Science + Music = Groove Theory

Groove Theory, Irish Baroque Orchestra

Groove Theory, Irish Baroque Orchestra

What happens when you cross baroque with jazz, rock, blues, and folk? In 1999, Oregonian jazz violinist Hollis Taylor met British baroque violinist Monica Huggett. Three years later, their friendship and collaboration produced Groove Theory, a composition created by Hollis expressly for Monica and the Portland Baroque Orchestra.

This season, the IBO brings this fascinating work by Hollis Taylor called “Groove Theory” to the Civic Theatre, Tallaght on Saturday 24th November.

Groove Theory was inspired by the scientific notion of String Theory, which is an all-encompassing explanation for our universe, which claims that all matter is composed of tiny vibrating strings. Through her music, Hollis Taylor creates her own “theory of everything”, in which all music must swing and dance, sway, pulse and groove.

And indeed it does.  Uplifting and imaginative, this colourful music is quite simply….groovy!

Groove Theory is made up of the following four movements:

  1. “Trip the Light Fantastic.” This expression was originated by John Milton in “L’Allegro,” 1632, “Come and trip it as ye go, On the light fantastick toe.” Although “fantastick” was not the name of any particular dance, the phrase came to mean “to dance.” It survived and was revived in the popular song “The Sidewalks of New York,” 1894. Electro-magnetism, one of the four forces to be united by string theory, appears in the introduction which explores the dualities of light and dark, and during moments when the orchestra exists more as the sound of electricity than as pitch. Small hand-held penlights will illuminate the bows. The lower strings employ them for tapping as well. The soloist is sometimes part of the rhythm section and vice versa, a variation on the modern physics mystery that a wave is sometimes a wave and sometimes a particle. The theme is based on “La Monica,” a fifteenth century Italian popular song; it appears here set in tropical rhythms.
  2. “Blues for Terra Incognita.” String theory suggests that our world has six more dimensions than the ones we experience (the standard three plus time). This movement is a blues for what we cannot see but can perhaps imagine, however dimly. The strings are half pizzicato, half with drumsticks col legno.
  3. “Quantum Jitterbug.” An up-tempo bebop movement with references and quotations from the Baroque era, this takes its name from quantum jitters, the wild bouncing of the subatomic world.
  4. “Gravity’s Tango.” Above a certain size, above the quantum stuff, gravity holds sway. This movement makes use of slides and chromatic scales, especially descending ones, in honor of gravity.

Take a look at this video of the world premiere presentation of Groove Theory here.

EARLY BIRD OFFER: If you book before 10th November, tickets are €15 & €11 concession. After this date, tickets are €20 & €16.

So book early and have a groovy time!

Box Office: 01 4627477 or


About Civic Theatre

The Civic Theatre's Mission is to mount an artistic and challenging programme of contemporary and classical Irish and international work in Theatre, Dance, Opera and Music for the community of South Dublin county and environs. History The Civic Theatre, opened in March 1999, a project of South Dublin County Council and also grant aided by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands. The first production at The Civic Theatre Tallaght was Howie the Rookie by Mark O'Rowe, directed by Mike Bradwell and starring Aidan Kelly and Karl Shiels. It opened on the 23rd March 1999. Since opening we have developed relationships with most Irish theatre companies and most opera, contemporary dance, ballet and children's theatre companies, developing healthy audiences for these. We are particularly proud of our co-productions – to date we've produced; or co-produced 22 plays, involving new Irish writing. We have hosted wonderful international productions, fantastic local work, and we have had some terrific nights of music on stage at the Civic.
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