Àine O’Dwyer: Pipe Organ

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Counterflows presents Irish composer/performer/musician Áine O’Dwyer in a live improvisatory performance for pipe organ at the Glasgow University Chapel. As a young teenager, O’Dwyer was schooled in a Catholic convent, where she requested her music teacher Sr. Cecilia to teach her to play the pipe organ. As it turned out, she was refused. Though a disappointment at the time, years later the experience inspired her to freely explore the parameters of the instrument.

Primarily a harpist, In 2011 O’Dwyer was given access to the pipe organ in St Mark’s Church, Islington, for several months while the cleaners were at work— a rare opportunity to grapple with the “king of instruments” and apply her sense of melodic, structured improvisation to a new context. The result was her much celebrated release, “Music For Church Cleaners vol. I and II”, a series of solo improvisations that qualify simultaneously as a live recording, site-specific performance art with a Cagean mindset, and field recording.

Music For Church Cleaners Volumes I & II is a great addition to the canon of experimental and improvised music, with a lightness of touch and depth of feeling that’s uncommon in many of records of its ilk. Listening to it is like meditation. You can lose yourself for a while, and, when it’s finished, everyday life seems just that bit more bearable.” – Louder Than War