Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy will present a lecture entitled, “Grá Agus Bás: Love and Death” on Friday, December 7 at 4:30 p.m. at the Lewis Center for the Arts’ James M. Stewart ’32 Theater, 185 Nassau Street. The lecture is part of a series presented by Princeton University’s Fund for Irish Studies. The event is free and open to the public.
Dennehy is an internationally acclaimed Irish composer heralded as one of the best-known voices of his generation. Born in Dublin in 1970, Dennehy completed undergraduate work at Trinity College in Dublin and pursued doctoral work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on a Fulbright Scholarship. In 1997, he co-founded the Crash Ensemble, a renowned contemporary music ensemble for which he serves as artistic director. Dennehy’s music has been featured in such festivals as the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, EXPO, Bang On A Can in New York, and ISCM World Music Days, among others. Currently, Dennehy regularly lectures in music composition at Trinity College and is visiting Princeton as a 2012-13 Global Scholar in the Department of Music.
Dennehy’s lecture is based on his landmark work Grá Agus Bás, which translates as “Love and Death” and explores those same themes. Sean-nós, a type of unaccompanied Irish vocal music, inspired the title piece of Dennehy’s album. Released in May 2011 from Nonesuch Records, Grá Agus Bás features a blend of modern minimalism, traditional Irish, and classical influences. The album received international acclaim, with The Guardian calling the title composition “a piece of startling freshness.”
Pairing visits to Princeton with return visits to Ireland, Dennehy will host Princeton colleagues and students at Trinity College and present a number of events in Ireland featuring the work of Princeton faculty and students. Princeton graduate students will write major works for the Crash Ensemble and will spend time working on the piece with Crash before it premieres.
The Fund for Irish Studies, chaired by Princeton professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, affords all Princeton students, and the community at large, a wider and deeper sense of the languages, literatures, drama, visual arts, history, politics and economics not only of Ireland but of “Ireland in the world.” Its mission is two-fold: to coordinate and expand existing courses taught by present members of the faculty, and to offer a series of public lectures, literary readings, conferences, exhibitions, screenings and theatrical performances.