our instruments.
Our outreach programme continued in June with a performance by the IMO Jazz Ensemble alongside students from Headford Music Works, in St. Fursa’s Hall, Headford, Galway.
The orchestra and I would like to thank the Arts Council of Ireland for supporting all these events, as well as our other Vision Symphony project supporters The Hurley Family, IMRO, Clare Arts Office and the Contemporary Music Centre.
September 26th 2022 marked the 10th Anniversary of the orchestra’s debut performance in glór, Ennis. The pandemic impacted our celebration plans for this milestone, so instead we will be marking it in 2023 with some great events and projects to be announced over the coming months.
Oriel Suite with the Oriel Traditional Orchestra
Also in April, I took to the podium to conduct the Oriel Traditional Orchestra in the premiere of my latest orchestral work ‘Oriel Suite’ at Féile Patrick Byrne in Castleblany. ‘Oriel Suite’ is a celebration of the rich heritage of the ancient Oriel area of Ireland. I really enjoyed working with this lovely group of musicians of all ages. Thanks to the Arts Council of Ireland for providing Oriel Traditional Orchestra with a Commission’s Award for this project.
E-Bow with ConTempo
In May I was delighted to join the brilliant ConTempo Quartet for the world premiere of ‘E-Bow’ a work for Electric Guitar and String Quartet, which we performed twice in a wonderful event at NUI Galway. Thanks to the Galway Music Residency for commissioning this work and facilitating the performance and panel discussion with the Contemporary Music Centre director Evonne Ferguson. A recording of the premiere is available to listen to here.
‘E-Bow’ receives its Southern Hemisphere premiere in March 2023 in a special St. Patrick’s Day event I’m curating in Wellington with the wonderful New Zealand String Quartet, speaking of whom….
Dun Laoghaire Guitars
Also in May I performed the live premiere of my guitar ensemble piece Dun Laoghaire Guitars with three of my favourite guitarists, John Feeley, Laura Snowden and Niwel Tsumbu. We performed it at the Music Network Music Day at the Lexicon Theatre in my hometown of Dun Laoghaire.
NZ String Quartet tour Slip
In June and July 2022, the New Zealand String Quartet included my string quartet piece ‘Slip’ in their New Zealand touring programme. These marked the Southern Hemisphere premiere performance of the piece. I was sorry not to be able to attend any of these performances, however I’m really looking forward to performing with the quartet in March 2023.
D.F.F. resurrected from Rathmines
During the lock-down period of the pandemic I spent some time listening through my recorded archives. This has led me to create a new series of archival albums to be released in 2023. The first of these will be ‘Rathmines Rules’, an album of indie pop songs I recorded with an early incarnation of the band D.F.F. in the early-mid 2000’s. The first single ‘The Hillwalk’ was released in November 2022. The full album is released on 6th January 2023, my birthday! This album reflects my musical origins as a singer-songwriter and whilst I have largely left that world of music, I still enjoy listening back to these catchy old pop songs and I hope you do too!
Filming as a hand double for HBO
My last music job of 2022 was unusual, as it involved me miming to camera whilst some bona-fide Hollywood stars walked by me! I really enjoyed my time on set of a major HBO production where my guitar skills were put to use as a hand double! I’m bound to secrecy as to what exactly the production and role is, once it is released in 2023 all will be revealed!
Pat Flynn – In Memoriam
Though 2022 was a productive year musically, it has been a challenging year emotionally for so many people. My extended family and I were devastated to unexpectedly lose our dear relative Pat Flynn on Thanksgiving Day. Pat was my cousin. He was such a lovely man who selflessly helped many people get through difficult times. I am not exaggerating by saying Pat saved my life once when I had anaphylactic shock in my 20’s. Pat’s untimely passing is deeply felt by his wife Sandra and his many relatives and friends. Losing Pat has been such a sad way to end 2022. So, I dedicate this video of my composition ‘Grief’ from ‘Music for the Departed’, to his memory.
This video was made in 2020. Unfortunately, I can’t record anything at the moment as I am recovering from a mild hand injury.
I’d also like to take this time to again remember my friend and mentor Dennis Cahill and my first guitar teacher Alistair McNeill, who both very sadly passed away earlier in 2022.
Here’s hoping 2023 will bring more hope and joy than 2022 could provide.
Best wishes to you all for 2023.