August 18, 2009
I recently returned from New York where I was a guest of the Juilliard School of Music and their New Music Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Joel Sachs. Four members of the ensemble gave the US Premiere of my second String Quartet ‘The Cranning’ to a capacity audience of over 900 people at the Summergarden concert series at the Museum of Modern Art.
It was a fabulous event and I really enjoyed my time there. Many thanks to Dr. Sachs, the musicians and Melanie Monios and her staff at MOMA for making me so welcome and helping make the event one of the highlights of my career so far.
Also thanks to Allan Kozinn of the New York Times for covering the event
New York Times Review
and special thanks to Culture Ireland for providing me with funds for my travel expenses to New York
Thanks also to Eve O’Kelly and the staff at the Contemporary Music Centre for helping to secure the performance of the piece.
Here’s some photo’s relating to my trip.
July 1, 2009
My new album ‘Contemporary Traditional Irish Guitar’ is almost ready for release. It’ll soon be available online. Until then here’s a sneak preview of the CD cover as designed by my talented sister Fran
May 18, 2009
Those nice people at Sing Out Magazine reviewed my album Draiocht lately. Here’s an extract from the review by Chris Nickson
It’s nice to meet some people with taste! One thing to note of course is that I’m not a member of the Dublin Guitar Quartet anymore, but I’m sure they won’t mind the plug!.
April 26, 2009
Since I last posted news here I’ve been all over the place, from New York to Estonia. Here’s a brief report on each event.
JANUARY 2009 – USA
In January I took my Dad on a holiday to the US where we visited New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC. We saw President Obama’s inauguration via the big screens in Time Square, New York. It was an historic occasion.
Whilst in New York I was delighted to meet legendary new music DJ and writer John Schaefer who interviewed me for his long running WNYC show ‘New Sounds’. The show was broadcast on 17th March and you can hear it here
John also played one of my pieces on this edition of the show
MARCH 2009 ROME, ROMANIA AND PRAGUE
I had a great trip to Central Europe in March beginning with a two day stay in the incredible Italian capital Rome. I’d never been before and was really blown away by the beauty of the city. After this I flew to Cluj-Napoca, the capital of Transylvania in Romania, where I performed a concert with Ioana Petcu-Colan and gave a seminar in the Gheorghe Dima Academy of Music. We were grateful to Iulia Cibicescu-Duran and her husband Eugen and Dr. Adrian Pop for inviting us and to Culture Ireland, IMRO and the Romanian Cultural Institute for providing support for the event.
Following this I flew to Prague in the Czech Republic where the Prague Chamber Orchestra gave the World Premiere of my string orchestra piece ‘Echoes of Bamako’ as part of the Prague Premieres Festival. Here’s a picture of me standing in front of the orchestra taking in the rapturous applause!
Many thanks to the organisers of the festival for inviting me over. It was great to spend a few days in such an historic city as Prague. I’ll never forget my visit to the medieval torture museum!!
APRIL 2009 FINLAND AND ESTONIA
I recently returned from a week long trip to Finland during which I also had a day trip to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. The trip was mainly a research trip for my current PhD studies. I had a great time visiting the homeland of one of my favourite composers, the great Jean Sibelius. I even managed to meet him while I was there…….
As you can see from my hair, it was quite windy that day!
On Easter Sunday I took the 2 hour ferry trip to Tallinn from Helsinki for what was really the unexpected highlight of my trip. Tallinn is a really interesting mix of medieval, 18th Century and old Russian communist architecture. Estonia is also the home country of another one of my favourite composers Arvo Pärt. Whilst there I attended a concert by the most beautiful choir I’ve ever heard, the Estonian TV Girls Choir. They sang pieces by Pärt, Tormis and Kreek, it was a magical concert, the closest thing to hearing a choir of angels.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Tomi Raisanen and Pekka Jalkanen, two of Finland’s finest living composers. I’m also thankful to Hannu Saha for helping me with my research. Hannu is one of Finland’s leading Kantele players, the Kantele being an ancient Finnish instrument.
Here’s Hannu playing some Kantele music
I’m currently holed up in my home in Spiddal working on some compositions and my PhD. I’m also recording a new album which I hope to release in the summer, more of which later.
JULY 2009 RETURN TO NEW YORK
My foreign travels will continue again in July with a quite unexpected trip back to New York where my String Quartet No.2 ‘The Cranning’ will receive its US premiere at the Summergarden Festival at the Museum of Modern Art on 19th July. It’s a thrill to return to New York so soon for this event and my thanks go to Joel Sachs, the Juilliard School and the Contemporary Music Centre for helping to make this happen.
What I’ve been Listening To
I just realised that in my first news post I mentioned I’d say what I’ve been listening to lately with each post. Well recently 3 pieces of contemporary classical music have got my attention. The Finnish composer Pekka Jalkanen composed a wonderful Concerto for Kantele and Strings and I’ve been listening to the CD it’s on, ‘Helios’ by Eva Alkula.
I recently bought the new Arvo Pärt album In Principio. The title track is surprisingly Philip Glass-like, the tracks that really caught my attention are the new arrangements of Da Pacem Domine and especially Mein Weg, a great addition to the Pärt canon.
I’d been increasingly disappointed by Steve Reich’s recent output, nothing in recent years has matched any of his great works from the 1970’s and 1980’s but his latest Pulitzer Prize winning work Double Sextet is a worthy addition to his canon. On first listen it seems very similar to many of his works, not a major change of style or anything, but the more I listen to it the more I like it. There is a subtle change here due to the constantly changing rhythmic emphasis and, praise be, the harmonic changes in the piece are glorious. Reich’s publisher Boosey and Hawkes have made a recording of the work performed live by the ensemble Eigth Blackbird available on a stream here –
November 20, 2008
I was very saddened to learn of the death of the great Donegal Fiddler James Byrne on the 7th November. James is one of the finest musicians I’ve ever met and he was a truly wonderful man, kind of spirit and generous of soul. I was privileged to have got to know James quite well over the past few years and I will really miss travelling to Glencolmkille to play with and learn from him. His funeral was both a terribly sad affair and a great musical tribute to him.
