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Composers Forum: Karen Power

Friday, September 18, 2020 at 9:00am

Virtual Event

Karen Power’s compositions utilise two primary sources; acoustic instruments and everyday sounds, spaces and soundscapes. Her works are experienced as concert music, sound art, expanded instruments, real+imaginary sonic environments and as multi-sensory moments.

Everyday environments and how we hear everyday sounds lies at the core of Karen Power’s practice with a continued interest in blurring the distinction between what most of us call ‘music’ and all other sound. She has found inspiration in the natural world and how we respond to spaces we occupy. She continually utilises our inherent familiarity with such sounds and spaces as a means of engaging with audiences. Resulting works challenge the listeners memory of hearing while simultaneously shifting focus and presenting new contexts for such sounds. 

Karen values development time and has been in receipt of global residencies such as; The Arctic Circle, The Banff Centre + Array Music, Canada, The Guesthouse, Ireland, UCDavis, California and in 2015 she received a  DAAD Award enabling residence in Berlin for 1 year. She has also been composer-in-Residence with Galway Music Residency, The Model Art Gallery + Music Generation. Karen's work has been commissioned by RTÉ, Bozzini Quartet, SCAW, Carin Levine, Sonar Quartet, Ensemble Mosaik, ConTempo, Ultraschall Festival, MikroMusik, Music Current, NMD Festival, Retro Disco, Isabelle O’ Connell and others. Other musical performances include: RTÉ Symphony Orchestra, Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Modern, the Ulster Orchestra, Argento, Ensemble Mise En, Cathy Milliken, Kate Ellis, Mmm Trio and Quiet Music Ensemble. She has been awarded national and international awards and honorary mentions for her work and has represented Ireland internationally on a number of occasions, most recently with her strong quartet @ ISCM, Beijing. Karen’s installation work and her interest in field recordings has taken her music across many genres and art mediums including: video, dance, film, painting, sculpture and glass. This cross-arts approach has enabled some of her more open-time music to be presented in spaces like galleries, parks, churches, warehouses and even a gaol, which offer audiences choice in how and when we listen.

Photo by John Godfrey.

Headphones are recommended for this session.


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Lecture, Music


Department of Music





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