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Contemporary Music Lecture Series at IMMA

A series of five lectures on the development of contemporary music by the celebrated composer and pianist Kevin Volans begins at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Thursday 21 April 2005. The series, which continues until 5 May, will deal with European music in the 1950s and ‘80s, post-modernism in European music and the works of the renowned German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. In addition, a special guest lecture on American music in the 1950s will be given by the composer Christian Wolff, a leading authority on that period, on Sunday 15 May.

The series will also explore links between the visual arts and music, a particularly relevant topic given the close relationship between these two art forms in the work of Laurie Anderson, whose exhibition continues at IMMA until 2 May. Other forms of artistic expression, including contemporary music, have also played an important part in the career of Jasper Johns, whose work was shown at the Museum earlier in the year.

Kevin Volans has been described, by Village Voice, as “one of the planet’s most distinctive and unpredictable voices”. Born in South Africa in 1949, he studied in Cologne with Karlheinz Stockhausen and later became his teaching assistant. In the mid-1970s his work became associated with the New Simplicity movement – the beginnings of post-modernism in music. In 1979 he embarked on a series of works based on African compositional techniques, which quickly established him as a distinctive voice on the European new music scene. In 1986 he began a productive collaboration with the Kronos Quartet. Their recordings of his White Man Sleeps and Pieces of Africa broke all records for string quartet disc sales.

Volans has also written for dance, collaborating with Siobhan Davies, Jonathan Burrows and others. Latterly, he has turned his attention to writing for orchestra and to collaborating with visual artists and has recently completed a piece with the South African artist William Kentridge. In 2004 he received the Martin Toonder Award from the Arts Council. He has lived in Ireland since 1986.

The lectures are aimed at music professionals, students, contemporary music enthusiasts and a wider public. They will take place on 21, 27 and 28 April and on 4 and 5 May. Four of the lectures (21 and 27 April and 4 and 5 May) will run from 7.00 to 8.30pm. The lecture on 28 April, entitled An Analysis of a Stockhausen Piece will run from 7.00 to 9.30pm – see schedule attached.

Admission is free, but booking is essential on tel: +353 1 612 9900 or the automatic booking line +353 1 612 9948; email: [email protected].

For further press information please contact Patrice Molloy at  tel: +353 1 612 9922; email: [email protected]

31 March 2005