About the residency
"Over the last year, as lockdown continued, I became more aware of my own natural habitat and landscape and began taking field recordings of bird sounds in my local area and in popular forest parks around Dublin and county Wicklow - in an effort to archive those sounds that I had been enjoying and become more intensely aware of. Exploring my relationship with the natural world and biodiversity is something that I have committed to allowing myself time for, and engaging with nature through my art practice is how I would like to spend time exploring that. While researching, developing and presenting a nature-inspired mixed media sound and visual installation with violin as the central voice, I hope to create a unique concert offering for the audience – a solo violin programme with mixed media which also inspires a new cohort of nature lovers to engage with nature on a local level at Lough Key Forest Park." -Larissa O'Grady
The performance will include American contemporary composer Michael Gordon's 'Tree-Oh', his recent work for 3 violins. I will perform all of the parts myself. Two of the parts will be pre-recorded and played through speakers during the performance, and I will play the third part live in the room. Referencing the title of the work, there will be atmospheric visual footage of me performing some of “Tree-Oh” in native woodlands at the local Lough Key Forest Park. This video footage, captured by filmmaker Nestor Romero Clemente, will be projected onto the wall behind me during the performance. I will be engaging the services of a filmmaker for this element of the production.
I will be commissioning award-winning Irish composer Sam Perkin to write a new nature-inspired work for solo violin with pre-recorded tape part. This new work will include a tape part that will play on speakers in the room and be triggered by the house sound technician. This commission will expand the contemporary repertoire for solo violin while also being a new work specifically commissioned for a regional part of Ireland – Carrick-on-Shannon. Sam Perkin is composer-in-residence with Crash Ensemble, Ireland’s leading new music group. Sam has written music for Crash Ensemble, The Irish Chamber Orchestra, RTE NSO, Musica Nova Finland, Sound Scotland Festival and the Swiss La Côte Festival, among others.
American composer Andrew Norman’s 2008 work for solo violin includes many extended techniques for solo violin – showing a rarely-seen (in one contemporary piece) range of colour and texture for the instrument. This piece speaks to the observational nature of this concert programme, aimed at zooming in and looking and listening to our landscape and habitats. This programme will present those observations in an artistic form, to amplify the power of critically engaging with breath-taking beauty in our immediate surroundings.
Exploding Stars by Irish composer Linda Buckley, written in 2011 is a work for amplified solo violin and tape (mixed-media). This is a piece I have performed before, at Kilkenny Festival X in 2020. Due to restrictions at the time, I performed this solo work to separate pods of between 1-5 people in The Tholsel, Kilkenny. It was an incredibly intimate and moving experience. I welcomed each pod into the room and introduced the theme and concept of the work before the performance. We discussed the work after my performance and our shared experience of such an unusual but welcome concert experience. I enjoyed the element of communication with the audience immensely.
During the course of this residency, I will aim to give more insights into these new compositions by living composers by giving an introduction to the pieces, sharing descriptions of extended violin techniques within the pieces and discussing the natural element in the video recordings.