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Ann Cleare

anfa (2021) for contrabass flute, bass flute, electronics and video

density 2036: part viii

anfa (2021) for contrabass flute, bass flute, electronics and video

density 2036: part viii

anfa is the Irish word for a disturbance in the elements and in this piece, it signifies a psychogeographical exploration with the materiality of place and the history and secrets a place might hold beyond its surface.  


As visualized through the works of Ailbhe Ní Bhriain, the particular place in focus here is the desolate, depleted Boglands at the centre of Ireland, a landscape that is haunted by its industrial and geological history.  


Through the infiltration of contrabass flute, this ‘fixed’ place becomes liquified, animated, traversable, venturing inward towards vanished and re-emerging forms of light and motion, returning the landscape to a position of material vitality and possibility. 

Program Note

Ann Cleare is an Irish artist working in the areas of concert music, opera, extended sonic environments, and hybrid instrumental design. Described as “an altogether different artform that draws from musical traditions, but pushes against and beyond them, articulating something that is at once about sound, but that is equally concerned with energy, motion, space, and the world itself,” her work explores the static and sculptural nature of sound, probing the extremities of timbre, texture, color, and form. Exploring poetries of communication, transformation, and perception, she creates highly psychological and corporeal sonic spaces that encourage a listener to contemplate the complexity of the lives we exist within and “to hear the world differently.” 


A recipient of a 2019 Ernst von Siemens Composer Prize, her work has been commissioned and presented by major broadcasters and festivals. Recent projects have focused on creating experiential environments where sound is given a visual as well as sonic dimension. Such works include eyam i-v, a series of five attacca pieces, centered around clarinet and flute writing in various solo, ensemble, electronic, and orchestral settings and spanning just over two hours of music that is continuously transformed in shape, time, and motion around the listener; rinn, a time travel chamber opera involving a multichannel sonic sculpture that the singers and actors wear, interact with, and are amplified by; spatially choreographed chamber pieces such as I should live in wires for leaving you behind, anchor me to the land, and on magnetic fields; a newly-designed instrument that a musician simultaneously wears and plays in eöl; and surface stations, multi-layered theater pieces involving the staging of extended brass instruments, vocal ensemble, and visuals.


Ann is Assistant Professor of Music and Media Technologies at Trinity College Dublin. She is an artist-in-residence with Crash Ensemble.

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