We are delighted to announce that the composer Michael Cummins has been selected as the winner of our Composition Competition 2022.
Michael’s winning piece, A New Species, will be premiered at the Festival’s Rising Stars concert at St. Mary’s Church, Blessington on Saturday 21 May, 1pm by clarinettist Cathal Killeen and pianist Órán Halligan.
Michael is from Cork and is on the staff of Cork ETB School of Music as a violin teacher, ensemble coach and orchestral conductor. He is also a freelance multi-instrumentalist session musician in various genres from Classical, Jazz and Pop to Irish Traditional music. Michael previously won the County Cork Fleadh Ceol in 2010 for a Jig in the Newly Composed Tunes Category, and he has more recently performed two of his own compositions in one of his MA concerts in a programme including music by contemporary Irish composers, Seoirse Bodley, Declan Townsend and Ian Wilson.
The past couple of years have given Michael time to refocus his energies on the creative process in composition. He plans to further his credentials in composition and increase his output in the coming years to establish himself more firmly amongst contemporary Irish composers.
On his winning piece, A New Species, Michael writes:
“Having researched the performers, Órán and Cathal after reading the brief for the competition, I sought to compose something that would be both technically challenging, yet fun and exciting to play. As an active musician myself, in my compositional approach I try to let my training, experience as a musician and exposure to the multitude of genres I have played inform my creative process. It was important to me from the outset that the piece showcased the technical prowess, experience and musicality of the performers.
The piece was borne from the idea of putting a more contemporary twist on the compositional technique of Species Counterpoint… I composed it on the week beginning the 16th of February 2022, which was the first anniversary of moving into a new house. It was also the day I was diagnosed with Covid 19, a new virus species. And considering I had been trying to incorporate elements of Species Counterpoint into the creation of the piece, I thought A New Species would be a fitting title for the piece.
I am most grateful to the West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival for choosing my piece as the winner of this year’s composition competition. It is a privilege to have it premiered by musicians of such high calibre. I hope the audience enjoys listening to the piece as much as I enjoyed creating it.”
Festival audiences can find out more about Michael Cummins’ winning piece during a Pre-concert Composer’s Voice interview hosted by the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland. This will take place at St. Mary’s Church, Blessington on Saturday 21 May, 12.30pm (followed by the concert at 1pm).