Peter Moran - Mamuska Background


Composition Studies

I was born in Dublin and received my music degree with first class honours from University College Dublin. I twice attended the Irish Composition Summer School, studying with Nicola LeFanu, and later with Michael Finnissy, before earning an MA and a PhD in Composition at the University of York, studying under Nicola LeFanu, Bill Brooks and Roger Marsh. My studies in England were funded by York’s Vinson and Nonhebel Awards, the Arts Council’s Travel and Training Award and the Bill Whelan International Music Bursary.

My Composition Work

My PhD work explored how different musical cultures influence current trends in all apects of contemporary composition, from how it is written, which instruments and voices are written for, where it is performed or broadcast, and who is listening. My particular focus was on microtonal music, and the challenges of integrating the instruments, the performers and the notation systems of western music and Javanese gamelan.

After my PhD, I composed a large body of work addressing other compositional interests, including piano miniatures, vocal and choral writing, transcribed improvisations, flexible ensembles, and audience participation pieces.

My current composition interest is in creating choral settings of the world's great spiritual texts. So far this has included settings of the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha (in the Pali language), the Gayatri Mantra (in Sanskrit), and the poetry of Kabir (translated into English by Rabindranath Tagore).

My music has been performed across Europe, and further afield from America to Indonesia and Japan, by such esteemed performers as the Fidelio Trio, the Crash Ensemble, Benjamin Dwyer, Okeanos, Trio Scordatura, the Dublin Laptop Orchestra, Chamber Choir Ireland, and the Juice Vocal Ensemble. My works have released on Ergodos Records and Farpoint Recordings.

Commissions and Awards

In 2021 I was appointed Composer-in-Residence for University College Dublin's College of Arts and Humanities, funded by the Irish governmenet's Creative Future's Academy initiative. I have previously held composition residencies at the SoundSCAPE Contemporary Music Festival in Italy (2011) and the Frederic Chopin Conservatoire in Paris (2011-12). My composition awards include 1st Prize at the Carl von Ossietzky Composition Competition in Germany (2010) and the Walter Becket Cup for Original Song at Ireland’s Feis Ceoil (2011). I was shortlisted for the Sean O'Riada Composition Prize (Ireland, 2016) and for the Mauricio Kagel Composition Prize (Austria, 2013). My work has been commissioned and supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council, Kildare County Council, and Ireland's national broadcaster, RTE.

My Gamelan Work

In 2012, I arranged for Ireland's National Concert Hall to receive the gift of a newly-built gamelan orchestra from His Royal Highness Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X of Yogyakarta in Java. At the same time, I was invited to teach gamelan at University College Dublin, thereby helping to establish the first gamelan ensemble in Dublin.

When the NCH instruments arrived from Java in 2014, public interest grew rapidly, and what started with just a handful of players soon grew to include five different orchestras and regularly sold-out public workshops.

As an ensemble, the NCH Gamelan Orchestra has performed at numerous festivals in Ireland and in Indonesia, including the 2018 International Gamelan Festival in Java, the 2014 Yogyakarta International Performing Arts Festival, and often at Ireland's largest music festival, the Electric Picnic. So far, we have released two singles online, my compositions Bonang Quartet No.1 and Embat, which are available now on iTunes and Spotify.

In 2019, I arranged the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the NCH, UCD and the Indonesian Institute for the Arts (ISI Yogya), which has facilitated the ongoing artistic exchanges between Ireland and Java, including artistic residencies for Indonesian artists to spend up to six months living and teaching in Dublin.

Today, these five orchestras - they are the NCH Gamelan, the UCD Gamelan, the composers group Gamelan Nua, as well as beginner and intermediate classes - all maintain their own regular performance schedule. See my Gamelan Page for more information


Music Education Work

I have worked for many years in the field of music education, at all levels from primary schools to universities. I was Musical Director of COMA Yorkshire in England from 2007-11 and founder and director of the Music Educators Orchestra in Dublin from 2011-2017. My series of composition workbooks, New Music Alive! was commissioned by the Contemporary Music Centre and Dublin City Council to bring composition and contemporary music into primary schools.

I have also composed contemporary music for children, which has been performed by students of all ages from pre-school to post-primary. In 2012 I was commissioned by the education publishers Gill and MacMillan to write a collection of songs in different styles to teach children the multiplication tables in a new way.

Since 2018, I have been working with the Dublin Simon charity to deliver songwriting workshops for Dublin's homeless community, funded by Dublin City Council. In 2019 I was appointed Musician-in-Residence for Fingal County Council, delivering world music percussion workshops in primary schools in the region.

Other Activities

I have been very involved with the Association of Irish Composers for many years, acting as Executive Secretary from 2012-2015, and continuing to serve on the committee today. In 2016 I founded the AIC New Music Journal, as a multimedia online platform for analysing and promoting the work of Irish composers, which I continue to work on as co-editor.

I have also been active running a number of concert events, such as the Listen At Arthurs series. As a performer, when I'm not giving gamelan concerts, or recitals of avant-garde vocal or piano music, I enjoy playing in local folk sessions on guitar and mandolin.

In 2015, I co-founded the musical meditation group Chanting and Chai, which today regularly sees over a hundred people gathering together for kirtan and meditation every fortnight.

Upcoming Events

May 28th, 29th, 30th, 2024, 7pm

Event: NCH Gamelan 10th Anniversary Celebration (with special guest Byron Wallen)
Performers: NCH Gamelan Orchestra
Venue: National Concert Hall, Dublin

June 16th, 2024, 12pm

Event: Hugh Lane Gallery Sundays@Noon
Performers: NCH Gamelan Orchestra
Venue: Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin

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