Fergal Dowling's compositions combine acoustic and electronic forces with computer-based interaction and sound spatialisation to emphasise a sense of immediacy and spatial presence. His interactive works often postpone the compositional moment until performance time, permitting a flexibility of interpretation, and allowing musical forms to emerge at the moment of sounding.
He studied composition at Trinity College Dublin (BMus, 2000; MLitt, 2002) and York (PhD, 2006), and has worked as a studio technician, sound designer, and music lecturer. He attended Darmstädter Ferienkurse and IRCAM academies, and masterclasses with composers Peter Maxwell Davies, Louis Andriessen, Christina Kubisch, Dominic Muldowney and Leo Brouwer, amongst others.
He has received many composition and research awards, including Arts Council commissions and the Elizabeth Maconchy Composition Fellowship. His compositions have been performed by soloists and ensembles, including: Richard Craig, Zubin Kanga, Xenia Pestova Bennett, Garth Knox, Concorde, and notes inégales, and have been presented at festivals and conferences, including: IRCAM Forum Workshops (2020), CCRMA (2019), Sonorities (2018), Ecos Urbanos (2017), Osaka Electroacoustic Music Festival (2017), Noise in/and/as Music (2013), Música Viva (2010); Japan Electroacoustic Festival (2009), ISCM World Music Days (2009) and Future Sonic (2007).
In 2008 Fergal co-founded the music project group Dublin Sound Lab through which he has commissioned and curated collaborative projects, including: a real-time composition workshop-concert with Karlheinz Essl (2011); Mirrors of Earth, a reimagining of Kaija Saariaho's seminal ballet, MAA, with new video arts works (2013); Places and Responses, a multi-venue, site-specific collaboration with Peter Ablinger for Dublin Fringe Festival (2014); and Perisonic, an immersive panoramic representation of Dublin city for surround sound and surround video (2017).
In 2016 he founded Music Current, Dublin's annual contemporary electronic music festival, which has featured many leading composers and performers, including: Alexander Schubert, Jennifer Walshe, Christopher Fox, Stefan Prins, Lucy Railton, Izumi Kimura, Stephane Ginsbugh, Ensemble Tzara, YarnWire Ensemble, Stock11, Frank Corcoran, Stephane Ginsburgh, Mira Benjamin, and Steven Takasugi.