Fergal Dowling is a composer of electroacoustic and instrumental music, and an ensemble director. He studied composition at Trinity College Dublin (BMus, 2000, MLitt, 2002) and the University of York (PhD, 2006). He has worked as a teaching assistant (York) and Assistant Lecturer in music technology (DkIT) and continues research in interactive audio performance, sound spatialisation and algorithmic composition.
His works combine acoustic and electronic forces, computer-based interaction and sound spatialisation to engage the listener with a sense of presence and immediacy. His interactive works postpone compositional decisions until the moment of sounding, thus affording performers involvement in the compositional act and allowing emerging structures to reveal their own logic. He draws on a variety of simple sound materials — noise grains, isolated tones, environmental sound samples, or intuitive vocalisations — in combinations that create complex inharmonic textures.
He is the recipient of many awards, including the Elizabeth Maconchy Composition Fellowship (2002) and Arts Council Bursary Awards and Commissions (2015, 2017), and has studied at IRCAM academies and the Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music, and attended masterclasses with Peter Maxwell Davies, Dominic Muldowney, Louis Andriessen, Christina Kubisch, Beat Furrer, Hanspeter Kyburz, Tristan Murail, Salvatore Sciarrino, Brian Ferneyhough, and Leo Brouwer.
His compositions have been performed widely at festivals and conferences, including: Festival Internacional de Video Arte y Música Visual (Mexico 2018); Sonorities (Belfast, 2018); Music Current (Dublin, 2016–18); Ecos Urbanos (Mexico, 2017); Sounding Out the Space, DIT (Dublin, 2017); Osaka Electroacoustic Music Festival (Osaka, 2017); ISSTC 2014, Composition in the 21st Century (Dublin, 2014), Noise in/and/as Music(Huddersfield, 2013), Inner Sound (Bucharest, 2012); Música Viva (Lisbon, 2010), Japan Electroacoustic Festival (Nagoya, 2009), ISCM World Music Days (Gothenburg, 2009), Future Sonic (Manchester, 2007), and by many ensembles and soloists, including: Xenia Pestova, Garth Knox, Concorde (Ireland), Projektgruppe Neue Musik Bremen (Germany), Grup XXI (Spain), Hear This Space (England), Acousmain (Germany), Dublin Sound Lab (Ire) and notes inégales (England).
As Director of Dublin Sound Lab he commissioned, curated and produced a number of major collaborative events, including: Music Current real-time composition workshop with Karlheinz Essl (2011); Re-Sounding Dublin a collaborative concert for organ and cityscape (2012); Mirrors of Earth, a reimagining of Kaija Saariaho’s seminal concert-length chamber ballet, MAA, with new video works by Ailbhe Ní Bhriain (2013); Places and Responses, a two-concert, multi-venue, site-specific collaboration with Peter Ablinger, Gráinne Mulvey, Rob Canning and Piaras Hoban, for Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival (2014); Music Current Festival (2016, 2017); and Perisonic a large-scale, immersive panorama of Dublin, for surround sound and four video screens, with Scott McLaughlin, Gráinne Mulvey, Mihai Cucu and Sabina Bonnici (2017).