George Higgs (b. 1968) is a composer whose work includes opera, symphony, compositions for small ensemble, music for experimental theatre, work for installation and a number of HIGGSTRUMENTS which he has designed for the performance of certain compositions. His music has been performed across Ireland, in Russia and the United States and he has received numerous awards and honors including a grant from the Wellcome Trust, the Director's Prize from the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, numerous Arts Council awards and a MacDowell Fellowship. He holds a Masters degree in music technology from Trinity College Dublin and is represented by the Contemporary Music Centre of Ireland. _________________________________________________________-CURRENT-
The Great War Signal Corps - a collaboration between George Higgs, Tonnta Music (directed by Robbie Blake), The National Museum of Ireland and Poetry Ireland - is a 4 year project to create a large scale piece of choral theatre commemorating the First World War from an Irish perspective. Part of this work will be composed and performed each year between 2015 and 2018, with a final performance of the entire piece scheduled for November, 2018. The text for the composition will be created in public workshops using primary sources drawn from the National Library of Ireland. The ensemble which will perform the piece - comprising choir, organ, telegraph apparatuses, radio transmitters and semaphore - will act a 'signal corps' transmitting messages from the past into the present.
The text workshops will be held in May, 2015 in the National Museum at Collins Barracks, and performances of the piece are scheduled for September.
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A signaller transmits a telegraph message during the Great War Signal Corps Pilot Performance in December, 2014 in The National Museum at Collins Barracks.
The signallers advance on the audience during the Great War Signal Corps Pilot Performance in December, 2014 in The National Museum at Collins Barracks.
Members of the audience decode a morse encrypted message before the Great War Signal Corps Pilot Performance in December, 2014 in The National Museum at Collins Barracks.
Water Borne Brass Performance on the Avoca River in August, 2015
Photograph of the Avoca River as it passes through Arklow under the Nineteen Arches Bridge
The Avoca Estuary, a picturesque stretch of water running through Arklow to the sea, is avoided by residents due to sewage in the water and fear of anti-social behaviour occurring along the river walk. Residents express a deep frustration at not being able to communicate with their town's most significant natural feature.
Funded by The Artist in the Community Scheme (CREATE/The Arts Council) George is working with Arklow Rowing Club and local brass sextet Blown Identity (directed by Paul Barrett) over 10 months to develop a half-hour 'musical conversation' to be performed from boats moving along the Avoca through Arklow during the Maritime Festival on August 2, 2015.
The musicians with instruments, the rowers with oars and the composer with manuscript paper will move along the river in three East Coast Skiffs communicating musically with each other and the geography of the river; the aim being to give a voice to the relationship of the community with the river that will be heard both at a local and national level.
The performance of the composition will begin at 1 pm on August 2, 2015, upstream from the town, and slowly move down the river to culminate at the Docks near the South Quay. As part of the Maritime Festival, a stall will be set up at the South Quay providing information and talks on the project and the history behind the stalled sewage treatment plant.
Music for Small Ears
From September to December, 2014 George was involved in research for a project called Music for Small Ears, organized by Helium Arts and Health. The project involved 6 sessions in a creche for one-year-old children in Ballynacarrigy, Westmeath, and a performance in Mullingar Health Centre BCG clinic, where the audience comprised three-week-old babies, their parents and siblings.
George plays ukelele for 'small ears' in Ballynacarrigy.
George performs for even smaller ears during a BCG clinic in Mullingar Health Centre.
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Please refer to the 'works' section of this website for a comprehensive list of works, as well as audio and video samples of his work.