The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, in partnership with the Contemporary Music Centre, are delighted to announce the composers selected to participate in the third year of COMPOSER LAB 2018. 

 The three successful applicants are:

– Michael Doherty

– Maria Minguella

– Anne-Marie O’Farrell

Congratulating the participants, Anthony Long, General Manager, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra said:

“Composer Lab is a brilliant opportunity for you to explore and develop your creativity and learn the craft of composing for a symphony orchestra. The Contemporary Music Centre and ourselves are providing you with a supportive learning environment to assist you with developing your skills in symphonic writing. I encourage you to immerse yourselves in the lab and get maximum benefit out of it.”

Evonne Ferguson, Director, Contemporary Music Centre said:  “The Contemporary Music Centre is delighted to partner again with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra to offer this unique professional development opportunity to composers represented by CMC. This is an essential programme in the nurturing of compositional talent, enabling composers with limited experience of writing large scale works to reach their artistic potential, under the expert mentorship of David Fennessy.”

The three composers now begin work on their compositions (6-8 minutes in length) in preparation for a one-to-one mentoring session with mentor composer David Fennessy at the Contemporary Music Centre in early January 2018.

This is followed by an orchestral workshop with section principals of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra on 13 February 2018. Here the composers learn the ropes of how to work with a large symphony orchestra and acquire the skills necessary to adapt and assimilate orchestral requirements into their compositions. They also receive guidance and advice from RTÉ NSO’s Music Librarian on preparing and presenting their final scores.

On 9 April 2018, the three composers participate in a workshop on the stage of the National Concert Hall which is open to the public.  Each composer receives the opportunity to work with the full orchestra in a workshop facilitated by the mentor composer David Fennessy and conducted by Gavin Maloney.

Composer Lab 2018 culminates with a public performance of the composers’ works performed by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of conductor Gavin Maloney, in the National Concert Hall in an evening concert on Tuesday, 1 May 2018.

See biographies below.

David Fennessy, mentor composer
David Fennessy was born in Ireland and currently lives in Glasgow, Scotland where he teaches composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His music has been performed by amongst others, Ensemble Modern, London Sinfonietta, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Munich Chamber Orchestra. Recent significant works include Pass the Spoon, a “sort-of opera” written in collaboration with the English visual artist David Shrigley, Hauptstimme, premiered by Garth Knox with Rednote Ensemble at the Huddersfield Festival, and Sweat of the Sun a large scale music theatre work for the 2016 Munich Biennale.
David’s music is published by Universal Edition, Vienna.

Michael Doherty, composer
Michael Doherty was born in Derry and spent much of his childhood performing in the city’s youth orchestras and choirs. In 2002 he won a violin scholarship to study at the world-renowned Apple Hill Summer School in New Hampshire, USA, and this experience influenced his decision to follow a career in music.

He went on to study composition with Gary Carpenter and Adam Gorb at the Royal Northern College of Music, graduating with first class honours in 2008 and becoming a Sound and Music Shortlisted composer for his concert work. Upon graduating, he became an orchestrator for the Oscar-winning composer Gabriel Yared, honing his talent in screen composition. He has had his work performed by many of the world’s leading musicians, including the Bratislava Philharmonic Orchestra, the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet, cellist Tina Guo, internationally-acclaimed guitarist Laura Young and the pianist Artur Pereira, who premiered Michael’s “Ballade” in St. Martin In The Fields in 2016. His works have also been performed at Salzburg’s Mozarteum and at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam.

Since 2011, Michael has worked as a composer and orchestrator for several BBC and Channel 4 productions, including Jeremy Paxman’s “Britain’s Great War”, David Dimbleby’s “Britain and the Sea”, and the third series of “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding”. In 2017, he collaborated with Jocelyn Pook (Eyes Wide Shut) on the score for the Glenn Close film “The Wife”. Michael also composes and orchestrates extensively for video game soundtracks, most recently for the “Lego: Dimensions” and “Total War: Warhammer” series. His library music is also featured in EMI’s Production Music catalogues and has been used in documentaries and TV productions worldwide.

Maria Minguella, composer
Through an open process of creativity and collaboration, Maria Minguella’s compositions explore the boundaries of sound and music. Her work is wide-ranging, from chamber music and orchestral work to electro-acoustic pieces and installations.

Maria has performed live in several of her sound installation presentations, playing the cello, bass drum and gongs, as well as using her voice, in collaboration with artists in the media of theatre, poetry, sculpture, puppetry and audiovisual work. In addition to her own performances, Maria’s music has been performed in Ireland, Italy, the UK and the Czech Republic by a wide range of performers and ensembles.

Maria holds a Master’s Degree in Music Composition from University College Cork (2010), having studied under John Godfrey. She was the winner of UCC’s Fuaim New String Quartet Composition Award (2014), and her piece “Dizziness: An Unexpected Event” enjoyed its world premiere performed by The Vanbrugh Quartet in March 2014 at Triskel Christchurch, Cork.

Maria’s music has also been performed by Clare MacCague, Adrian Mantu (RTÉ ConTempo Quartet), Alex Petcu (Crash Ensemble), Brian Dungan, William Dowdall, Deirdre O’Leary (Crash Ensemble), Caitríona Frost, Dermot Dunne, Patrick Barrett, Mo O’Connor, Paul Roe, Malachy Robinson (Crash Ensemble), Kian Geiselbrechtinger, Roisín Walters, Máire Carroll, The Oak Duo (Ireland), the Magnard Ensemble (UK), members of the Ostrava Banda (Czech Republic), and members of 15.19 Ensemble (Italy).

A member of the Irish Composer’s Collective (ICC) and the Association of Irish Composers (AIC), in 2015 Maria was awarded an Individual Artist’s Bursary by Cork City Council to focus on Orchestral and Choir compositions under the mentorship of Gráinne Mulvey. Also in 2015 she was awarded the first summer residency with the Contemporary Music Centre Ireland.

Maria has attended nine summer composition schools/retreats since 2010, studying with many national and international composers and professors, and has received support and recoginition from The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon in the form of travel awards to participate at Impuls Academy (2017), Aberystwyth Music Festival (2016) and Ostrava Days (2015).

Maria further holds a Diploma in Sound Therapy (2017) from the Colour of Sound Institute (UK), and is currently completing a Deep Listening Practice Certificate (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, NY, U.S.A.)

Anne-Marie O’Farrell, composer
Composer Anne-Marie O’Farrell has received many awards for original composition.  She holds a PhD in composition at Queen’s University, Belfast where she studied with Piers Hellawell, a first class honours MA in composition from the NUI Maynooth and an honours BA,BMus from UCD. She has composed for a variety of instrumental and vocal media, and her compositions are featured on the higher examination grades of conservatory syllabuses around the world.  She lectures in composition at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and for three years she was Composer in Residence at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick in association with the Lime Tree Theatre, funded by the Arts Council. As part of this residency she composed a wide range of works for diverse musical contexts, age groups and public platforms, from primary classrooms to concert halls. /…

Anne-Marie’s works have been performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra, The UL Orchestra, the Co-Orchestra, the BBC Singers, Chamber Choir Ireland, the RTÉ ConTempo Quartet and numerous international solo artists. She is the winner of the BBC Baroque Remixed composition competition with her orchestral work, Rann Dó Trí, which was conducted by Charles Hazlewood at London’s Roundhouse and broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. She is regularly invited to give lecture recitals, workshops and masterclasses at festivals worldwide in addition to presenting regularly at international conferences and acting as jury member for competitions www.annemarieofarrell.com