Formed in 2003 by Irish composer Ed Bennett as a collective of performers and composers, Decibel explores experimental, energetic, extreme and unusual work which generally exists between, or outside the usual categories. They play contemporary music which combines a direct amplified instrumental ensemble sound with electronics, improvisation and in some cases theatrical elements.

Apart from premiering many works by Ed Bennett, Decibel has worked with a diverse range of subversive composers and artists including Louis Andriessen, Laurence Crane and Michael Finnissy, commissioning and premiering many new works. The group has also collaborated with artists from different disciplines including video artists and choreographers.

Since Decibel's first concert in Belfast in 2003 it has performed in concert halls, libraries, fields, sculptures, schools and art galleries throughout the UK and Ireland, to enthusiastic audiences and critical acclaim.


Rowland Sutherland     flute/ piccolo
Maria Insua Cao     clarinet/ bass clarinet
Neil McGovern         saxophone
Murphy McCaleb         trombone
Alan Thomas         electric guitar
Fumiko Miyachi         piano
Damien Harron         percussion
Barbara Lueneburg     violin
Ulrich Mertin         viola
Clare O'Connell     cello
Richard Pryce         double bass
Daniele Rosina         conductor

Fidelio Trio

Fidelio Trio

The Fidelio Trio (Darragh Morgan, violin, Robin Michael, cello and Mary Dullea, piano) perform extremely diverse repertoire throughout Europe, Asia and South Africa and frequently broadcast for BBC Radio 3. Since their South Bank debut they have appeared at Reggello Festival and Contemporaneamente Festival, Lodi (Italy), West Cork Music, Belfast Festival at Queens, Royal Opera House, London, Corsham Festival, Petworth Festival, Fuse Leeds, Musica Viva (Portugal) and Composer’s Choice Series, National Concert Hall, Dublin. 

The Fidelio Trio have worked closely with many leading composers including Michael Nyman, Toshio Hosokawa and Howard Skempton and have premiered music by Salvatore Sciarrino, Edison Denisov, Beat Furrer and Toru Takemitsu. They are Music Network artists and supported by PRS Foundation, Culture Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland.

They have given masterclasses at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Birmingham Conservatoire, Royal Holloway University of London and Cork School of Music. 


Image Credit: 
Sophie Dennehy

ConTempo Quartet

ConTempo Quartet
String Quartet

Bogdan Sofei, violin
Ingrid Nicola, violin
Andreea Banciu, viola
Adrian Mantu, cello

Formed in 1995 when its members were students at the Music University in Bucharest, Romania, the ConTempo String Quartet has toured the world extensively and has won a record 14 international prizes in competitions including the London String Quartet Competition, in Rome, Munich, Graz, Berlin, Prague and Hamburg.

In 1999 the quartet took up a Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music where they taught chamber music classes and had the chance to meet and work with world-famous quartets such as the Amadeus, Alban Berg, Hagen, Tokyo and Emerson. Since 2003, the ConTempo has been Quartet in Residence on the West Coast of Ireland.

Image Credit: 

Knox, Garth

viola d'amore

The Irish-Scottish viola player Garth Knox is one of today's most exciting and original string players. After seven years as a member of the Pierre Boulez's Ensemble InterContemporain in Paris, and seven years as violist of the Arditti String Quartet, Garth Knox now concentrates on his solo career. He has given premieres by Ligeti, Stockhausen, Boulez, Berio, Ferneyhough and Henze, as well as collaborating with younger composers and playing in improvisational projects.

Garth Knox now lives in Paris, where he enjoys a full time solo career, recording and giving concerts all over Europe, the USA and Japan

Roe, Paul

bass clarinet

Paul Roe is a one of Ireland's most creative and versatile musicians. He was Associate-Principal Clarinet of the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland from 1987-2000. Since then he has focussed on solo and ensemble repertoire performing throughout Europe, Asia and North America. He teaches clarinet at The Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin-Ireland and is a member of Concorde - Contemporary Music Ensemble. Paul has a PhD in Music (Performance Practice) from the University of York. His latest CD - Between-Solos and Duos - is available on the Diatribe label.


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Ed Bennett's music - described as 'anarchic' (Irish Times), 'manic' (Classical Music) and 'brutal' (The Guardian) - is performed by Decibel, the ensemble he founded: the haunting My Broken Machines  evokes an abandoned fairground, while other works explore the manic enegy of cartoons - Cartoon Music - or the atmosphere of an empty building - Ghosts, for amplified viola d'amore.




'Macho, cock-rock guitar fuzz' Gramophone


'Music for piano trio never sounded like this before...thrilling' Gramophone


'Powerful ... highly recommended' Musical Criticism


'Intriguing and compelling ... Bennett is a man with his own mind' Musical Pointers


"This is a fine collection of pieces by a composer with a clear vision and a healthy dose of talent. All of the performances and recordings are excellent." MusicWeb International


'This new NMC portrait disc confims Bennett as composer laureate of the surreal and the embellished'


'The music of Ed Bennett makes strong statements about taking on, and overcoming, our contemporary challenges.'



This recording has been produced with substantial support from Birmingham Conservatoire.


Stop-Motion Music, Cartoon Music and My Broken Machines were recorded in the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire on 28-29 July 2010.
Engineer/ Editor     SIMON HALL
Assistant engineers    ANDREW MAWSON, KARL BANWELL
Producers         SIMON HALL, ED BENNETT

Slow Down was recorded at the Forge, Camden, London on 2 December 2010.
Engineer          ADAM CAIRD
Editor             SIMON HALL
Producers         SIMON HALL, ED BENNETT

for JF was recorded at the Aula Maxima, NUI, Galway, Ireland on 26 July 2010.
Engineer         DARBY CARROLL
Editor            SIMON HALL
Producers        SIMON HALL, ED BENNETT

Monster was recorded at SERC, Bangor, Co. Down, Northern Ireland in April 2006.
Engineer/ Editor/ Producer     ED BENNETT

Ghosts was recorded at EMPAC, Troy, New York, USA on 15 November 2009.
Engineer/ Editor     TODD VOSS
Producers        SIMON HALL, ED BENNETT

Mastering     SIMON HALL
Executive Producer for NMC     COLIN MATTHEWS

Ed Bennett's music is published by the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland.

Cover image     DANIEL KLUGE, My Broken Machines
Graphic design     FRANCOIS HALL


(C) 2011 NMC Recordings Ltd

(P) 2011 NMC Recordings Ltd

Catalogue number:
NMC D169
Release Date:
13 June 2011