Head of Composition’s ‘McNulty’ to represent UK at World Music Days in New Zealand


Head of Composition Professor Joe Cutler will be featuring in the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) World Music Days festival taking place in New Zealand at the end of August. The festival, which is organised by a different host nation each year, presents music from each member section to showcase the diversity of musical practice.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ISCM World New Music Days 2020 had to be rescheduled for summer 2022.

Professor Joe Cutler will be representing the UK Section of the festival with his piece McNulty, which was commissioned and recorded by Fidelio Trio – Darragh Morgan (violin) Tim Gill (cello) and Mary Dullea (piano). The performance will take place on Tuesday 30 August at The Piano: Centre for Music and the Arts in Christchurch, by NZTrio, three of New Zealand’s most highly regarded musicians.

Listen to ‘McNulty’ on Spotify.

Of the composition, Joe said: “In McNulty, I attempt to place the intricate ornamentation of Irish traditional music outside its normal environment, allowing it to become fused with repetitive riffs and figurations, or placed alongside spectral-inspired harmonic-based textures. 

“Through isolating one feature of traditional music, and placing it within an alternate context, ornamentation becomes the ‘thing’ the piece is about, at odds with its normal ‘supporting’ role.”

During the festival, the ISCM General Assembly will meet to discuss issues facing new music around the world and trends in international contemporary composition. The event, which was established in 1922, is the principal vehicle through which the ISCM pursues its mission of  “the advancement, dissemination and interchange of new music from around the world”.

Find out more about works to be performed at the festival.

This piece was submitted as part of Birmingham City University’s REF 2022 submission.

Read more about the research, which has had an impact on the co-creation of new works between composer, academics, and a range of public groups in Birmingham.

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