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Concert features sounds of Ireland, Newfoundland

March 11, 2004

Music at Memorial presents a mini-series of three evening concerts of new music featuring artists and composers from Newfoundland and Ireland. The series will be held in two venues over three nights.

The mini-series starts on Thursday, March 18, with a performance at the D.F. Cook Recital Hall by percussion ensemble The Scruncheons. Directed by Rob Power, this performance will be filled with every sound imaginable in a program of Newfoundland premieres, featuring Edgard Varese's Ionisation, with guest conductor Donald Buell. Composed in 1931, Ionisation was preceded by only a handful of percussion ensemble scores, but is today celebrated as the first successful piece for percussion, and a classic of the twentieth century repertoire. Also on the program are John Wyre's quintet Marubatoo, and Australian Nigel Westlake's Omphalo Centric Lecture. The Scruncheons will also perform some of their own compositions. The performance will start at 8 p.m.

The second evening of music will be on Friday, March 19, with an evening of contemporary chamber music by Irish and Newfoundland composers featuring works by Sweeney and Ingoldsby from Ireland and Crawley, Ross and Wyre from Newfoundland. The recital, which will feature woodwinds, pianos, voice and percussion, will take place at 8 p.m. in the D. F .Cook Recital Hall.

The series concludes on Saturday, March 20, with a recital of organ music performed by visiting composer, Eric Sweeney. This recital, which will feature music by Britten and Messiaen as well as Sweeney himself, will be held at 8 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

Eric Sweeney is head of music at Waterford Institute of Technology and organist and choirmaster of Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford. He began organ lessons while still a choirboy at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin studying with the cathedral organist W.S. Greig. He later studied with Flor Peeters in Belgium and, with the aid of an Italian government scholarship, with Fernando Germani in Rome. He has given recitals throughout both northern and southern Ireland as well as in England, Italy and America and his programs reflect a special interest in contemporary music.

The Memorial University Percussion Ensemble was formed by Don Wherry in the late 1980s, and changed its name to the Scruncheons in 1992. Since 2001, the group's activities have been directed by Rob Power. Rob is a founding member of the 'original' Scruncheons, and is the current professor of percussion at Memorial's School of Music. The Scruncheons perform regular concerts and workshops featuring improvisation, world music, homemade instruments, contemporary percussion ensemble repertoire and world premieres. Many Scruncheons compose music for the ensemble, and these works are premiered throughout the year in various venues. They are regular performers at the Sound Symposium, and have been heard several times on CBC Radio's Musicraft, as well as nationally on Two New Hours.

Ticket information and concert reservations: please call the concert line at 737-4455.