Fergal Dowling is a composer of electroacoustic and instrumental music, computer musician and ensemble director. He studied composition at Trinity College Dublin (BMus, 2000), (MLitt, 2002) and, with the aid of the Elizabeth Maconchy Composition Fellowship (2002), the University of York (PhD, 2006). He has worked as a teaching assistant (TCD, York) and Assistant Lecturer in music technology (DkIT) and continues research in interactive audio performance, sound spatialisation and algorithmic composition.
His works often combine acoustic and electronic forces and regularly employ computer-based interaction and sound spatialisation to engage the listener with a sense of presence and immediacy. These interactive works postpone compositional decisions until the moment of sounding, affording performers involvement in the compositional act and allowing emerging structures to reveal their own logic. He draws on a variety of simple sound materials - noise grains, isolated tones, environmental sound samples, or intuitive vocalisations - in combinations that create complex inharmonic textures.
His compositions have been presented widely at festivals and conferences, including: ISSTC 2014, Composition in the 21st Century (Dublin, 2014), Noise in/and/as Music (Huddersfield, 2013), Atelierfrankfurt (Frankfurt, 2011), Música Viva (Lisbon, 2010), Béal Festival (Dublin, 2010), Japan Electroacoustic Festival (Nagoya, 2009), ISCM World Music Days (Gothenburg, 2009), Future Sonic (Manchester, 2007), and by many ensembles and soloists, including: Ex-Machina (Brazil), Concorde (Ireland), Ensemble Chimera (England), Projektgruppe Neue Musik Bremen (Germany), EA Revue (Ireland), Grup XXI (Spain), Ensemble GuitArt (Germany), Hear This Space (England), Acousmain (Germany), and notes inégales (England).
An active performer of computer music, in 2008 he co-founded Dublin Sound Lab, a contemporary music performance group, through which he has collaborated with many Irish and international composers and performers, including: Karlheinz Essl, Garth Knox and Peter Ablinger. He has performed with the group in Dublin, Sheffield, Paris and Bucharest, and in 2013 he produced and directed the critically acclaimed Irish premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s seminal chamber work, Maa. With Dublin Sound Lab, he commissioned and curated Places and Responses, a major collaboration involving Peter Ablinger, Gráinne Mulvey, Rob Canning and Piaras Hoban, for 2014 Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival.
Composition is like a sculptural act involving the construction of sonic objects with a spatial presence. These constructions, though fragile, are often veiled by an apparent forcefulness. My principal materials - loudspeakers and voice - are integrated in detailed movements which aspire to formal clarity and brevity of utterance.