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Sean mac

IMC commission music for Spike cello festival : interview with Sean MacErlaine

Chair upon Wood upon Stone

For cello and live electronics.

Premiere performance by Kate Ellis 12pm, Sunday 12th February

The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin 1

Earlier this year Improvised Music Company commissioned Seán MacErlaine to compose a piece of music to be premiered at Spike alternative cello festival on Sunday 12th February. This new festival will take place from 10-12th February mainly in The Workman's Club, Dublin 2.

A prolific artist whom we have worked with in various guises, we spoke to Seán about his approach to this project.

What was your motivation when writing this piece for Spike?

I wanted to write a piece for cellist Kate Ellis that would really suit how she plays with music. I figure the best way to realise that is to give lots of the musical decisions directly to her. Chair upon Wood upon Stone is quite open-ended as a composition and will sound quite different with each performance depending on how Kate chooses to work with the basic material.

Tell us about the process and what sound audiences can expect?

The bulk of the composition is actually software programming. I have been working for a number of years with the idea of software as composition, where the nature of the live electronic processing is a key component in shaping the character of the piece. So we have melodic material and particular computer processes and these are used to determine the form, structure and mood of the piece in an open, playful manner.

What is the story of the title ‘Chair upon Wood upon Stone’?

The title speaks of the here and now, the situation of the cellist in space as well as the layering of things and also harks back to the old English place names where settlers built villages upon the banks of the local river.

Seán Mac Erlaine, 2017.

Improvised Music Company has been a presenter of work and resource for Irish jazz musicians for a quarter of a century, supporting the development of jazz and improvising artists. Part of that commitment is in the creation of new work.

In 2017 and over the next few years, we are keen to engage with musicians and the creative process more directly, while concurrently collaborating with other organisations and engaging with audiences. An innovative festival like Spike is the perfect space for this sort of activity.

IMC aims to take a more active role in the commissioning of new work and by doing so, be involved at the genesis of these creative projects, effectively developing new material through the artist and being involved across the whole process, from concept to performance.

Kenneth Killeen, Director IMC

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