QME perform at Sonic Vigil 7

Curated by Mick O’Shea and Danny McCarthy
In association with Quiet Music Ensemble and St. Anne’s Church

24 November 2012, 3pm – 9pm
St. Anne’s Church, Shandon, Cork
Admission €5

For the seventh year running, The Guesthouse presents SONIC VIGIL, a marathon of new and improvised music, sound art, live electronics, installations and more.

SONIC VIGIL is curated by Cork-based artists Danny McCarthy and Mick O’Shea, who are internationally renowned both for their visual work and their ground-breaking sonic explorations as duo the Quiet Club. Their invited guests include prominent solos and collectives from the Republic, including Harry Moore, Katie O’Looney, Karen Power, Jesse Ronneau, Tony Langlois, Paul Hegarty and Anthony Kelly plus Gruenrekorder artist Tobias Schmitt (Frankfurt).

The Vigil features Ireland’s unique Experimental Music group, Quiet Music Ensemble, which will be giving world premieres of 8 new pieces by up and coming composers from Ireland, Scotland and the USA: Andrea Bonino, Francis Heery, Alexander Hunter, Donal Mac Erlaine, Rachel Ni Chuinn, Robin Parmar, Conal Ryan, Charlie Sdraulig.

Hosting the Vigil this year is St. Anne’s Church, Shandon, which is renowned as home of the ‘Shandon Bells’, the trademark sound of the city. The Vigil includes a brand new piece for the bells by composer/improviser David Stalling.

Cork City has one of Europe’s hottest improvisation scenes, and the Sonic Vigil is the climax of the year’s events. This is an event of extraordinary sounds, incredible diversity and cutting-edge creativity. There’s nothing else like it in Ireland!


Quiet Music Ensemble appears courtesy of funding from the Arts Council of Ireland. Tobias Schmitt is funded by the Goethe Institute.

Open Workshop – Thursday 20 September 2012

Open Workshop

Thurs 20 September, 4.30pm – 10pm

Kevin Barry Room, National Concert Hall, Dublin

The Quiet Music Ensemble will host an Open Workshop in the Kevin Barry Room of the National Concert Hall on 20 September. The workshop is the second stage in the recent Call for Scores, which aims at expanding the repertoire of experimental music in Ireland. The workshop will allow members of the public access to the unique working processes of artists working in contemporary and experimental music.

The works of eight composers were chosen by the ensemble for a performance in late 2012. During the workshop, each composer will go through their especially written work, and explore the possibilites within that work with the ensemble. This is an opportunity to observe the background workings of often complex music.

The composers involved in this workshop are Charlie Sdraulig, Robin Parmer, Francis Heery , Conal Ryan, Andrea Bonino, Alexander Hunter , Rachel Ni Chuinn and Donal MacErlaine.

Members of the public will be welcome in the Kevin Barry Room from 4.30pm and may come and go as they please until 10pm

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QME perform at Hilltown New Music Festival, Fri 20 July

QME is delighted to be performing at Hilltown New Music Festival, as the festival enters its 5th year of unorthodox and cutting-edge programming in Westmeath.

On Friday 20 July, Quiet Music Ensemble curates ‘What We Love’, an evening of music by the incomparable John Cage.  2012 is the centenary of Cage’s birth, and has seen international celebrations of Cage’s life and legacy; in January, QME was joined by special guest performers from all over the country to present a major performance event focussing on Cage’s late music (‘Child of Tree’, in association with Triskel Arts Centre and funded by RTÉ Lyric fm ).  Revisiting the spirit of that performance, QME will be joined by the renowned artists collective Strange Attractor, charismatic violinist Barbara Lüneburg and the increasingly successful Kirkos Ensemble to perform works including ‘Child of Tree’, ‘Ryoanji’, ‘Inlets’, ‘ASLSP’ and three simultaneous versions of ‘Four’!

All of the information about the three-day Hilltown festival is available on their website. Stay around for the whole weekend to catch a huge variety of incredible performances, impromptu events, improvisation spectaculars, installations and late-night fireside socialising!

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QME : Call for Scores 2012

The Quiet Music Ensemble invites composers and sound artists specialising in Experimental Music to create original works for the ensemble. The works will be workshopped in May and performed in June 2012.

Through this Call for Scores the QME intends to expand the existing repertoire of Experimental Music, while offering underexposed composers the opportunities for high profile performance of their works. The QME is committed to programming repeat performances of new works to maximise the exposure of young composers, whenever possible.

QME’s working process is extremely collaborative: the group works closely with composers to develop the playing techniques and the frame of mind necessary for their music. Thus, following short-listing by Artistic Director John Godfrey, pieces appropriate to the performance style and mission of the ensemble will be rehearsed and publicly workshopped with the composers, following which there will be a period during which the composers may revise their works if they wish. During the premiere, composers will be offered the opportunity to speak about the work and engage with the audience regarding composing experimental music.



• This call is open to artists in the early stage of their career, who are not yet well known for their sonic work.

• Quiet Music Ensemble is not a ‘generic’ New Music ensemble, and will only take on works suited to its idiom! For this reason, it is essential to read the technical and other information carefully before deciding on your submission.

