Peter Moran - Mamuska Background


Gamelan CD Release with Byron Wallen


June 2024

The NCH Gamelan Orchestra is proud to release their debut album featuring the renowned jazz trumpeter Byron Wallen.

This release celebrates the 10th Anniversary since the Sultan of Yogyakarta presented this unique collection of Indonesian gamelan instruments as a gift to the Irish people in 2014.

The music on this album represents a variety of the traditional gamelan styles and techniques unique to the region of Yogyakarta, including a number of musical features taught to the NCH ensemble specifically by visiting artists from Java, including the sultan's personal Royal Palace Musicians.

The record also includes a special field recording of a gamelan gong being built in Java in 2013, recorded by ensemble director Dr. Peter Moran.

Byron Wallen features on an original composition by Peter Moran entitled "Embat", which was inspired by the sounds of the gamelan being built. Originally written for the ensemble's inaugural concert during the sultan's 2014 visit, it is rearranged here for Byron Wallen especially for this release.

The album download includes a pdf of a 44-page commemorative booklet detailing the remarkable story of these instruments. The booklet gives an account of how the instruments were built, and the sultan's royal visit to Dublin; it tells the stories of the orchestra's concerts in Ireland and in Java, and the Indonesian reaction to those concerts, with photos documenting the whole journey.

A limited-edition 10th-Anniversary Commemorative CD is also available from Bandcamp in a beautiful sliding matchbox-style presentation box containing a full-colour print of the booklet.

UCD-CFA Composer-in-Residence

This year I am delighted to be appointed Composer-in-Residence for the Creative Futures Academy and UCD's College of Arts and Humanities. The role involves writing two newly-commissioned works for the UCD Philharmonic Choir and the UCD Choral Scholars, as well as teaching two composition modules in the UCD School of Music and delivering a public seminar on my work.

In addition, especially for the Creative Futures Academy, I am designing a new inter-disciplinary module to be delivered through both the School of Music and the School of English, analysing the Techniques of Songwriting.

Choral Sketches with Chamber Choir Ireland

I am delighted to be participating this year in two fantastic initiatives organised by Ireland's Contemporary Music Centre.

The Choral Sketches project is an exclusive opportunity for three selected composers to develop their choral writing skills by working with Paul Hillier and Chamber Choir Ireland. For my participation, I composed a new work called Mantra, which came out of my own meditation practise, and which received a beautiful performnce by CCI at the New Music Dublin Festival in April.

I discussed the work and its performance on the CMC's podcast, Amplify, which you can listen to here (from 6'30-12'00").

New Works for Liz Hilliard and Beth McNinch

The CMC Colleagues Programme is a new collaboration initiative in which 40 Irish composers have been teamed up with 40 performers to create new music. I will be writing two new works for this project. The first is for voice and tape, for the fabulous soprano Elizabeth Hilliard, setting poems written by the American painter Ron Switzer. The second is for viola and tape, for the amazing violist and director of Musici Ireland, Beth McNinch, using samples of string harmonics which Beth will record especially for the work.

Arts Council Funding for Microtonal Music Ensemble

This year I will be launching a new microtonal music ensemble with Mike Nielsen (microtonal guitar), Ellen Demos (voice) and Shane O'Donovan (percussion, electronics).

Combining elements of Javanese gamelan music with free jazz and electro-acoustic composition, the ensemble will collaborate together over the next few months to produce a programme of all original music which will be showcased in the autumn.

As part of this project we will also be producing a documentary film with videographer Kris Manulak. This film will chart the creation of the new work, and tell the story of our instruments, from Mike's custom-made microtonal guitar, to the National Concert Hall gamelan instruments, which were received as a gift from His Royal Highness the Sultan of Yogyakarta.

New Release on Farpoint Recordings

Two of my compositions for guitar and electronics are featured on the new CD/DVD release Knowing/Unknowing from Ben Dwyer on Farpoint Recordings.

My microtonal work for guitar and electronics Anois 's Aris, which was originally written, in collaboration with Judith Ring, for the delicate medieval psaltery, has been tranformed in Ben's hands into a dramatic performance piece.

My more recent work Enharmonic Harmonics, written especially for Ben, is an exploration of the "enharmonic genus", the remarkable microtonal tuning system of ancient Greece.

Watch Ben's performance of Enharmonic Harmonics here.

New Release: Embat

The NCH Gamelan Orchestra has released its debut single online. I composed Embat in 2014 to commemorate the gift of the NCH gamelan instruments from the Sultan of Yogyakarta. The piece was premiered in Ireland's National Concert Hall for the gamelan's inaugural naming ceremony during the sultan's royal visit in September of that year. Over the years it has been performed at music festivals across Ireland and Java.

The composition was inspired by the sounds of gamelan craftsmen forging a new gong. The word "embat" is a Javanese word referring to the characteristic tuning differences which make each gamelan unique. The composition uses traditional Yogykarta playing techniques to highlight the key features of the gamelan's tuning.

