Jan 2017: Performances of The Last Hotel in Luxembourg

The Last Hotel, my opera with Enda Walsh (writer and director), will be presented at Les Theatres de la Ville in Luxembourg on 10 and 11 January.  It involves the original cast (Claudia Boyle, Kate Manley, Robin Adams and Mikel Murfi) and ensemble (Crash Ensemble). This performance will be recorded for future release by Cantaloupe Records in New York.

Stage Premiere of The Hunger in St. Louis and at BAM, New York (September 2016)

The Hunger will receive its stage premiere in St. Louis (Touhill Performing Arts Centre) in conjunction with Opera Theatre St. Louis on September 17.  This production then transfers to BAM for performances at their Next Wave Festival on September 30 and October 1.  The stage version is directed by Tom Creed and designed by Jim Findlay.  Katherine Manley (soprano) and Iarla O'Lionaird (male sean nós singer) are joined by Alarm Will Sound (conducted by Alan Pierson).  Video inserts feature Noam Chomsky, Paul Krugman, Branko Milanovic, Maureen Murphy and Megan Vaughan.

Doric premiere new string quartet at Wigmore Hall in July

The Doric String Quartet will premiere my new string quartet - The Weather of it - at Wigmore Hall in London on July 15. NMC Records will be recording it for subsequent release, and Doric will give its American premiere at Carnegie Hall in February 2017.

Crane and One Hundred Goodbyes at Holland Festival (June 2016)

Two of my works are featuring in this year's Holland Festival.  The talented English choreographer, George Williamson, has made a ballet from my orchestral piece, Crane, with the Dutch National Ballet. Performances from 11 to 26 June, with the Balletorkest playing Crane live. Kronos Quartet then give the Dutch premiere of One Hundred Goodbyes (Cead Slan) on 23 June at the Muziekgebouw.

The Hunger at Kennedy Center, The Pale in Philadelphia and New York

On June 1 at the Kennedy Center, Washington DC, Alarm Will Sound (with the singers Iarla O'Lionaird and Kate Manley) will present the concert premiere of the new complete version of The Hunger (with video design by Jim Findlay/Tom Creed). This piece, a kind of docu-opera, will receive fully staged performances in St. Louis and at BAM in New York (as part of BAM Next Wave) in September. www.alarmwillsound.com Meanwhile, Prism Sax Quartet and So Percussion will perform a new version of The Pale (2003) adapted for 8 players (as opposed to 10) at Kimmel Center, Philadelphia on June 4 and at Roulette in New York on June 7.

May 2016: Signing with Music Sales/G. Schirmer for all publishing

Here's the official announcement:   Tuesday, May 10, 2016 Music Sales Corporation (G. Schirmer, Inc. and Associated Music Publishers) is pleased to announce an exclusive agreement with Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy. With the signing, Dennehy becomes the newest composer to join the Music Sales Group. Kathy Schuman, Vice President and Artistic Director of G. Schirmer, Inc., said, "I have long been a fan of Donnacha's music and am thrilled to welcome this extraordinarily gifted composer into the Music Sales Group family." Dennehy says, "I am more than excited and honored to sign with G. Schirmer/Music Sales. They care deeply about new music (and have done so for a long time now), and it is a real privilege to join their roster." Dennehy's music has been performed internationally by Dawn Upshaw, Kronos Quartet, Alarm Will Sound, Bang On A Can, Third Coast Percussion, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Icebreaker (London), Contact (Toronto), Crash Ensemble (Dublin), Percussion Group of the Hague, RTE National Symphony Orchestra, BBC Ulster Orchestra, and many others. His recent opera, The Last Hotel, with a libretto by Enda Walsh, premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2015 and has since had runs at the Dublin Theatre Festival, the Royal Opera in London, and St Ann's Warehouse in New York. Tessellatum for violist Nadia Sirota, viol consort, and electronics, premiered in February 2016 at Symphony Space (NY) and will be released by Bedroom Community. A Nonesuch release of Dennehy's music entitled "Grá agus Bás," featuring Ireland's Crash Ensemble (which he founded in 1997), was named one of NPR's "50 favorite albums" (in any genre) in 2011. He has been on the music faculty at Princeton University since 2014. For more information, including Dennehy's work list and biography, click here or email Kathy.Schuman@schirmer.com.  

April 2016: That the Night Come at Kennedy Center and at Podium Festival in Germany

That The Night Come (originally written for Dawn Upshaw and Crash Ensemble) is receiving a number of performances this month, including at the Podium Festival in Esslingen, Germany (by the Festival musicians) and at Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. on April 18.  The soloist at the Kennedy Center is the wonderful Rachel Calloway.  Stainless Staining  also features in the Podium Festival.    

April 2016: Film version of The Last Hotel on Sky Arts

The film version of The Last Hotel (an opera by Donnacha Dennehy and the writer/director Enda Walsh) will be broadcast on Sky Arts in the UK on April 11. The specially made film of the opera was directed by Enda Walsh and produced by Brink Films for Sky Arts. The Last Hotel  won 'best opera' in the annual Irish Times Theatre Awards on March 6 2016. https://www.sky.com/watch/channel/sky-arts/the-last-hotel

March 2016: Premiere of The Dark Places in Dublin

The Dark Places  (for baritone, bass and ensemble) will be premiered on March 31st at the National Concert Hall in Dublin by Robin Adams (baritone), Stephen Richardson (bass) and Crash Ensemble.  Colm Toibin wrote the text especially for the piece, and it concentrates on the unlikely friendship forged between Joseph Conrad and Roger Casement.  The piece was commissioned by the National Concert Hall to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising in Ireland.