• If your work is selected, you must be available for the public workshops and performances

• Works may be submitted in many forms (see below for details).

• There’s no entry fee

• Submitted works must have not been previously performed



Work Duration: Open (may be indeterminate)

Deadline for submission: 5 May 2012

Submission Requirements: Performance materials plus brief text explaining your vision for the piece. See below for details..


Sean Mac Erlaine: Bb and Bass Clarinets, Saxophones (NB ask for details before writing for saxophone)

Roddy O’Keeffe: Trombone Bb/F or Bass Trombone

John Godfrey: Electric Guitar with effects boards (see below for details)

Ilse De Ziah: Cello

Dan Bodwell: Double Bass

Amplification and Electronics (optional)

Performance Materials – further information

There is no restriction on the form that your performance materials may take: they could be scores using musical notation, graphic scores, text scores, recordings which act as the basis for performance, live interactive computer programmes, videos etc. In many such scores, the composer leaves open the intended interpretation of the provided materials; but if you intend that the materials be read in particular ways, the score should include precise instructions. Given the nature of this music, a short piece of text explaining the intent of the work is also requested. Scores least suited to the ensemble are those that employ completely conventional musical notation.

QME Performance Practices

QME never uses a conductor. All the players are experienced free improvisers and have a wide range of extended instrumental techniques. All the players are willing to play their instruments in unusual ways, or to play other instruments, conventional or otherwise. QME plays both amplified and unamplified: please specify which is preferred for your work.

Writing for QME is both an opportunity and a challenge, since it is not an all-purpose New Music ensemble: it’s specifically dedicated to Experimental music and improvisation, with all the mind-set that that involves. Like other specialised ensembles (e.g. the Bang On A Can All-Stars), the group comes ‘parceled’ with musical expectations and ideals. Its music is typically extremely pared-down, (partially) improvised, quiet, and with a heavy emphasis on explorations of sonority. Its music is meditative, often serene and definitely unhurried. Some of its music is for mobile musicians and/or audience.

These pieces, performed by QME, might help to clarify:

• David Toop’s night leaves breathing has an aural score: the musicians improvise within guidelines concerning mood and colour while responding to the pre-recorded materials. The trademark piece of the ensemble, it’s a quietly intense lens on the miniature sonorities of deep night…

• Alvin Lucier’s Shadow Lines asks for steady notes from the winds and ultra-slow glissandi from the strings and guitar, resulting in a transparent mesh of ever-shifting, elusive harmonies and acoustic beating…

• John Godfrey’s Washing Yourself With Food fills areas of the performance space with unvarying spectra from 7 different electronic sound sources: the musicians move within the space and respond with improvised high tones to what they hear. The audience is also mobile: moving within the space causes dramatic changes in the audible sonorities.

• John Cage’s Ryoanji is a meditation on the famous Zen rock garden in Kyoto: in QME’s version, the irregular beat of the percussion is played on the body and the spike of the cello, while soloists Dan Bodwell and Roddy O’Keeffe follow the sinuous lines of a graphic score. In his Four6, each musician independently chooses 12 sonorities, which are then combined according to Cage’s loose timings, expressed as text: the resultant chance layerings are dropped into an intense silence, as if making calligraphic marks on an empty sheet of paper.


You may use pre-recorded and/or live electronics, including video. Live electronics should ideally be submitted as Max/MSP/Jitter programmes, but standalone apps that can run on Mac OS are also acceptable.

The Electric Guitar

A conventional electric guitar is used, but it is typically very heavily processed using multi-effects pedals such as the Boss GT6 and the Roland VG99. Patches designed for the latter may be provided if you wish. The guitarist typically employs bottleneck, ebow and various other implements (coins, blackboard eraser etc); he is very happy to demonstrate a range of techniques, or work out new ones.

For more information, contact John Godfrey 

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Child of Tree: A Celebration of John Cage

I remember loving sound before I ever took a music lesson.

And so we make our lives by what we love.” – John Cage

QUIET MUSIC ENSEMBLE in association with TRISKEL ARTS CENTRE, supported by RTÉ lyric fm

Triskel Arts Centre, Tobin St., Cork City

Jan 28th, from 6pm, walk in / out whenever you like!

Tickets FREE from Triskel Arts Centre Box Office

Outrageous, contrary, crazy, profound? The composer John Cage is perhaps best known as the creator of the notorious ‘silent’ piece 4’33”. Bringing chance, environmental sound, new performance methods and much more into the world of music, he questioned most of the deepest held beliefs about what music is… and can be. He scandalized audiences world-wide with astonishing ideas and extraordinary stage-acts. But Cage was no mere sensationalist, out only to shock: his philosophies, drawing upon spiritual practices from all over the world, are deeply considered and profound. He expressed them in many ways, including music, theatre, the visual arts and in written form. With an astonishing legacy of influences that extend far beyond music, he is one of the most important figures of Twentieth Century art. And yet… the deeply humane nature of his work is seldom recognised, not least because so little beyond the ‘enfant terrible’ pieces is well known.

