The work of the distinguished contemporary composer Kevin Volans will be celebrated with two free concerts at the Irish Museum of Modern Art
on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 July 2009. The concerts, which also include pieces by a number of younger composers who have been influenced by Volans work, are being presented by IMMA to mark the composers 60th birthday this year. The Saturday concert begins at 8.00pm, while the Sunday concert begins at 12.30pm.
The series is being presented by the Ensemble Madrid, a contemporary music group from Spain , and the SISU percussion ensemble from Norway . The central piece is Chakra, Volans' spectacular percussion piece, which will be played at both the Saturday and Sunday concerts. The Saturday concert will present two world premieres: Volans No Translation 6 Sketches after Juan Uslé (2009) for string sextet and percussion, and Arild Suárezs Dúo no 1- dedicated to Kevin Volans (1998) for two percussionists. The concerts will also feature five Irish premiers.
Kevin Volans has been described, by Village Voice, as one of the planets 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.