“A bedrock for your voice”

Jonathan Irons

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David Fennessy was born in Ireland in 1976. He studied music in Dublin and then composition with James MacMillan at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, where he lives today.

Following a first contract with UE for his orchestral work This is How it Feels (Another Bolero), Fennessy has now signed a major agreement for a list of works going back to 2004, covering the broad variety of his works. Included are works for mixed ensembles such as PPP for seven instruments and electronics (2004), The sound inside a sea-shell is not really the sea for six instruments and electronics (2007) as well as solo works like The first thing, the last thing and everything in-between for piano (2009) and rosewood for guitar (2010). A fruitful collaboration with Ensemble Modern led to his composing 13 Factories for large ensemble as part of the into ... project, and continued in 2011 with the world premiere of La Rejouissance. La Paix, conducted by Franck Ollu.

He has just finished writing the score for Pass the Spoon, a music-theatre collaboration with the visual artist David Shrigley, which will be premiered in Glasgow in November 2011.

On his own music, he says: “I think each piece has its own individual technique but what people hear is something much deeper and profound and long lasting. It’s the thing they recognise as a composer’s voice. Of course it does manifest itself in technical things like intervals, but there’s some kind of bedrock on which your voice is built.”

“For me music has a unique ability to follow a kind of emotional narrative that finds a tiny crack; a split second in time; an instant, and sinks further and further into itself – where time seems to seep out from the centre in all directions. In this way, the shape of the music acts as a kind of ‘freeze frame’, looking continuously at the same moment but always zooming in to higher degrees of magnification so that what can appear to be, for instance, a smooth edge can also be revealed to have the most intricate topography.” 

David Fennessy

For a list of works, audio excerpts and programme notes see www.universaledition.com/fennessy