Kirkos is a contemporary music ensemble made up of a dozen of Ireland’s finest emerging professional musicians. It was founded in 2012 by a group of RIAM students led by Sebastian Adams. Within a year, Robert Coleman had become co-director and a core group of players began to crystallise around those involved from the beginning. In 2014, Kirkos began to work with Ensemble Music.
From their foundation, Kirkos caught attention for the high standard of the playing, for their eye-catching high-concept programming, and for their close attention to production. A key tenet of the Kirkos philosophy is that every element of a concert experience, from lighting to seating, should be regarded as being as important as the music being played.
In 2013, Kirkos premiered a reimagining of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring for string trio in a late-night performance on the 100th anniversary to the day of its premiere. This was a collaboration between Kirkos, visual artist Tim Redfern and fourteen Irish composers, and followed a series of concept productions including Blackout (returning in 2015) and Cage100 (a chance-programmed John Cage happening). These ‘concept concerts’ set the tone for what Kirkos plans to narrow down on over the next two years, beginning with the Blackout series and 6°.
Other collaborations have included an ongoing relationship with Irish National Youth Ballet, work with London-based Bastard Assignments, concerts with the music department of Trinity College Dublin, several open-score collaborations with John Godfrey, and two concerts with the Irish Composers Collective.
In their twenty concerts, Kirkos have often focused on programming new work by Irish composers. The ensemble has premiered just under seventy pieces, mainly by young composers but including works by Gerald Barry, Raymond Deane, Ian Wilson and Kevin O’Connell. Confirmed 2015 performances include new works written specially for Kirkos by Kevin Volans, Raymond Deane, Seán Clancy, Ed Bennett, Roger Doyle, Sebastian Adams and Robert Coleman, all part of the upcoming Blackout Series (May – July 2015).
Kirkos began as a student ensemble of the highest standard but has graduated to the realm of the emerging professional. Most of its players regularly play with professional orchestras (including the London Symphony Orchestra, both the RTÉ Orchestras, Camerata Ireland, Britten Sinfonia), and have performed concertos (including with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Hibernian Orchestra, and Ukraine National Symphony Orchestra) and won competitions (including two winners of the Feis Ceoil RDS Music Bursary, Ernest Bloch International Competition, Flax Trust Bursary, and four finalists of the Freemasons Young Musician of the Year) as solo players.
The ensemble’s plans for the coming year include a series of concerts in complete darkness, further collaborations with the Irish National Youth Ballet, and appearances at various music and arts festivals aiming to provide a fresh and exciting platform for young Irish composers to have their new music performed, for young musicians to perform new music, and for audiences to discover new music.
Kirkos playing members are: Roisin Walters, Cillian O’Breacháin, Sebastian Adams, Yseult Cooper Stockdale, Máire Carroll, Miriam Kaczor, Léonie Bluett and Hannah Miller.