current work

The Expanded Instruments Project


Deadline: 5pm, 1st September 2017


Quiet Music Ensemble invites proposals from artists in any discipline for new works that focus on the idea of expanding or altering the capabilities of musical instruments through physical or electronic means. On the basis of these proposals, two artists will be selected to collaborate closely with QME on their works, and will also take part in a workshop on instrument hacking with renowned Sound Artist Mick O’Shea. The artists’ works will be publicly workshopped with the celebrated composer/installation artist Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri, and premiered at two special events in Dublin and another city in Ireland.

In recent years, QME developed a close relationship with renowned composer/improvisor Pauline Oliveros, who passed away in November 2016. She developed what she called the “Expanded Instrument System”, the idea being to use electronics to bring capabilities into her playing that her accordion couldn’t provide. Her system was first built around analog effects, and was later transferred into the digital domain. In 2013, Oliveros composed The Mystery Beyond Matter for QME, which employs aspects of her EIS for all the instrumentalists of the band.
As part of our ongoing celebration of her work, we are running “The Expanded Instrument Project”, which is about pieces that are centred around the concept of extending the capabilities of instruments either in the digital domain or through physical intervention/hacking/rebuilding. Cage’s Prepared Piano is an early example of the latter, but in more recent times composers have worked with the idea that an instrument can be expanded by discovering new ways to coax sound from it, such as inducing vibration in an instrument’s body by attaching transducers. Importantly, these ‘interventions’ are sculptural as much as they are sonic; in fact, work created this way can have overlaps with Sound Art and installations. Part of this project will include a new work by Greek composer Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri, whose beautiful instrumental works approach the instruments in this way.
Download full details as a PDF here.


Quiet Music Ensemble

Quiet Music Ensemble is a Cork-based Experimental Music group led by composer and performer John Godfrey. The word ‘quiet’ in its name is intended to conjure both the sense of hushed and of peaceful; its music is a restrained meditation on sound itself. The group consists of musicians from various musical roots, and draws its repertoire from diverse artistic sources, including composers of music, sound artists and visual artists. Free and guided improvisation is a central aspect of QME’s practice, as is interaction with pre-recorded and live electronics. It performs in unconventional spaces and contexts, and specialises in extended performances.

The ensemble’s 2008 launch event, the Quiet Music Festival, was a celebration of Experimental Music from Ireland and abroad. Amongst many other pieces, QME commissioned and premiered works by Alvin Lucier, David Toop and Mark Applebaum, all of whom attended. Since 2008, QME has played many major concerts around Ireland, with highlights including the Dublin Electronic Arts Festival, 2009; the headline act at the Hilltown Festival of New Music, Co. Westmeath, in 2011 and 2012; 2012’s Sonic Vigil in Cork, where QME premiered 8 new works by young composers; and a large scale celebration of the late music of John Cage in association with Triskel Arts Centre Cork and funded by RTÉ, 2012. In 2013, QME gave the world premiere of Jennifer Walshe’s Dordán, commissioned by and written for QME, at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

QME’s performances have been broadcast on a number of occasions by RTÉ lyric fm: in October 2010, Nova dedicated its entire show to live performances and interviews with QME and Toop. In 2014, the ensemble gave the world premiere of Pauline Oliveros’ The Mystery Beyond Matter (commissioned by QME) live-to-air on Nova.

QME has released its debut CD in 2015. It features world premiere recordings of music written for the ensemble.


The Mysteries Beyond Matter | Debut CD

Quiet Music Ensemble and Farpoint Recordings are very pleased to announce the release of The Mysteries Beyond Matter: world premiere recordings of works by Experimental giants Pauline Oliveros, Alvin Lucier and David Toop, and ensemble founder John Godfrey. Solely comprising works composed for QME, this CD contains Toop's landmark night leaves breathing, an entrancing sonic lens on the miniature sonorities of deep night and the first work of its kind in his output; Lucier's astonishing Shadow Lines, an extraordinary and luminescent web of sliding and still tones quite unlike anything else he's composed; Oliveros' radiant The Mystery Beyond Matter, which explores an extraordinary maze of acoustics created within especially developed software; and Godfrey's hand tinted, a mesmerising instrumental colouration of soundscapes recorded in Laos. Presented with funding from the Arts Council Music Recording Scheme, managed by Music Network.

Track Listing:

1/ night leaves breathing | David Toop | 20'03''
2/ Shadow Lines | Alvin Lucier | 14'30''
3/ The Mystery Beyond Matter | Pauline Oliveros | 23'38''
4/ hand tinted | John Godfrey | 12'41''

Total duration: 71'12’'

★★★★ "A Mesmeric power" - The Independent (UK)

If you would like to buy this CD or read more about it, please visit Farpoint Recordings.

Past Work


Director / Guitar
John Doe

John Godfrey

John Godfrey is a composer, performer and lecturer in New Music at the National University of Ireland, Cork. His compositions and arrangements have been performed world-wide and many appear on CD. Previously highly influenced by the Hague School, Godfrey's compositional work is currently focussed on experimental and improvisation-based music, often with live and interactive electronics. He develops software for composition using Max/MSP.

Jane Helf

Roddy O'Keeffe

An honours graduate of both the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and the CIT Cork School of Music, Roddy O’Keeffe is one of the original members of Crash Ensemble, having been there that fateful night in October, 1997! Roddy developed an interest in contemporary music while still an undergraduate student at the DIT Conservatory. As well as Crash Ensemble, Roddy works as a freelance player, and has performed with both the RTÉ orchestras, the Orchestra of Saint Cecilia, the Irish Film Orchestra and many other professional groups.

Joshua Insanus

Ilse de Ziah

Ilse is leader of the cello section of the Cork Symphony Orchestra, and has been involved in theatre, folk music, free improvisation, and dance. She composes music for dance and film, does many recording sessions, and arranges strings for singers and other musicians. Ilse de Ziah was born in Connecticut USA, where she started music theory classes and sat for hours under the piano listening to her mother play Chopin and Bach.

Clarinets / Saxophones
Sean Mac Erlaine

Seán Mac Erlaine

Seán Mac Erlaine is a Dublin-based woodwind instrumentalist, composer and music producer, recognised as one of Ireland's most forward-thinking creative musicians. Seán's works intersects folk, free improvisation, jazz and traditional music. He also collaborates with a range of non-musical artists particularly in theatre and radio. Seán maintains a busy performance schedule in Ireland and internationally working with a hugely diverse range of musicians and artists reflecting his own versatility and interest in cross-platform work.

Double Bass
Dan Bodwell

Dan Bodwell

Daniel Bodwell studied classical double bass at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, and jazz double bass at the Hochschule für Künste, Bremen. He is a founder member of the New York based Micah Gaugh Trio with Kevin Shea. He currently performs with Mary Coughlan, the Nigel Mooney Quartet, the Francesco Turrisi Trio, Julie Feeney, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra, Quiet Music Ensemble and Crash Ensemble.

Sound Engineer
Alexis Nealon

Alexis Nealon

Alexis Nealon is an Irish born sound engineer with years of experience with electronic and acoustic music, in both the studio and in concert. Recent projects include Lorcán MacMathuna's “Preab Meadar” album project, QME's live performances and recordings, and Corn Exchange Theatre's “A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing.” He runs his own project studio and provides location recording facilities. He has toured across Europe and further, and taught guitar and I.T. Alexis works with Qlab/Wavelab/Nuendo/MaxMSP/Reaper/Kontact software and RME/Eventide/DPA/Neumann hardware! With a background in music appreciation and guitar performance, he holds a Masters from T.C.D. in Music + Media Technology.

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