NEST - An installation for large orchestra, two soloists, large community choir, children’s choir, 3000 objects, 8 recorded loops, and a series of musical interventions.

Research output: Non-textual formComposition

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2012

Bibliographical note

""NEST"" was commissioned by the Cultural Olympiad for the London 2012 Festival and was winner of the “Artists Taking the Lead” commission for Northern Ireland."

“NEST”, the biggest public art project ever undertaken in NI, involved people of all ages, backgrounds and locations in a multi-layered, multi-disciplinary examination of a country and its people at an important time in its history (between the 400th anniversary of the Plantation of Ulster and the 100th of the Easter Rising, and just at the point when the Catholic and Protestant populations are becoming equal in size). By capturing, collecting, presenting and exploring tiny fragments of people’s lives, and weaving them into a huge visual and sonic experience – part exhibition, part immersive installation, part performance event – the project attempted to address fundamental socio-cultural questions: who we are? what is important to us? how do our experiences shape our being? what is particular about our character? our attitudes? with what, finally, do we line our nests?

The aesthetic ambition had to be matched by the scale and rigour of the process. Like several of the composer’s recent works (including those submitted here), but along much grander and musically more democratic lines, the methodology was bottom-up, working closely with participants to develop musical ideas. These were the equivalent of the collected objects and text, sometimes inspired by them, in other cases extracted from workshops carried out by the composer at e.g. community groups, cultural associations, schools and residential homes. The piece took two years to make and involved collaboration with several hundred people.

The result was a multi-sensory, site-specific experience that layered a former shipyard warehouse, thousands of objects, fragments of text, a large scale orchestral and choral performance, specially formed multi-generational choirs, individual and group performances, two conductors, individual vocal and choral improvisations and an interactive online experience (; see programme notes for further details).
Composition type: Orchestral and Choral
Outputmediatype: Score, DVD

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