George Higgs 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 PhD from Trinity College Dublin and is represented by the Contemporary Music Centre of Ireland. _________________________________________________________-RECENT-
GEORGE RECEIVES PHD
After 3 years of research in Trinity College’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, George has been awarded a PhD for his thesis: ‘An Approach to Music Composition for Deaf and Hearing Alike’. The research was generously funded by the Irish Research Council.
”Dr Higgs, I presume?!” George and his thesis supervisor, Dr Dermot Furlong,
in the front square of Trinity College after the PhD graduation ceremony.
The research was inspired by the 3 years George spent working in St Mary’s School for Deaf Girls as composer-in-residence from 2010 to 2013. While in the school, George came to view the musical experience as a sense ensemble, in which all the senses collaborate. In the course of the PhD, 4 studies on multisensory compositional techniques were carried out with deaf and hearing participants. Some of these were controlled studies conducted in a laboratory, while others took the form of live performances. The photographs below are an example of the latter, showing scenes from Sense Ensemble, Study #2 performed in The Samuel Beckett Theatre in October, 2016. The performance featured the CRASH Ensemble string quartet, smoke ring cannons and the rhythmic use of Irish Sign Language.
In this photo from Sense Ensemble, Study #2, we see George and fellow performer Neimhin Robinson fire vortex cannons, sending smoke rings wafting over the heads of the audience to the back of the auditorium.
In this photo from Sense Ensemble, Study #2, we see George and fellow performer Neimhin Robinson performing a rhythmic pattern of Irish Sign Language gestures which the audience were invited to mimic.
Watch “The Sense Ensemble, Study #2”
George and visual artist Fiona Dowling have been collaborating with workers from a cross-section of workplaces, both industrial and rural, to create Work Songs, a musical portrait of South County Dublin's economic profile. Rhythms, cycles, movements and sounds of work routines have been transformed into song and performed by workers.
Work Song #1:First Earlies (performance photo and video-link below) was composed by George in collaboration with Fiona Dowling and plot-owner Catherine Cunningham at Friarstown Allotments.
George plays the ukelele as participants sing Work Song #1, First Earlies in March, 2018.
Watch Work Song #1: First Earlies
George rehearses Work Song #3 (Hear Us Amongst the Fungus) with Freda O’Dea and Sheila Baron in Massy’s Woods, South County Dublin.
This is a recent project in which George, dancer Laura Dowdall and a sign language interpreter worked with members of the Dun Laoghaire Deaf and Deafblind community to explore rhythm through sound, vibrations and movement.
The project, organised by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Arts Office, involved residents of St Joseph’s House for Deaf and Deafblind Adults and the Anne Sullivan Centre.
George speaks about Rhythm Club on the youtube video (see link below).
Watch The Rhythm Club video
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.