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Inaugural Lecture: Professor Simon Mawhinney

An Aeroplane Flies Through the Rose Garden of Heaven: Thoughts on Failure

graphic of aerooplane fly through a cloudy blue sky with prink roses in the foreground
April 17, 2024
Sonic Lab, Sonic Arts Research Centre, Cloreen Park, Belfast BT9 5HN
18:00 - 19:00

Professor Simon Mawhinney's inaugural lecture explores the concept of failure from the perspective of a composer. No stranger to ambitious musical conceptions, Simon completed in 2021 his largest, most flamboyant composition, a piano work in nineteen movements entitled The Garden of Light. With the oversized, 140-minute score already on the desk of a world-leading pianist, and performance dates booked, Simon made a shocking discovery: this was no magnum opus but a magnum defectum. This FAILURE resulted in a period of intense research - including immersion in some surprising musics - that has resulted in his development of an entirely new, liberated, compositional style. An inspiring account of rejuvenation and victory, the talk will include the world premiere of For Colin Stark, a new work for oboe and piano performed by Ben Gannon and Ruth McGinley.

The lecture will be streamed live and published online after the event.

Simon Mawhinney's career as composer and pianist began in the Harty Room almost exactly thirty years ago. He has collaborated with leading musicians all over the world and has established a reputation as a composer of rare vision. His music ranges from the most rudimentary resources (eg monaural sine-wave synthesis) to lush, paroxysmal celebrations for large forces (sinfonietta, orchestra). His most recent album is Transitional Objects, released in 2024 by Altarus Records.

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Event Organiser Details
Name Maria Meehan