Tallaght Chiaroscuro

Artist Name(s) Stephen Gardner
Artwork title Tallaght Chiaroscuro

Tallaght (Chiarascuro) for String Quartet was composed by Stephen Gardner and performed by the Hibernia String Trio and Michael d'Arcy, and was recorded onto CD during 2000.

It was commissioned by South Dublin County Council during 2000, under the auspices of the In Context Per Cent for Art Scheme, developed in partnership with Artworking and funded through the Department of the Environment Heritage and Local Government.

Tallaght (Chiaroscuro) is an 18.5 minute composition for String Quartet comprising four movements based on themes drawn by the composer from the community including vitality, uncertainty and melancholy. In the words of Stephen Gardner: 

"The work attempts to capture some of the moods I experienced whilst touring the edges of Tallaght. The title refers to the light and shade depicted in the music."

The word Chiaroscuro refers to the contrast of light and shade of the Tallaght landscape, which in turn inspired Stephen Gardner's composition. This contrast was a source of inspiration for artist Paul Seawright who was also commissioned to create work inspired by Tallaght. Seawright's work entitled The Map is a 28 page publication of photographs comprising day and night images of Tallaght, which was distributed to approximately 20,000 homes in the area.

The Tallaght (Chiaroscuro) CD was available for free from the Tallaght County Library during 2000.

Tallaght (Chiaroscuro) was performed by the Hibernia String Trio at a free concert on Thursday, 16 November at 8pm at South Dublin County Council H.Q. Tallaght. 


The project featured in the In Context Catalogues 2002 & 2004

Radio coverage included a feature on RTÉ's Rattlebag, November 2000


Born in Belfast, Stephen Gardner studied at the University of Ulster and the University of Wales from 1984 to 1989, gaining the degrees of BA in music and MMus in composition. He has been the recipient of a Vaughan Williams Scholarship and a Draper's Fellowship and has received commissions from Concorde, the Sculptors' Society of Ireland, Gerard McChrystal, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Music Network, BBC Radio Ulster, the Belfast Festival at Queen's and the Sonorities Festival, Belfast. In 1998-99 he was composer-in-residence with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, the first such position with a Local Authority in Ireland.

His orchestral works have been performed by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the Ulster Youth Orchestra. Recent works include It's the hole that kills you not the bullet, which was premiered by Paul Roe in November 2005.

Stephen Gardner was elected to Aosdána, Ireland's state-sponsored academy of creative artists, in 2003.

Commission Type Local Authority
Commissioner Name Jenny Haughton & Aisling Prior, Artworking for South Dublin Co.Co.
Commissioning process Two stage open competition
Project commission dates January 1, 1999 - January 1, 2000
Public Presentation dates January 1, 2000 - January 1, 2000
Artform Music
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 10000 - 30000 euro
Project commission start date 01/01/1999
Project commission end date 01/01/2000
Location Tallaght, South Dublin County
County Dublin
Google Map Insert View this projects location
Website incontext.southdublin.ie/
Content contributor(s) Rachel McAree
Relationship to project Project Manager, In Context 3
Public engagement

General public
Local residents
Contemporary music audience

Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Paul Seawright, Artist, In Context 2



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