'Embat' is available now for streaming and download from Bandcamp , Spotify, and iTunes.

New Release: Bonang Quartet No.1

Bonang Quartet No.1 has been released as a digital single and is now available for download from Amazon and CD Baby, and iTunes, or to stream on Spotify.

Bonang Quartet No.1 was one of my first gamelan compositions and has perhaps become my most popular. Written in 2008, it was quickly performed across the UK, at the York Late Music Festival, the Buxton Music Festival, at Manchester's Royal Northern College of Music, and for the Royal Musicological Association. The following year, it was performed in Ireland's National Concert Hall as part of the Ergodos Music Festival, alongside the premiere of my Bonang Quartet No.2. This occasion was also marked by the first of several national broadcasts for the piece.

Bonang quartet

In later years, after founding the NCH Gamelan Orchestra, I had the honour of bringing my own performers to give the Indonesian premiere of the work at the 2014 Yogyakarta International Performing Arts Festival in Java. This was followed by another performance in the NCH, when the same performers presented their Indonesian programme in Dublin. More recently, Bonang Quartet No.1 featured as the centre piece in one of the Irish Composers Collective 'In Dialogue' concerts. This involved giving talks, workshops and mentoring developing composers in how to write for gamelan. Their completed compositions were then performed alongside the quartet in a showcase concert.

Songwriting Workshops with Dublin's Homeless

In March 2019, I began a series of songwriting workshops with the Dublin Simon Community. After visiting numerous homeless services around the city, bringing together poets, musicians and singers, we organised weekly sessions where all the participants met to write, rehearse and record their original songs.

Over the course of the project, a core group came together to form a band, calling themselves The Social Misfits, and the series culminated in a CD launch and a concert performance of all the songs in Dublin Castle. You can read our story in this article from the Irish Sun newspaper, featuring interviews with some of the band members, or click on the picture below.

Gamelan Concerts in Dublin 2019

* Jan 26th ~ Two of our Dublin-based ensembles will perform in the Chester Beatty Library in a free afternoon concert from 2-3pm.

* March 26th ~ We will host an evening of contemporary gamelan music in the National Concert Hall. The experimental ensemble Gamelan Nua will perform a showcase of their original works, combining the Indonesian instruments with electronic soundscapes and visual projections. Meanwhile the NCH Gamelan Orchestra will present a selection of their own compositions alongside modern works from Java.

* April 26th ~ The UCD Gamelan Orchestra will host a special evening programme, A Tribute to Nartosabdo, in St. Finian's Church on Adelaide Road. This concert will include four different gamelan groups coming together to play a selection of songs by one of Java's most beloved composers.

* June 8th ~ The NCH Gamelan Orchestra will present an evening of classical and folk music from Java alongside some original compositions for the gamelan in the National Concert Hall.

* June 12th ~ Our end-of-year concert in the National Concert Hall with our two Tuesday evening gamelan classes.

* July 17th ~ This will be an outdoor concert (weather permitting) in the beautiful surroundings of the National Botanic Gardens. The NCH Gamelan Orchestra will present a sunset concert of classical and folk music from Java alongside some original compositions for the gamelan.

NCH Gamelan Performs in Indonesia

In August 2018, the NCH Gamelan represented Ireland at the International Gamelan Festival in Indonesia. The week-long festival took place in venues all across the city of Surakarta in Central Java. We put together a specially-prepared programme for the festival to showcase the different gamelan styles and techniques we have developed in the five years since we began playing together. The programme included a selection of popular Javanese folk songs and original compositions, including my own work Embat, alongside several core works from the classical Javanese repertoire.

We performed before a huge audience in the festival's outdoor arena, and the whole performance was extremely well received. The event was covered by national media, including BBC Indonesia. Indonesia's national weekly magazine, Tempo, described how the group "truly captured the audience's attention", while one festival organiser cited this ensemble as a great example of how the foreign gamelan orchestras at the festival were able to "mesmerise" audiences with their "competent and holistic understanding of gamelan". But the greatest appreciation was reserved for our rendition of the popular Javanese song Prau Layar, which closed the set with the festival audience enthusiastically cheering and singing

At the festival's closing ceremony I was delighted to be presented with the surprise gift of a specially-designed lamp bearing the image of Javanese deity Wuku Sungsang, who is symbolically associated with the date of my birth.

Upcoming Events

May 28th, 29th, 30th, 2024, 7pm

Event: NCH Gamelan 10th Anniversary Celebration (with special guest Byron Wallen)
Performers: NCH Gamelan Orchestra
Venue: National Concert Hall, Dublin

June 16th, 2024, 12pm

Event: Hugh Lane Gallery Sundays@Noon
Performers: NCH Gamelan Orchestra
Venue: Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin

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