Newnham harpist and composer releases debut album

Alumna and Newnham academic Dr Úna Monaghan has celebrated the launch of her new album For.

For features 12 original tracks for harp and electronics and combines traditional music, experimental music, improvisation, electroacoustic composition and live electronics.

The launch party took place at the Accidental Theatre in her native Belfast at the end of January.

Dr Monaghan is a harper, composer, and sound artist. Her recent work has combined traditional music with bronze sculpture, sound art and movement sensors.

Her compositions have been presented on BBC and RTÉ television and radio, in theatre productions, and at international festivals and conferences, such as the International Computer Music Conference, York Festival of Ideas, and Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

Dr Monaghan is co-founder of Quiet Music Night, an evening dedicated to performing quiet music of all genres, especially new and experimental music. She came to Newnham in 2002 and holds a BA in Astrophysics from Cambridge, and a PhD on New Technologies and Experimental Practices in Contemporary Irish Traditional Music, from Queen’s University Belfast.

In 2013 Dr Monaghan was selected from an international audition process as a Future Music Performance Fellow at the Atlantic Music Festival, Maine, USA. She was an Artist in Residence at the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris in Spring 2015. Úna also works as a sound engineer specializing in Irish traditional music, and experimental, live electronic and multi-channel music, a role in which she travels worldwide. She curates the JamJar series of contemporary and experimental music for Moving On Music in Belfast.

In 2016 Dr Monaghan was Artist in Residence at the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas at McGill University, Montréal, where she developed her composition work with harp and motion sensor. This residency was supported by a James M. Flaherty Research Scholarship, awarded by the Ireland Canada University Foundation, and through funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

She is now the Rosamund Harding Research Fellow in Music at Newnham where her research examines the intersections between Irish traditional music, experimental music practices, improvisation and interactive technologies. Her work investigates the creative, social, political and cultural challenges and opportunities that arise when a folk music tradition confronts new tools such as digital technologies and improvisatory techniques.

Úna Monaghan’s album

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