Louth Contemporary Music Society is one of the most adventurous music promoters in Ireland. Michael Dervan, The Irish Times
Formed in 2006, Louth Contemporary Music Society (LCMS) has a strong track record for excellence and innovation in contemporary music programming in Ireland. It not only presents the leading international composers of our time in person, but fosters genuine engagement through new commissions and cleverly-curated collaborations with leading international and Irish performers. Excellent reviews have been written in Gramophone, The Guardian, The Irish Times, The Uk Independent, International Record Review, Backtrack among others.
Eamonn Quinn was awarded the Belmont Prize in 2018 from the Forberg-Schneider-Stiftung. Read more here
- David Lang’s just(after song of songs) was featured in the Paolo Sorrentino film Youth. just(after the song of songs) is an LCMS Arts Council funded commission. The track was also sampled by The xx for their song Lips.
- LCMS Monk’s Music performance and recording was listed as one of the cultural highlights of 2013 in the Irish Times. Monk’s Music also received a 5 star review in the Irish Times. LCMS’ Eamonn Quinn was chosen by Irish Times classical music critic Michael Dervan as unsung hero of 2013 for his innovative work in recordings and concerts.
- The Irish Times’ critic Michael Dervan listed ‘ The unshakably musical purity of veteran US experimentalist Alvin Lucier at Dundalk Gaol’ as one of his cultural highlights of 2014.
- Writing of his hopes for the 1916 centenary celebrations, the writer and broadcaster Vincent Woods says ‘ One of the best ways to honour past and future is through support, acknowledgement and funding for innovative work in the present. So let us all make a greater effort to travel to Louth to hear the remarkable concerts put on by Louth Contemporary Music Society.’
LCMS has garnered positive and emphatic audience response; the society has engaged existing audiences from throughout the country and continues to develop significant new audiences nationally and in County Louth in particular. Feedback demonstrates its overwhelming success in presenting contemporary music in a way that is accessible, interesting and inspiring, both to existing and new audiences.
LCMS delivers its exceptional programme of work with the highest possible standards of organisational and financial management. Operating with a minimum level of core costs and overheads allows almost all stakeholder investment to be channelled into artistic programming.
The organisation’s recent output has included seven critically acclaimed recordings; A Place Between (2009), Path (2010), Night Music: Voice in the Leaves (2012), Metamorphoses (2012), In Search of the Miraculous (2013), Ó-Riada Re-imagined (2013), Monk’s Music ( 2013) and Floating, Drifting (2017) and Klang (2019). Monk’s Music received a 5 star review in the Irish Times. These projects have raised awareness of the great work of LCMS at an international level and given highly positive international exposure for a large number of Irish musicians. They have also given LCMS further opportunity to reach new audiences through coverage in popular music media such as BBC Music Magazine, Gramophone, American Record Review, The Observer, The Independent, The Irish Times, Mojo and State. The Song of Songs (2015), In Search of the Miraculous(2013) and Ó Riada Re-imagined (2013) were Cds of the Week on New York’s WNYC Q2 programme.
I would say the Louth CMS is particularly significant because of the dedication, love and devotion that drives Eamonn Quinn to seek out special musicians to bring to his corner of the world. These choices are made on musical worth regardless of their commercial potential. It is these kind of risks that keep music alive. Composer – Terry Riley
Louth Contemporary Music Society was formed by Eamonn Quinn and Gemma Murray in 2006. LCMS is a non profit organisation aiming to bring world renowned contemporary musicians, performers and composers to play and educate in Co Louth, Ireland.
To date LCMS have organised 55 performances as follows:
- Joanna MacGregor performing in Dundalk and Drogheda Louth in June 2006. This was listed in the Dundalk Argus as the performance of the year for 2006.
- The American composer Terry Riley performed in Louth in May 2007 with the Arte Quartett and the Crash Ensemble. This event has been listed in the Irish Times as a cultural highlight of the year for 2007. Terry Riley wrote a new work for LCMS which was performed at the festival by the Crash Ensemble: Loops for Ancient Giant Nude Hairy Warriors Racing Down the Slopes of Battle.
- LCMS commissioned Arvo Pärt to compose a new choral composition based on St Patrick’s Breastplate. The composer entitled his new work the Deer’s Cry. Following a successful application to The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon, the world premiere took place in Louth in February 2008.
- LCMS invited US composer and pianist Philip Glass to perform with Irish musicians in St.Patrick’s Cathedral Dundalk on 17 July 2008.
- LCMS organised the first Temenos festival. Temenos 08 was a celebration of the music of Sir John Tavener. The three day festival featured the Ulster Orchestra with conductor Tõnu Kaljuste, Marta Sudraba, Ioana Petcu Colan and Doreen Curran, the Oriel Trio and Patricia Rozario, Polyphony, Anonymous 4 with Rothko 4. The festival included the world premiere of a Sir John Tavener commission O My People.
