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FINDING A VOICE 2021- RESULT OF EMERGING COMPOSER COMPETITION

Published 11 months ago 11th September 2021 by Editor

Finding a Voice and the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland are delighted to announce Abigail Smith as the winner of the 2021 competition for Emerging Women Composers. 

Abigail’s winning piece for marimba will be premiered in a free evening concert with renowned percussionist Alex Petcu on 17th September 2021 in Clonmel as part of Finding a Voice Concert Series and Clonmel Arts Partnership’s Culture Night offering, alongside works for percussion by Dame Evelyn Glennie, Keiko Abe and more.

Alex Petcu Photo by Owen Humphries

Finding a Voice’s Artistic Director Róisín Maher says: “We had a record number of entries this year for our emerging composer competition and were delighted to be able to partner up with the Contemporary Music Centre for a second year to offer shortlisted candidates a percussion workshop with Alex Petcu. There was an exceptionally strong field of talented composers – the future is certainly bright for composition in Ireland! Abigail is a very worthy winner and I’m excited to hear the work performed live in Clonmel on 17th September.”

Evonne Ferguson, Director, Contemporary Music Centre, outlines the significance of the competition: “This competition and the complementary workshop programme is an essential annual professional development initiative for emerging women composers in Ireland, and offers CMC – as the all-island resource organisation for the documentation, development and promotion of new music from Ireland – the opportunity to engage with the wealth of new composer talent across the island. It’s an honour to partner with Finding a Voice, and all at CMC are looking forward to hearing this new work from Abigail Smith on Culture Night”.

Living and working in Dublin, Abigail Smith is a multiinstrumentalist, composer, vocalist, conductor, and educator. She studied music at NUI Maynooth, viola with Simon Aspell and Vanessa Sweeney at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, and Music Production and Games at Griffith College Dublin. Her debut album Night Time Walking was released in 2009 to great acclaim, and in 2021 her song cycle Fall into Silence was recorded and released with the support of the Arts Councils Music Recording Scheme. Abigail writes: “I am honoured that my piece Certain of Uncertainty for solo marimba was chosen this year as the winner of the 4th annual Finding a Voice/Contemporary Music Centre Composition Competition for Emerging Women Composers. I am very grateful to the Finding a Voice team and the CMC for the opportunity to have my music performed by the talented percussionist Alex Pectu in a live setting. It is a privilege to have the freedom to express our ideas and creativity. This can never be taken for granted.” Abigail’s winning piece, Certain of Uncertainty plays with the sense of time and the expectation of the audience and the performer. Each performance of the piece will be different depending on the performer’s unique choices.

Independent adjudicator for the competition was the CMC represented celebrated Irish composer Judith Ring, who writes: “Congratulations to Abigail Smith on winning this year’s Finding a Voice competition! It was a very tough call as all the pieces were of an extremely high standard and there were so many different styles and approaches. All the composers should be very proud of the work they did, and it is evident that they learnt a huge amount from working with Alex Petcu on both the vibraphone and marimba. Hopefully there will be an opportunity to hear the other pieces live too someday!”

Alex Petcu will perform works for vibraphone and marimba on Friday 17th September 2021 at 7.30pm in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary as part of Finding a Voice Concert Series and Clonmel Arts Partnership’s Culture Night programme, with the support of Tipperary County Council. Booking for this free concert is on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/finding-a-voicepresents-alex-petcu-its-about-time-tickets-168450206101

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