Find Your Local Music Generation

Five Sligo Teenagers Compose Work for Choral Festival Premiere

Bing Bang Choir rehearsal Ciara Matthew Niamh Alice
Premiere of The Big Bang by Music Generation Sligo at the Sligo International Choral Festival.

Five young local composers will be firmly in the spotlight during Sligo International Choral Festival this year, thanks to Music Generation Sligo and their participation in Music Generation – Ireland’s National Music Education Programme, initiated by Music Network and funded by U2 and The Ireland Funds together with local Sligo Music Education Partners.

The five post primary students, aged 13 to 16, were recently offered the opportunity by Music Generation Sligo to compose a piece of music, under the guidance of an expert – whose work has been commissioned and performed by the likes of the RTE Concert Orchestra, the Moscow Chamber Players, the Roald Dahl Foundation, BBC Radio 3 and the Welsh National Opera to name but a few.

Belfast composer Brian Irvine has collaborated with everyone from the late great Seamus Heaney to Snow Patrol, but is delighted with the outcome of his most recent collaboration with Music Generation Sligo and Sligo teenagers, Ferdia Durkin from Collooney, Matthew Rooney from Ballinfull, Niamh Feeney from Sligo town and Ciara Murphy and Alice Purcell, who are both from Strandhill.

The result of the year-long project is the “Big Bang” a composition in seven movements which is inspired by the wonders of space. It is due to be premiered at the Hawk’s Well Theatre Sligo on Sunday November 10th as part of the International Choral Festival.

The performance will also have an innovative visual dimension, courtesy of Loch Bo Films, who will present inserts of local children discussing their impressions of space as part of the performance. Other visual images will be screened as a backdrop while each piece of music is performed.

The work was commissioned by Sligo County Council’s Arts Service and is managed by Music Generation Sligo (MGS) in partnership with Sligo Academy of Music.

“Each of the five have produced extraordinary pieces. It’s been a delight doing workshops with them,” said Irvine who is composer-in-residence with MGS.

This extraordinary performance will combine an extended Sligo Academy of Music Orchestra with the newly formed Music Generation Sligo Youth Choir made up of singers from a number of youth choirs from Sligo, together with a number of soloists.

The young composers were given the loan of lap tops at the start of the project and have been using special software designed for composing. They bring an eclectic mix of musical backgrounds to the collaboration.

Thirteen year old Alice Purcell, a student at the Ursuline College Sligo plays piano, concertina, guitar and tin whistle. “This last year has been a magic carpet ride for me and I’d like to thank everyone who made the carpet ride happen.” she said.

Ferdia Durkin was six when he started to study piano and cello at the Royal Irish Academy of Music . For his composition he drew on his impressions of space. “I had this image of space as being peaceful and mysterious, but with hidden dangers for human beings”.

Ciara Murphy has already arranged songs for cello, Mathew Rooney plays guitar and enjoys writing songs, while Niamh Feeney who plays piano, violin, guitar, and is always “listening to or playing music” said the opportunity to compose her own music has been a joy.

When: 10th November 2pm
Where: The Hawks Well Theatre Sligo
Composers: Brian Irvine, Ferdia Durkin, Niamh Feeney, Ciara Murphy, Alice Purcell, Matthew Rooney

Commissioned by Sligo County Council Arts Service.
Funded by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government Per Cent for Art Scheme & Music Generation.
Produced by Music Generation Sligo in association with Sligo Academy of Music, Loch Bó Films & Sligo International Choral Festival.