- In association with Drogheda Arts Office, LCMS invited the Russian composer Alexander Knaifel to Ireland for a portrait concert as part of the Drogheda Arts Festival. The performance took place on 1 May 2009. The performance featured Oleg Malov, Joachim Roewer, Elizabeth Cooney, Elizabeth Wilson, the Callino Quartet and Patricia Rozario. The performance included the world premiere of an Alexander Knaifel commission: EF and the three visiting cards for string trio.
- On 13 July 2009, The Kronos Quartet with special guest Wu Man performed Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera and Terry Riley’s Cusp of Magic in An Tain Theatre Dundalk. Both performances were Irish premieres.
- On 24 September 2009, the Ukranian composer Valentin Silvestrov travelled to Ireland for the first time for a portrait concert with two world premiere performances.
- The Hilliard Ensemble performed their Arkhangelos programme on 1 October 2009 in St.Patrick’s Dundalk.
- Uri Caine performed the music of John Zorn in March 2010 in St.Peter’s Church of Ireland Drogheda
- The Fire and the Rose: the Music of Sofia Gubaidulina was the title of a composer portrait concert of Sofia Gubaidulina held in Drogheda on 1 May 2010 featuring Ivan Monighetti, The Heath quartet, The Oriel Trio, Dublin Guitar Quartet and Malachy Robinson
- Louth Contemporary Music Society celebrated Terry Riley’s 75th Birthday with Terry Riley, Talvin Singh, George Brooks in California Kirana – The West Coast Legacy of Pran Nath in An Tain Theatre Dundalk in Oct 2010.
- Sounds of the Silk Road featuring the Hilliard Ensemble, Ivan Monighetti, the EQ Ensemble and Lydia Kavina performed in a concert on 29 April 2011 in St.Peter’s Church of Ireland Drogheda. The performance included a new commission from Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky Morning that was performed by the Hilliard Ensemble, Ivan Monighetti and the newly formed EQ Ensemble.
- The Sirin Choir from Moscow performed Church Chants and Spiritual Verses in St.Nicholas’ Church ( The Green Church) Dundalk on 5 May 2011.
- The 8 cellos of Celli Monighetti performed a programme entitled Metamorphoses with Azerbaijan composer Franghiz Ali-Zadeh in St.Peter’s Church of Ireland Drogheda in October 2011.
- The EQ Singers with Zoë Conway and Laoise Kelly conducted by Eamonn Dougan performed the world premiere of a new version of Sean Ó Riada’s mass in O’Riada Re-imagined in St.Nicholas’ Church of Ireland Dundalk in March 2012. Iarla Ó Lioniard also sang at this event.
- Rabih Abou Khalil wrote a new work that was performed by the EQ Ensemble with Rabih on oud at the Drogheda Arts Festival in May 2012.
- LCMS celebrated the great New York based composer and instrumentalist John Zorn with three performances including Cyro Baptista’s Banquet of the Spirits, Neue Vocalsolisten and the EQ Ensemble and John Zorn on solo organ in Dundalk in October 2012. The event was described as original, exhilarating, mould-breaking by Martin Adams in the Irish Times.
- The EQ Singers with Eamonn Dougan, Zoe Conway, Siobhan Armstrong and Robbie Harris performed at Temple Bar Trad Festival in Dublin in Jan. 2013 and St.Nicholas Galway. The O’Riada Re-imagined Programme was also performed in Belfast in September 2013.
- Alexander Raskatov’s Monk’s Music. Originally a commission by the Borodin Quartet but never performed. The world premiere of Monk’s Music took place in St.Nicholas Church of Ireland Dundalk on 8 February 2013. The Carducci Quartet with Gordon Jones bass performed the premiere with the composer Alexander Raskatov in attendance.
- Trio Mediaeval April 2013 Performed in Dundalk.
- Mantra Percussion May 2013: Mantra performed Michael Gordon’s Timber on six planks of wood at Drogheda Arts Festival. This was the Irish Premiere of this work.
- EQ Ensemble September 2013: EQ Ensemble held the Irish Premiere of Georg Friedrich Haas’ in iij. noct in Dundalk. The work was performed in total darkness. This was the Irish Premiere of the work.
- Claire Booth, soprano and Peter Manning performed György Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments in Dundalk Gaol on 21 February 2014. This was the Irish Premiere of the work.
- Monk’s Music and other works by Alexander Raskatov were performed at Drogheda Arts Festival 2014 with the Carducci Quartet, Robert Macdonald, Alexander Raskatov and Elena Vassilieva.
- Sounds in Space featured the unique musical visions of Alvin Lucier and Eliane Radigue. The concert took place in the Oriel Centre at Dundalk Gaol on 20 June 2014. The performers included Alvin Lucier, The Kairos Quartett making their Irish debut, Carol Robinson on bass clarinet, Francesco Dillon and Manuel Zurria. The performance included the world premiere of Eliane Radigue’s OCCAM XVI and also the first performance in Ireland by Alvin Lucier of his seminal work I am sitting in a room.
- A Music Circus: A House Full of Music took place in the Oriel Centre at Dundalk Gaol on 21 June 2014. The performers included Carol Robinson, Manuel Zurria, Francesco Dillon, The Kairos Quartett, David Stalling, Siobhan Armstrong, Saileog Ni Cheannabhain and Richard O’Donnell’s Percussion Quartet with Vincent Woods reading John Cage.