2012 is the centenary of Cage’s birth, and Child of Tree is a celebration of the unjustly neglected music he created in the last 20 years of his life, 1972 to ’92. This is music of beauty and oftentimes deep serenity. Ranging from pieces made of a sparse, seemingly windswept freeze of notes to a delicious hotpot of environmental noise, from re-written Satie to exuberant circuses of sound, this is music of amazing variety and scintillating colours, deep meditation, humour and elation. It is a joy to be celebrating the work of this incredible artist!

Child of Tree will be recorded for broadcast on Nova, RTÉ lyric fm’s new music programme presented by Bernard Clarke, Sundays from 9pm. 

Other Cage related events taking place on Friday 27 January, in University College Cork:

On Friday afternoon Quiet Music Ensemble and Quiet Club perform a lunchtime concert starting at 1.10pm in The Glucksmans Gallery, UCC, followed by Branches; a seminar exploring the works of John Cage involving renowned collaborators & composers, including John David Fulleman, Alvin Lucier, Pauline Oliveros, Danny McCarthy, Mary Nunan, Jennifer Walsh, Evangelia Rigaki, Martin Iddon and John Godfrey. The seminar will take place between 3pm and 6pm in the Ó Riada Hall, Department of Music, Sunday’s Well Road.

Information on UCC’s website.

(Please note that although included in the information supplied on the UCC website for events taking place on Friday 27 January, the QME performance in Triskel Arts Centre will take place on Saturday 28 January)

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CMC Salon Series featuring QME, Wed 30 Nov

This coming Wednesday, 30 Nov, the Quiet Music Ensemble will be guests of the Contemporary Music Centre’s monthly Salon Series in a performance of works in the National Concert Hall.

The salon will feature four members of the QME performing works by Susan Geaney and John Godfrey as well as a group improvisation.

Vacuum by Susan Geaney was written especially for the ensemble in response to a call for works from the Irish Composers’ Collective in April 2011. Washing Yourself With Food by QME’s Artistic Director John Godfrey was written for QME’s appearance at this year’s Hilltown New Music Festival, and involves spatially-distributed CD players, improvising musicians and the audience strolling around the performance space. Get there early to gain the full benefit of the ambulatory experience!

Check out the CMC on Facebook and Twitter or sign up to their monthly email for all the news on new music in Ireland!

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Quiet Music Ensemble at Hilltown New Music Festival

The QME are delighted to announce their appearance at the opening evening of this year’s extraordinary Hilltown New Music Festival. The festival, situated on the grounds of Hilltown House, Castlepollard, has developed a name for presenting cutting-edge contemporary works in a beautiful outdoor rural setting.

On Friday 15 July, at 9pm on the Main Stage, the QME presents a programme of both familiar and new work. Featured are two ensemble classics, both commissioned in 2008 for the Quiet Music Festival: Shadow Linesby Alvin Lucier; and night leaves breathing by David Toop. Last October, a live performance of night leaves breathing was a central feature of a programme dedicated to QME and Toop on RTÉ Lyric FM’s ‘Nova’.  Irish composer Susan Geaney wrote Vacuum for the QME and has revised it especially for this performance; this is the premiere of its latest version. The final work in the programme is a ‘sonic meditation’ by Quiet Music Ensemble Artistic Director John Godfrey. Made up of a ‘walk-through’ sonic landscape and improvisation by QME and special guests, this is a work especially designed with the extraordinary spaces of the Hilltown House gardens in mind.
QME’s performance is preceded by a Slow Food event, sonic installations and improv: this is sure to be an incredible evening! See http://www.hilltown.ie/hilltown_programme.html for details.

Quiet Music Ensemble at Hilltown New Music Festival

Friday 15 July

9pm, Main Stage

Events begin at 6.30 with Slow Food!

Programme to include:

Alvin Lucier Shadow Lines

Susan Geaney Vacuum {Premiere of new version]

David Toop night leaves breathing

John Godfrey New Work [Premiere]


Dan Bodwell,  Double Bass

Ilse De Ziah,  ‘Cello

John Godfrey Electric Guitar, Director

Seán Mac Erlaine, Saxes, Clarinets

Roddy O’Keeffe, Trombone

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Nights of New Music

As a part of the ongoing series Nights of New Music, the QME will be performing at the National Concert Hall on Wed 27 April at 8.30pm.

The ensemble are guests of the Irish Composers Collective and will perform new works by Alyson Barber, Solfa Carlile, Patrick Connolly, Susan Geaney, Aristides Llaneza and Adam McCartney.

The performance is a part of a whole evening of events, kicking off at 6pm with a Contemporary Music Centre Salon event. QME Artistic Director John Godfrey will give a talk at 8.15, before the performance starts, so get there early to join in the conversation.

6-7pm CMC Salon

8.15pm Talk by John Godfrey

8.30pm Performance by Quiet Music Ensemble

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QME on RTÉ lyric fm – Listen Back

For the next few weeks the live broadcast by the QME on RTÉ lyric fm’s Nova programme is available to listen back.

The link will be live for the next few weeks. Bernard Clarke interviews John Godfrey and guest performer David Toop. Toop also reads from his book Sinister Resonance and the ensemble perform night leaves breathing, Toops 2009 commission for the QME.

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