New Music Dublin 2021

Friday 23rd to Monday 26th April

New Music Dublin
New Music Dublin

How do we make music together, when we can’t come together to make music?

And – especially – how do we make New Music, which doesn’t have previous examples of itself to act as guides and mentors for those who wish to attempt it in these times?

While we’ve been putting New Music Dublin 2021 together in the teeth of the pandemic, many are the times we’ve stopped and looked at each other (over Zoom, of course) and questioned the wisdom of trying to do this. When you can’t do the fundamental thing that making new music requires, how do you make it, and why?

But every time that we nearly pulled up the drawbridge and decided to sit this one out, the creativity and perseverance of the composers, musicians and producers involved gave us the inspiration to keep going. I’ve lost count of the number of programme re-drafts, re-thinks and re-starts we’ve gone through, but each time, in response to all of the changes and challenges, someone in the cohort of amazing musicians and creatives from across all the music tribes we work with came up with a brilliant idea to make something new and wonderful that would work despite – or sometimes, because of – the strange and difficult times we’re living in.

So New Music Dublin 2021 is, explicitly, a festival for lockdown conditions. It’s a set of ideas, a programme made up of solutions to the question posed above: how do we make music together, when we can’t be together?

These solutions stretch from how to get orchestras back together – both on stage, and remotely – through to making music individually, and from music beamed-over-thousands-of-miles internationally, to wholly unobserved and unwitnessed private music-making. Every event in New Music Dublin is framed and presented in this spirit of exploration, enquiry and engagement, of existing despite the existential threats we all face.

You may justifiably ask why we did not wait until the strictures have been removed, and we can all come back together, and make music as we used to? And our response is – is new music really that fragile? Do we have to wait until the wind is in our favour, the tide is rising, the stars correctly aligned? Surely if music is worth making, it is worth making despite – or perhaps because of – the need for it to be re-thought, re-worked, re-made for our new times. Because the times will surely change again, and we will as surely have to change with them.

Warmest wishes to you all! Keep healthy, keep safe, keep creative – and see you all as soon as we possibly can.

John, Jon, Kerry, Siobhra, Jo and the team

Visit the New Music Dublin website for full programme