CMC BRIGID residencies: a new programme for women and gender minority composers

On 1 February 2024, the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland is very pleased to announce the awardees of a pilot professional development residency for emerging and early-career women and gender minority composers. The CMC BRIGID residencies will support the composers in their creative practice, offering mentorship, training, networking and professional development opportunities.

Composers Abigail Smith and Anderinna Gooch pictured with CMC Director Evonne Ferguson at CMC's 'Spring Gathering' on 31 January, 2024.

The CMC BRIGID residencies are an initiative developed in response to findings published in the Uneven Score report, an assessment of the gender balance of publicly funded composer opportunities on the island of Ireland from 2004-19 (2023). Uneven Score, researched and written by Dr Michael Lydon and funded by the Arts Council Ireland / An Chomhairle Ealaíon evidenced a notable imbalance in commission opportunities afforded to women and gender minority composers compared to their male counterparts [see the full report here]. 

The first awardees of the CMC BRIGID residencies are composers Anderinna Gooch and Abigail Smith. Following review by an independent panel, it was recommended that Abigail's and Anderinna's practices be supported through a bespoke professional development programme.

Anderinna Gooch

Passionate about music and sound, Anderinna Gooch is a talented electroacoustic composer, music tutor, singer, and multi-instrumentalist from Co. Donegal. With a diverse range of skills including sound art, composition, audio-visual work, and sound design, Anderinna has captivated audiences with her multichannel sound performances. Anderinna has completed a BSc degree in Music Technology from Queen’s University Belfast and an MA in Music Technology from the University of Ulster. Currently, Anderinna is a music tutor with the Donegal Music Education Partnership based in Co. Donegal. She teaches piano, singing and music technology and is currently involved in the National School Music Programme teaching the ukulele. Anderinna is a member of the Donegal Chamber Orchestra playing the double bass.

In response to the announcement of the CMC BRIGID Residency award,, Anderinna said:

May the Brigid residency unfold as a journey of exploration, evolution, and a harmonious path leading to the realization of my full artistic potential.

Abigail Smith

Abigail Smith is a Dublin based composer and musician. She has released two albums of her own music Night Time Walking and Fall Into Silence. Fall Into Silence was written and released with funding from the Irish Arts Council. Abigail was awarded an Arts Council Music Bursary in 2022. She was the winner of the 2021 Finding a Voice and CMC Emerging Female Composer Composition Prize for her work Certain of Uncertainty. She was awarded an Agility Award from the Irish Arts Council in 2021. She enjoys experimenting with new music technology and collaborating with others. She composes music for film, theatre and computer games. Abigail is a member of the Screen Composers Guild of Ireland. She performs her own music regularly and with the Astral String Quartet. She performs as a duo using loop pedals with Lioba Petrie. They completed a residency at the Lexicon where they created a new collaborative work entitled Fragments. Abigail and Lioba performed a new collaborative work Permission Granted in the 2023 Fringe Dublin Festival.

In response to the CMC BRIGID Residency award, Abigail said: 

It is a huge honour to be among the first recipients of the BRIGID residency. It comes at a stage of my composition practice that will be of huge benefit to me. I began my musical education in Scoil Bhríde Primary School with a wonderful fiddle teacher who introduced me to music and the power of melody to weave a spell. It feels like a lovely circle to be linked to the resilience and strength of St. Brigid again.