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 (TCD, York) and Assistant Lecturer in music technology (DkIT) and continues research in interactive audio performance, sound spatialisation and algorithmic composition.
His works often 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 (2015), 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 Andriesen, Christina Kubisch, Beat Furrer, Hanspeter Kyburz, Tristan Murail, Salvatore Sciarrino, Brian Ferneyhough, and Leo Brouwer.
His compositions have been presented widely at festivals and conferences, including: ISSTC 2014, Composition in the 21st Century (Dublin, 2014), Noise in/and/as Music (Huddersfield, 2013), Atelierfrankfurt (Frankfurt, 2011), Música Viva (Lisbon, 2010), Béal Festival (Dublin, 2010), Japan Electroacoustic Festival (2009), ISCM World Music Days (Gothenburg, 2009), Future Sonic (Manchester, 2007), and by many ensembles and soloists, including: Ex-Machina (Brazil), Concorde (Ireland), Ensemble Chimera (England), Projektgruppe Neue Musik Bremen (Germany), EA Revue (Ireland), Grup XXI (Spain), Ensemble GuitArt (Germany), Hear This Space (England), Acousmain (Germany), and notes inégales (England).
An active performer of computer music, he co-founded the contemporary music performance group Dublin Sound Lab (2008), through which he has collaborated with many Irish and international composers and performers, including: Karlheinz Essl, Garth Knox and Peter Ablinger. He has performed with the group in Ireland, England, France and Romania, and in 2013 he produced and directed the critically acclaimed Irish premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s seminal concert-length chamber work, Maa. With Dublin Sound Lab, he commissioned and curated Places and Responses, a major collaboration involving Peter Ablinger, Gráinne Mulvey, Rob Canning and Piaras Hoban, for Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival 2014.