It played its first concert in Dublin in 1997 and currently consists of 10 instrumentalists and the conductor Alan Pierson, under the artistic direction of Donnacha Dennehy and Kate Ellis, as well as using video, lighting and sound amplification as an integral part of the project.
The ensemble has been particularly associated with totalist (post-minimalist) composers from the US and post-new Hague school composers from the Netherlands, as well as performing much music by Dennehy and other Irish composers and older pieces by the minimalist generation (including Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Louis Andriessen, Gavin Bryars, Roberto Carnevale, Kevin Volans and Terry Riley). It has given premieres or commissioned work by Nico Muhly, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Peter Adriaansz, Raymond Deane, Arnold Dreyblatt, Stephen Gardner, Michael Gordon, John Godfrey, Andrew Hamilton, Jurgen Simpson, Gerhard Stabler, Jennifer Walshe, Ian Wilson, Linda Buckley, Judith Ring and Julie Feeney.
Crash has performed with many well-known artists from diverse musical backgrounds, such as Iarla Ó Lionáird, Dawn Upshaw, Gavin Friday, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Gavin Bryars, Risa Jaroslaw & Dancers, Julie Feeney, Laura Moody, Niwel Tsumbu, Con Tempo Quartet and Sam Amidon.
Since 2002 Crash has been mounting its own contemporary music festivals in Dublin, in a similar manner to the Bang on a Can Festival in New York City, including adopting their popular 'marathon' format for their 2006 celebration of Reich and again in 2007 for their 10th year celebration 'Shindig'.
As well as touring in Ireland, Crash has performed in Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, Australia and the United States. They have recorded for New York labels Cantaloupe Music and Nonesuch Records.
In 2014 Crash Ensemble consisted of the musicians:
- Alan Pierson (principal conductor)
- Andrew Zolinsky (piano, keyboards)
- Susan Doyle (flute)
- Kate Ellis (cello, artistic director)
- John Godfrey (guitar, keyboards)
- Lisa Dowdall (viola)
- Owen Gunnell (percussion)
- Roddy O'Keefe (trombone)
- Deirdre O'Leary (clarinet)
- Malachy Robinson (double bass)
and further of:
- Donnacha Dennehy (Artistic Partner)
- James Eadie (Technical Manager and Front of House Engineer)
- Valerie Francis (Stage Production and Monitor Engineer)
- Adrian Hart (Production Manager and Electronics)
- Aedín Cosgrove (lighting designer)
- Jonathan Pearson (Concerts Manager and Administrator)
- Neva Elliott (CEO)
Notes and references
- Crash Ensemble website, About Crash Ensemble page
- Crash Ensemble website, Who We Are page
- Encyclopedia of Music in Ireland, 2011
- Crash Ensemble website, Music, Composers
- Contemporary Music Centre website, Crash 10th year Shindig
- Crash Ensemble website, Events, Archives, Marathons
- Allmusic website, Crash Ensemble discography