I was lucky enough to have a private master-class with James last year during the Ceol sa Ghleann. His wife Connie took the photo below during it.
My thoughts go out to Connie and the children. Rest in Peace James, you’ll be sadly missed.
September 9, 2008
Hi and welcome to my new webpage for news updates. It’s been ages since I updated the news page on my website http://www.daveflynn.com, using wordpress makes it much easier for me to update news so I’ll be using it from now on.
Lots of stuff has been going on recently so here’s an update
I’m just back from doing the first two dates of the Trad Connections Tour with Hugh Buckley, Liz Coleman, Ciarán Swift and Martin Tourish. It’s great to go on tour with some of my favourite musicians and best friends so I’m really looking forward to our six remaining dates starting with Glór Theatre in Ennis on the 17th September then going to Portlaoise, Birr, Clifden, Dunlewey and Tralee. Full details can be found on our website www.myspace.com/tradconnections
STORIES FROM THE OLD WORLD
That’s the title of my latest composition which has been commissioned by Kerry International Chamber Music Festival with funding from the Arts Council. I’m currently putting the final touches to the piece which is scored for Uilleann Pipes, String Quartet and Narrators. It is based on four short stories as told be the great Kerry Story-teller Peig Sayers who died 50 years ago. It’ll be performed in three locations in Kerry between the 2nd and 4th October by Eoin Duignan, the Engegard Quartet and the Annóg Theatre Group.
Full details can be found here www.kicmf.ie
FIDDLE CONCERTO FOR MARTIN HAYES
Earlier this year I completed a fiddle concerto for the great Irish fiddle player Martin Hayes to perform with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, who commissioned the work. The piece is called ‘Aontacht’ which is the Irish for Unity. The piece is around 30 minutes long and I’m hoping it will get performed sometime in the first half 2009. Keep checking back for updates of when this exciting event will take place.
The next big project I’m going to be involved with will be a collaboration with four of the best musicians working in traditional Irish music today. Fiddlers Caoimhín Ó’ Raghallaigh and Siobhán Peoples, Uilleann Piper and whistle player Mick O’Brien and a Flautist, Piper, Whistle Player who I can’t name yet cos he’s very hard to get in touch with, so haven’t been able to confirm if he can do it or not yet!
I’m going to be writing solo pieces for each of them along with a group piece. It’ll be an experimental project, so don’t be expecting the usual sets of jigs and reels. It is being made possible thanks to funding from the Arts Council’s Deis Scheme for the Traditional Arts.
RELAUNCH OF DRAÍOCHT
My album ‘Draíocht’ was initially released in a very limited edition of 200 copies and I never got a chance to fully promote it. Now they’re all gone I’ve done up a full print and will be relaunching it by sending it out to press all over the place so hopefully you’ll hear more about it in the coming months. It can be ordered on my website and also on CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon and numerous other online shops as well as Custy’s music in Ennis. Hopefully some other shops around the world will get some sense and start stocking it!!!
For a very positive review of the album check out this link http://www.irishmusicmagazine.com/releases/0712dec/
Back in 2004 I instigated the foundation of the Young Composers Collective, an organisation aiming to help promote young and neglected Irish composers. I’m happy to report that 4 years on the organisation has grown healthily to include over 30 composers, some of who are now like myself over 30. As such the organisation has been re-named the Irish Composers Collective. The emphasis is still on young composers but the name change was necessary to reflect the fact that some not so young composers have equal difficulty gaining exposure for their music and also that some people don’t start actively composing until a later age.
The ICC is now funded by the Arts Council and has developed it’s own ensemble and will have an exciting concert programme over the next year featuring 30 new works by Irish composers. see www.irishcomposerscollective.org for more info.
YCC Premiere with Ioana Petcu-Colan
Back in May, when the ICC was still the YCC, there was a very enjoyable concert featuring the great violinist Ioana Petcu-Colan who gave the world premieres of 6 pieces including ‘Tar Eís An Caoineadh’ a work for solo violin I wrote for her. I was also delighted to join Ioana on the night performing new works for violin and guitar by David Coonan and Scott McLaughlin.
Ioana and I are hoping to do more performances as a duo in the future including a showcase performance of Irish works in Romania which is tentatively pencilled in for January 2009. This is all pending funding, so hopefully it will come through.
WHAT’S ON MY PLAYLIST?
With each update I’m going to give a mention to some of the music I’ve been listening to. At the moment two great bands are getting regular rotation on my iPod. American band Sun Kil Moon released an absolute classic of an album last April, the album funnily enough is called ‘April’ and it’s just a great slice of Epic Americana. I’ve been listening to it and their other albums Ghosts of the Great Highway and Tiny Cities regularly since it’s release. It’s great driving music which has made all my summer travels around the Irish festivals so much more enjoyable.
In the past couple of weeks I’ve been listening a lot to the Cocteau Twins. The band unfortunately broke up in 1996 but between 1982 and 1996 they released some incredible ethereal music which sounds like nothing else. Their 1990 album Heaven or Las Vegas has to be one of my Desert Island Discs, with 1988’s Blue Bell Knoll not far behind. Elizabeth Fraser’s voice is just so remarkable and will be familiar to most of you from the Massive Attack hit ‘Teardrops’ and maybe even the Lord of the Rings Soundtrack which she appears briefly on.
So that’s all for now folks. There’ll be more regular updates from now on.