February 2016 Upcoming Premieres by Third Coast Percussion and Nadia Sirota

Third Coast Percussion gave a wonderful premiere of my Surface Tension on January 30 at Notre Dame's De Bartolo Performing Arts Center.  Further performances include one at the University of Chicago on February 5, and its New York premiere on February 10 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (a co-commissioner of the piece, along with Notre Dame). Nadia Sirota and a viol consort led by Liam Byrne will premiere my 40-minute Tessellatum on Friday, Feburary 5 at Symphony Space.  A recording of the work made by Nadia and Liam, both of whom multitrack the various lines to produce a dense web of varying canons slipping in and out of overtone-based tuning, will be released by Bedroom Community later this year.

July 2015: Further productions of The Last Hotel at the Royal Opera House, St. Ann's Warehouse and Dublin Theatre Festival

Further productions of The Last Hotel, my opera with Enda Walsh, will be hosted at the Royal Opera House, London (October 2015), St. Ann's Warehouse, New York (January 2016) and at the Dublin Theatre Festival (September 2015).  More details on these in CONCERTS.

April 2015: The Last Hotel is to premiere at the Edinburgh Festival in August 2015

The Last Hotel, an opera that I have written to an original libretto by Enda Walsh, will premiere at this year's Edinburgh Festival in August.  Enda Walsh will also direct.  For more information, check out the information on the Edinburgh Festival website or else you can read more about it on a special site that the producers have created here.

February 2015: Review for Orchestra CD in the Guardian

Andrew Clements in the Guardian gives the new orchestra CD a four star review in the Guardian.  You can read the review here.

New orchestral CD features on BBC's CD Review

Ivan Hewett discusses new orchestral CD (Crane/O/The Vandal/Hive) on BBC Radio 3's CD Review, available here.

Very late review for my Nonesuch CD, Grá agus Bás, in the New York Times

I only just discovered a short review of my Nonesuch CD of 2011, Grá agus Bás, that the New York Times published on December 31 2014.  Here's a link.

January 2015: Changing my role in Crash Ensemble

Back in 1997, I founded Crash Ensemble in Dublin along with a number of friends.  I could never have anticipated then how much it would prosper, although I was always optimistic about what could be achieved.  Since 2012, when I started to spend more time in the States, I have shared the role of artistic director with the wonderful Kate Ellis.  I am now moving to the role of artistic partner, leaving the artistic directorship in Kate's very able hands. I am very proud of what Crash Ensemble has done and continues to do, and I am very excited about Kate's vision for it in the future.

January 2015: In memory of Bob Gilmore

I’m heartbroken that my dearest friend, the brilliant musicologist Bob Gilmore (1961-2015) is no longer with us.  He died peacefully in Amsterdam early on the morning of January 2nd, with his partner Elisabeth Smalt by his side.  He meant the world to me, and I still can’t get my head around the fact that he has gone.  Knowing how important Bob was to me, my friends in Crash Ensemble asked me to write a little bit about him.  I’ve just finished a little personal memoir of him that they are putting up on their website (www.crashensemble.com).  It was difficult to write, as I still feel enormously sad at this news.  Bob was a wonderful man, and his spirit touched so many.  The world is a much grayer place without him.

Dec 22: Orchestra CD is CD of the week on Q2 Radio New York

My new orchestra CD is the recording of the week (of December 22) on Q2 Radio in New York. Writing about it, Jeffrey Zeigler calls it an "essential statement".  Also I'm pleased that NPR considers Typical Music's blazing performance of Bulb one of its best in-studio performances of the year.

Update on the Premiere of The Hunger

The heroic Rachel Calloway replaced Dawn Upshaw for the premiere of The Hunger in St. Louis on December 11.  Dawn unfortunately had to pull out due to a bad cold, and we were very lucky that Rachel was available to step in at short notice.  Rachel did an absolutely brilliant job, and it was great to have her sing the role of Asenath Nicholson.

Premiere of The Hunger in St. Louis (December 11 2014)

On December 11th, Alarm Will Sound, Dawn Upshaw and Iarla O'Lionaird will premiere the full concert version of The Hunger.  The piece also features video interviews, especially done for the piece, with Noam Chomsky, Paul Krugman, Branko Milanovic, Maureen Murphy and Megan Vaughan.  Jim Findlay is in charge of the video design. www.alarmwillsound.com

Meet the Composer

I'm involved in a great new series that Q2 and Nadia Sirota have dreamed up.  It's called Meet the Composer, and you can check it out here.

New Orchestral CD (October 2014)

RTE Lyric FM have just released a new CD of my orchestral music played by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland!  It features Crane, O, The Vandal and Hive.  Here's a link to it on spotify.

Nonesuch at 50

I was delighted to be involved in the Nonesuch at 50 celebrations at the Barbican in London in May.  It was a joy (as usual) to work with Kronos Quartet, Iarla O'Lionaird and my own Crash Ensemble.  I really enjoyed doing a new arrangement for the wonderful English singer Olivia Chaney and Kronos too for their folk song collection (which they are devising with Bob Hurwitz and others at Nonesuch).  You can read a little of it here in the Telegraph.  Further Nonesuch celebrations took place at BAM in New York in September, where Alarm Will Sound played Gra agus Bas along with Iarla O'Lionaird.  You can read the New York Times review here.