A question of taste: Amanda Feery discusses her favourite things

Offaly-born composer Amanda Feery won the Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition for this year’s Cork International Choral Festival and her piece will be performed on Friday in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral. She is also working on pieces for Crash Ensemble and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.

Amanda Feery

Best recent book: Njáls Saga, an Icelandic saga (heaps better than Game of Thrones).

Best recent film: When I Saw You by Annemarie Jacir.

Best recent show/exhibition you’ve seen: Habeas Corpus, a work by Laurie Anderson, installed in the Park Avenue Armory, New York. Anderson collaborated with former Guantanamo Bay prisoner, Mohammed el Gharani. He remains barred from the US, so a live feed of his image was streamed from west Africa, and projected onto a giant-size throne and sculpture of a seated figure, creating a hologram effect. The accompanying music was completely immersive, but it was the political treatment of the work that interested me the most, as it was so direct and powerful.

What formats do you access music? I go through phases of buying vinyl, otherwise mainly iTunes and Youtube.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately: Two really exciting new acts I’m proud to say are friends — Games Violet and Feather.

First ever piece of music that really moved you: ‘Into My Arms’ by Nick Cave.

Who are your musical heroes? I think I only have one, Kate Bush!

TV viewing: My attention span for TV series is very bad but one recent series which involved marathon-watching was The Americans.

Radio listening: Nova on Lyric FM, Raidió na Gaeltachta, John Creedon in the evenings — his voice is so calming, and he’s got great taste.

Your best celebrity encounter: Meeting Elvis Costello in the Steinway building in New York where we were both rehearsing.

Best animal encounter: Shark diving. Definite adrenaline rush, but it’s only in retrospect that you realise how potentially, disastrously wrong things could go.

Tech habits: I like the Pomodoro App for helping me work and focus, and also the ‘to do’ planner within Google Calendar. I use Sibelius and Ableton for music. Facebook is great for keeping in touch with people away from home, but otherwise it’s a bit of a wasteland, and yet, it’s still distracting.

Unsung hero — individual or group you think don’t get the profile/praise they deserve: Abortion Rights Campaign! Also Pieta House, and a group of heroes from Limerick I only learned about recently, Corbett Suicide Prevention Patrol.

You are queen for a day —what’s your first decree? Housing and a decent living wage for all.



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