Elaine Agnew
Photo: Eugene Langan

Elaine Agnew
(b. 1967)

'I like to write music which is direct: sudden disruptive jolts contrasting with ritualistic still textures and whispers. The gestures of the performers as they play give direction to my work.'

Elaine Agnew
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In 2012 Elaine Agnew received a BBC Proms commission and the premiere of Dark Hedges by the Ulster Youth Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra and Sir James Galway in the Royal Albert Hall was a huge success, one reviewer describing it as “compelling from beginning to end.”

Elaine’s many works have been performed and commissioned worldwide by artists such as Sir James Galway, the Vogler and Škampa Quartets, the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland, Lontano, cellists Robert Cohen and Evžen Rattay, the European Union Chamber and Scottish Chamber Orchestras, the National Chamber Choir and pianists Angela Hewitt and Romain Descharmes.

Elaine was appointed as the first RTÉ lyric fm Composer-in-Residence in 2008 and her two commissioned Christmas carols have been recently released on the Lyric fm Choirs for Christmas CD. Her works have featured at major festivals including the BBC London Proms, the Belfast Festival at Queen’s, London BMIC Cutting Edge, Spitalfields and the Slovenian Unicum Festival and in many world-class venues: the Carnegie, Wigmore and Royal Albert Halls and the Konzerthaus Berlin. Many works have been commercially released including Twilight and The Moon by the Irish Chamber Orchestra on Night Moves.

Recent premieres include Love is a Simple Thing by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and Dark Hedges at the 2012 BBC Proms. The Irish Chamber Orchestra opened their January concert at the presitigious Konzerthaus in Berlin with Strings A-Stray to celebrate the German launch of Ireland's Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Dublin dancer Fiona Quilligan recently choreographed Seagull and Statues in her new solo show Pas De Chat and Elaine recently conducted a concert of her music with the Donegal Chamber Orchestra in the Balor Theatre.

Elaine is much in demand for her innovative and creative work with people of all ages across a broad field of work that includes education, community and healthcare. She is the Artistic Advisor of Music Network's Continuing Professional Development Programme.

Elaine read music at Queen’s University Belfast studying with composers Kevin Volans and Michael Alcorn and then followed with postgraduate studies in composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with James MacMillan and Judith Weir.

(biography © Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland)

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