Mirrors of Earth

Dublin Sound Lab presents Mirrors of Earth
the Irish premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s ‘MAA’ (for septet and surround sound) with a newly commissioned video work (75 min.) by Ailbhe Ní Bhriain.


Project Arts Centre, Dublin, 9 November 2013, 8.00pm (Tickets €15/€10)

Second performance

Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, 14 November 2013, 8.00pm (Tickets €14/€12)

Kaija Saariaho’s haunting chamber-ensemble composition MAA was originally conceived as a ballet; in ‘Mirrors of Earth’ the choreography is replaced by a newly commissioned seven-part video work by Cork-based artist Ailbhe Ní Bhriain. Varying in forces from surround-sound ‘tape’ to septet, each of the seven movements is counterpointed by a specially produced video piece projected above the performers in large format cinema-quality HD.

MAA (a Finnish word meaning “earth”, “land”, “country” or “world”) is one of Saariaho’s first large-scale works and Ní Bhriain’s remarkable response, in the form of seven projected works which combine filmed and computer-generated imagery, matches Saariaho’s score in both scale and rhythm.  The video work confronts the underlying themes which permeate Saariaho’s work – our perception of distance, longing, journey, memory and sense of place. The musical/visual engagement operates at multiple levels, in keeping with a composition which is not obviously narrative or goal-directed, and which explores a myriad of timbres through combined electronic, surround sound and instrumental forces.

Kaija Saariaho is a prominent member of a group of Finnish composers and performers who are now, in mid-career, making a worldwide impact. She studied composition in Helsinki, Freiburg and Paris, where she has lived since 1982. Her studies and research at IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique) have had a major influence on her music, and her characteristically luxuriant and mysterious textures are often created by combining live music and electronics. Although much of her catalogue comprises chamber works, from the mid-nineties she has turned increasingly to larger forces and broader structures, such as the operas ‘L’Amour de loin’ and ‘Adriana Mater’ and the oratorio ‘La Passion de Simone’. Saariaho is the recipient of several international accolades, including the Sonning Music Prize (2011) and the Polar Music Prize (2013).

Ailbhe Ní Bhriain works primarily in video, using composite and constructed imagery to create scenes in which the dimensions of time and place are out-of-joint. Her work seeks to represent a state of things come undone by imagining the hallucinatory in the mundane and vice versa. It operates on two levels. On the one hand it employs deliberately simple collage techniques to declare its constructedness and point to the illusory nature of image–place. On the other hand, it asks the viewer to inhabit a fluid illogic – an unfolding of form and narrative that lends an unlikely coherence to the contradictions of the imagery. Her works have been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Ireland and internationally. Ailbhe lecturers in fine art at the Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork, and is represented by Domobaal Gallery, London.

Dublin Sound Lab is Ireland’s foremost contemporary music ensemble specialising in electronic and computer-mediated concert performance. As well as presenting established works, Dublin Sound Lab initiates and commissions new repertoire and often uses computer-based techniques to explore novel relationships between musical material, compositional process and performance practice with the aim of creating new and genuinely engaging concert experiences. Formed in 2008 by organist Michael Quinn and composer Fergal Dowling, Dublin Sound Lab has worked with many leading Irish and international composers, given Irish premieres of over 50 works and performed in Paris and Bucharest. Dublin Sound Lab is supported by the Arts Council and Dublin City Council; its appearances abroad have been grant-aided by Culture Ireland.


Conductor, David Adams

Violin, Bogdan Sofei

Viola, Andrea Baciu

Cello, Adrian Mantu

Flute, Julie Maisel

Harp, Cliona Doris

Harpsichord, Michael Quinn

Percussion, Maeve O’Hara

Computer, Fergal Dowling

Sound, Alexis Nealon

Video projection, Mihai Cucu

Mirrors of Earth has been supported by a Music Project Award from the Arts Council, along with assistance from Dublin City Council, the Finnish Music Agency, Cork City Council, the Finnish Embassy in Ireland and the Contemporary Music Centre.

Booking:        www.projectartscentre.ie   tel: (01) 8819613

Booking:        www.mermaidartscentre.ie   tel: (01) 2724030

Enquiries:             info@dublinsoundlab.ie tel. 086 2249686