Composer Darragh Kelly Announced as Recipient of the Arts Council Next Generation Award

CMC represented composer Darragh Kelly has been awarded the Arts Council Next Generation bursary. This bursary is awarded to 20 emerging artists across all creative disciplines, at an early but pivotal stage of their career. The award of €25,000 allows artists to buy time to develop their work and to be able to show their potential to advance and strengthen their practice. As well as receiving this award, the artists are invited to participate in a collective week-long residency in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig in 2023.

Photo: J Leveson.

On receiving this award Darragh Kelly said:

I’m overjoyed to have been given a Next Generation award. Not only is it an acknowledgment of the work I’m doing and hoping to do in the future, but the financial assistance at this stage of my career, as a particularly precarious working class artist, will be so beneficial. I consider myself lucky to have peers, ensembles, musicians, festivals, and organisations like CMC that have seen something unique in my practice so far and supported me. I’ve had a great couple of years and the sense of momentum is really encouraging.

The award will enable me to focus on my practice and work on more substantial compositions drawing on my recent research around AI and the body. I’ll be participating in AI learning sessions with internationally renowned practitioners. Also, Andrew Hamilton has agreed to have some sessions with me as part of this award. Andrew and I first met as part of my Crash Ensemble Free State commission and our conflabs have proven to be both incredibly illuminating, energising, and hilarious. I've got some collaborations with the amazing James McIlwrath and Ficino Ensemble coming up in the next few months, among other things, so keep your ears open. And my emails are always open for commissions.

CMC Director Evonne Ferguson said:

CMC is delighted that Darragh has received this crucial support from the Arts Council of Ireland. This bursary is a significant endorsement of Darragh’s maturing compositional practice and his unique voice as a composer, particularly working in the advanced field of Artificial Intelligence.

Darragh Kelly was conferred with CMC Associate Artist Representation in 2021. Recent projects and commisssions include: 'DISCRETE FEATURES', a work for solo piano commissioned by Psappha Ensemble (Online premiere in May 2022); 'Penelope', a work for accordion and spoken word, co-commissioned by CMC/Centre Culturel Irlandais for Ulysses Journey 2022 (Screening in Dublin, Paris, Budapest and Belfast across February to June 2022); 'Self-attention' for violin and machine-learning audio, commissioned by Music Current/Dublin Sound Lab for Music Current Festival (November 2021); 'DEEP MODEL WORKER' commissioned and performed by Crash Ensemble, with funds from the Arts Council of Ireland 2020 (New Music Dublin Festival, April 2021).

Watch: 'Discrete Features'

Discrete Features is an intuitive, rapt piece. It unconsciously chants something to itself under its breath. A hyperreal, elemental tonality and sympathetic resonances, emerging from a combination of the sostenuto and sustain pedals, create a kind of unsettled finitude. Its bare octave melodies and askew ornamentation add up to a piece that takes being unserious very seriously.

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