Donnacha Dennehy's The Hunger—out August 23, 2019 on Nonesuch Records—explores Ireland's Great Famine. Performed by Alarm Will Sound led by Alan Pierson, soprano Katherine Manley, and sean nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, the libretto draws from first-hand accounts by American humanitarian Asenath Nicholson. The Hunger "bears hearing and rehearing," said the Washington Post. "It is powerful, and it makes a statement." Pre-order to download the album track "Black Potatoes" now.
New Amsterdam Records released Surface Tension/Disposable Dissonance on June 28, 2019. It features performances by Third Coast Percussion (Chicago) and Crash Ensemble (Dublin). The recording makes Bandcamp’s “Best of Contemporary Classical June List”. Writing about it, Peter Margasak says “Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy explores two fascinating sound processes on these recently composed works, performed by two of contemporary music’s premiere ensembles.”
OperaVision, the online platform for Opera Europa (the European association of opera companies and festivals), will be streaming my recent opera with the writer Enda Walsh, The Second Violinist, from 02/02/18. So Percussion premiere the piece I wrote for them, Broken Unison, on March 6 at Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall in New York. It is co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall, as is Canons and Overtones, a piece that Carnegie Hall just announced as part of their 2018-19 season. The Knights will give the American premiere of that in April 2019.
The Journal of Music
'Glamour Sleeper' from 2002 accompanies skateboarders in new video advertisement.
Composer Donnacha Dennehy’s work Glamour Sleeper has been featured in a new Adidas advertising campaign. The video features several skateboarders in an urban setting, their ollies and tricks syncronised with the music.
Glamour Sleeper, for cello, violin, double bass, percussion and electronics was premiered at the 2002 Up North! Festival at Project Arts Centre in Dublin. Reviewing the work at the time in The Journal of Music, John McLachlan wrote:
Made out of highly unsubtle sound production – lots of dirty scratching from strings and hard edged percussion – and limited, even crude pitch resources …. The organising principles governing everything else were the opposite, refined and tasteful.
Tessellatum is a really special piece for me, a kind of utopian statement lasting almost 40 minutes for solo viola and 11 microtonal viols. I was so lucky to be able to work with the phenomenally talented Nadia Sirota (viola) and Liam Byrne (viol) in realizing this piece. I'm excited to announce that it is being released as an album on Bedroom Community on August 11th. Nadia and Bedroom Community have also launched a website specially for the piece: tessellatum.com. A part of Tessellatum features in Steve Smith's iconic nightbynight playlist at The Log Journal of June 26. Update (September): Reviews in Rolling Stone, The Line of the Best Fit, and Pitchfork.
Thrilled and humbled that The Second Violinist, my new opera with Enda Walsh, produced by Landmark Productions and Wide Open Opera, has just won the Fedora Prize. The prize will help with future international productions of the opera. In the meantime, dates have been announced for premiere performances at the Galway International Arts Festival in July, and the Dublin Theatre Festival in October. Further performances will be announced over the coming season. As for other news, there are two new releases this month: an arrangement of Rambling Boys for Olivia Chaney and the Kronos Quartet for Kronos's new Nonesuch disc, Folk Songs, and the debut recording of As an Nós for Crash Ensemble's Ghosts album on Bedroom Community.
Two pieces are being released on recordings in May 2017: The Weather of It (2016) - a live recording of the Doric Quartet's extraordinary performance of the piece at the Wigmore Hall in London, as part of the NMC Records compilation Bracing Change (and in exalted company too); and a new recording of Stainless Staining (2007) as part of Sophia Vastek's "Histories", also in the exalted company of pieces by John Cage and Michael Harrison!
A little string quartet of mine - Pushpulling (2007) - features on a new release by Jasper String Quartet, entitled Unbound, in the wonderful company of pieces by terrific American composers such as Caroline Shaw, Missy Mazzoli, David Lang, Ted Hearne, Judd Greenstein and Annie Gosfield. The CD is released by Sono Luminus and New Amsterdam Records. Also, on April 1, the ferociously talented composer/pianist Timo Andres will premiere a piece that I wrote for Bob Hurwitz as part of a Nonesuch celebration in Bob's hono(u)r at BAM.
Upcoming concerts this month include the wonderful Doric String Quartet from London presenting the American premiere of the quartet that I wrote for them - The Weather of it - at Carnegie Hall on February 27. NMC Records in the UK will be releasing their performance at Wigmore Hall in an upcoming recording. The evening before, the fiery Fidelio Trio will perform Bulb at Spectrum NYC. Bulb was originally written for this trio, and they play it like the own it! The phenomenal Third Coast Percussion from Chicago are continuing to play Surface Tension all over the place, this month in Arizona and Missouri. And on February 17, the National Symphony Orchestra in Ireland will give a repeat performance of Crane, this time conducted by the Swedish conductor, Daniel Blendulf.
The Last Hotel, my opera with Enda Walsh (writer and director), will be presented at Les Theatres de la Ville in Luxembourg on 10 and 11 January. It involves the original cast (Claudia Boyle, Kate Manley, Robin Adams and Mikel Murfi) and ensemble (Crash Ensemble). This performance will be recorded for future release by Cantaloupe Records in New York.
100 minsVenus Films ensemble and electronics
Original Soundtrack for Gerard Stembridge's psychological thriller, ALARM (2008)
two pieces for a french film