- The Song of Songs took place on 24 October 2014 in St.Peter’s COI Drogheda. The performance included two new works David Lang’s just(after the song of songs) and Betty Olivero’s En la mare hai una torre. The performers were Trio Mediaeval, Garth Knox, Sylvain Lemetre, Agnes Vesterman, Cliona Doris. Conductor Andrew Synott joined for Betty’s piece. Composers Betty Olivero and David Lang attended the performance.
- Marino Formenti held a stunning performance of Kurtág’s Ghosts on 2 May 2015 as part of Drogheda Arts Festival.
- On 30 May 2015 Christian Wolff: A Celebration in Dundalk marked the performing debut of Christian Wolff in Ireland. Christian performed a magical programme with two amazing musicians Robyn Schulkowsky and Rohan de Saram.
- Michael Pisaro’s asleep, forest,melody,path was performed by Carol Robinson, clarinet, and Séverine Ballon, cello with field recordings made by David Stalling in Dundalk on 17 October 2015.
- Our 41st concert Blissful Pentecost took place in March 2016 featuring the world premiere of a new work by Frode Haltli (Blissful Pentecost) an LCMS commission. The piece was performed by Frode Haltli, Garth Knox, Vegar Vardal and Amond Sjølie Sveen.
- The Music Books Festival took place in June 2016 and featured five concerts: The Book of Light and Shadow, The Book of Love, The Book of Elements, The Book of Quiet and the Book of Songs. The performers included Jürg Frey, Ian Pace, Diamanda Dramm, Keren Motseri, Garth Knox, Agnès Vesterman, Sylvain Lêmetre, Julia Robert, Dafne Vicente-Sandoval. The festival included music by Jürg Frey, Jakob Ullmann, James Dillon, Onute Narbutaite, Galina Ustvolskaya, John Zorn, H.M. Gorécki and Garth Knox among others. Paul Griffiths interviewed the composers Jakob Ullmann and Jürg Frey. Music Books marked the first time composers Jürg Frey, Jakob Ullmann and Onute Narbutaite visited Ireland.
- James Dillon’s The Louth Work: Orphic Fragments was premiered at Drogheda Arts Festival 2017 by Crash Ensemble, Peyee Chen with conductor Sinead Hayes
- Jürg Frey and Salvatore Sciarrino’s Silenzio June 2017
Louth Contemporary Music Society’s June 2017 SILENZIO contemporary music festival focuses on the work of one of the great composers of our time, Salvatore Sciarrino, making his first visit to Ireland. Also featured are several international performers including Hélène Fauchère, Carol Robinson, Quartetto Prometeo, Matteo Cesari, Valentina Coladonato, Silvia Tarozzi and Deborah Walker and the outstanding vocal ensemble Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart. SILENZIO also presents the result of an ongoing collaboration with the Swiss composer Jürg Frey: the world première of his I Listened to the Wind Again. Featured music by Jürg Frey, Salvatore Sciarrino, Giacinto Scelsi, William O.Smith, Cassandra Miller, Malcolm Goldstein among others.
- Four Thousand Holes May 2018
Taka Kigawa and Russell Greenberg performed a programme by Karen Tanaka, Tristan Murail and John Luther Adams. It was described in the Journal of Music as Emanating Sparks.
- The Book of Hours June 2018
The Book of Hours featured 5 concerts over 2 days in June 2018. The festival opened with the awarding of the Belmont Prize for Contemporary Music to Eamonn Quinn. The Prize was awarded by the Forberg-Schneider-Stiftung, Munich Germany. Gothic Voices performed a music of old and new music including world premieres of new works from Linda Buckley, Karen Tanaka and Michael Pisaro. Wolfgang von Schweinitz’s Klang was performed by Goevyaerts String Trio. Rebecca Saunders solo works were performed at 3pm with the world premiere of O,Yes & I. Sciarrino and Gerard Pesson had new works performed at 5pm. Kate Molleson interviewed the composers at 7.15pm. The final concert included Arvo Pärt’s Stabat Mater, Galina Grigorjeva’s Chant (World Premiere), Karen Tanaka’s Song of Songs and a festival ensemble with Music Generation Louth’s students from St.Malachy’ Girls performing Gavin Bryars’ Jesus’ Blood never failed me yet with the composer conducting the ensemble
- Nicole Lizee’s Spielberg Etudes May 2019
The world premiere of Nicole Lizee’s Spielberg Etudes was performed at Drogheda Arts Festival in May 2019.
- Stations of the Sun Festival June 2019
Featured the first Irish visit by Kaija Saariaho with performances from Camilla Hoitenga, Raphaële Kennedy, Aliisa Barrière, Jakob Kullberg, META4, Goeyvaerts String Trio with Herlinde Verjans and Tore Tom Denys, Hiromi Kikuchi and Ken Hakii, The Russian Patriarchate Choir conducted by Anatoly Grindenko. New works from György Kurtág, Pascale Criton, Linda Catlin Smith, Peter Garland.