Portrait: Robbie Blake
Robbie Blake is a composer, director and vocalist based in Galway, Ireland. As a composer, they create music using open and intuitive frameworks that invite performers and audiences to simply listen. They often use the body, movement and site-specific elements in live performance to foreground a collective embodied audience experience. Robbie’s work has toured nationally and internationally. The collaborative project Town Choir by Theatre Replacement featuring Robbie’s music is part of the 2022 Melbourne Fringe Festival, Australia.
Robbie is the artistic director of Tonnta, Ireland’s leading new music vocal group. Their leadership of the group revolves around a heart-centred, collaborative and interdisciplinary focus. Tonnta has premiered over 70 new vocal woks, with a core focus on working with living Irish composers.
Robbie recently took the post of Executive Director (maternity cover) of Galway Music Residency, leading the organisation in its programme of performance and education over the next nine months and chaperoning the company into its 20th anniversary year in 2023.
These portraits capture a specific moment in time for eight individuals. The unwavering single-shot focus of the camera offers a poignant and intimate closeness to each subject. They were filmed in April 2021 in locations specially chosen by each subject: a place of sanctuary within the five-kilometre radius of their home. The films are inspired by Andy Warhol’s Screen Test from the 1960s and Jane McCormick’s This Moment capturing the significant people behind the TownHall Cavan Arts Space. The films pay homage to the dedication and talent which sustained the Don’t anticipate the ending project.
Directed by Robbie Blake
Filmed and Edited by Steve O’Connor
Running the ending
This is a film, directed by Robbie Blake, about exhaustion, self-expression and joyousness. Blake’s score uses a graphic notation to represent three states: run, reset/shake-out, dance.
Robbie Blake, 'Running the ending' score
This is Robbie Blake’s original graphic score (pp. 1-5) for their live performance piece ‘Running the ending’, which is featured in this exhibition as a short film and which was inspired by Blake’s engagement with the Brian Friel Papers at the National Library of Ireland.
Robbie Blake's blue notebook, 9
In this page from Robbie Blake’s project notebooks, Robbie reflects on their use of graphic scores.
Running the Ending Compilation (Dublin Fringe Festival application)
This video is a compilation of different performances of Robbie Blake’s live version of ‘Running the ending’, inspired by Brian Friel’s composition process for Dancing at Lughnasa (1990).
Robbie Blake interview, extract 1
Robbie Blake talks about the origins and development of their film ‘Running the ending’.
So what is surfacing (Dublin Fringe Festival application)
This video is a compilation of different performances of Jessie Keenan’s live improvisation to audio she recorded in response to the question ‘So what is surfacing?’, adapted from a phrase written by Brian Friel during the composition process for Dancing at Lughnasa (1990).