Welcome to the Royal Irish Academy of Music Composition monthly newsletter.

If you check in with us regularly you will find out what is going on in our department, who has paid us a visit and also about exciting new developments in the work of our staff and students.

Composition has always had a very important place in the story of the Academy. Now that we have a BA in Composition as well as junior and senior composition classes and music technology, our story is getting richer and alot more interesting.

I hope you can check in with us regularly and see how we are doing!

Deborah Kelleher, Head of Musicianship

PPARAFUSXO debut at the Royal Irish Academy of Music

PPARAFUSXO, a new collabortive duo consisting of RIAM Graduate, Roberto Oliveira (Percussion), and Music Technology Lecturer, Jonathan Nangle (Live Electronics), gave their début recital in the Katherine Brennan Hall of the Royal Irish Academy of Music on Wednesday 3rd February 2010.

Spanning a continuous forty-five minutes, the duo improvised an intimate blend of mixed percussion and electronics from the floor of the hall, bathed in a cyaneous glow of two fluourescent tubes.

The duo met through the RIAM Academic Program in 2007 and quickly struck up a friendship and working relationship. Roberto and Jonathan first performed together in Roberto’s MMus Graduate Recital (2008), an example of which can be seen here in a programme consisting entirely of works for percussion and electronics.

In the intervening period the two met periodically to improvise together and the recital on the 3rd February represents a natural culmination of these meetings.
Roberto performs from a percussion set-up involving Vibraphone, Bongos, Chinese Cymbals, Opera Gongs, Woodblocks and assorted pieces of metal while Jonathan processes the live material in real-time using custom-made software. To hear an extract from the recital click here.

PPARAFUSXO are currently planning future events but Roberto and Jonathan can be seen performing again when Roberto will perform Jonathan’s New Work, et erat nox for 4 drums and Javier Alvarez’s seminal work Temazcal for Maracas and Tape at Kaleidoscope in the Odessa Club on 6th April 2010

Roberto Oliveira (Spain, 1979) is a graduate of the Koninklijk Conservatorium (Hogeschool van Beeldende Kunsten, Muziek en Dans) in the Hague and the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin. He regularly performs with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and has performed with Concorde Ensemble and Crash Ensemble. He is a founding member of the Odaiko Percussion Group and is currently collaborating with composers from across the globe in a programme of new works involvng percussion and electronics.

Jonathan Nangle (Ireland, 1981) is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin. He studied composition with Donnacha Dennehy and Rob Canning and Electro-Acoustic Composition with Roger Doyle. He currently studies privately with Kevin Volans. A lecturer in Music Technology and Electro-Acoustic Composition at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Jonathan is a member of the Spatial Music Collective and performs live electronics with composer/pianist, David Bremner. Future engagments include works with Crash Ensemble, Ensemble Scratch the Surface, The Dublin Guitar Quartet, Ergodos Festival MMX and a new LyricFM commission for the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland.

‘An equally misspent youth!’…..Northeastern University visits the Academy
On Monday 18th January, Chair of the Music Department at Northeastern University, Dr. Anthony De Ritis, and composer/ lecturer, Brian Robison, spoke to our students on the subject of their compositions, their backgrounds and their career strategies.

In this fascinating event, Tony De Ritis discussed his work, ‘Devolution’ for DJ and Orchestra, a bold piece in which musical boundaries were deliberately broken down to critical acclaim. The process of working with non-music reader DJ Spooky (he was known to say, ‘I read files, not music’) and the reaction of the orchestra and audience opened up a lively discussion with students on the possibilities surrounding the cross-fertilisation of musical styles. Listen to some of Tony’s piece, Devolution, Concerto for DJ and Orchestra here.

Brian Robison focused on his interest in the first electronic instrument made, the theremin, originally created in the 1920s and played without physically touching the instrument- in ‘mid-air’. Having shocked and delighted the students with a discussion of his interests in what he candidly described as his ‘misspent youth’ he then went on to describe in detail his work, ‘Broadcast Recovered from the Room Marked “1930s”‘ that involves soprano, theremin (played by the composer) and orchestra based a poem by Gregory Brooker. To get a flavour of Brian’s work take a listen to his piece, Animal Psychology, for wind sextet here.