Siobhán Cleary
Photo: Siobhán Cleary

Siobhán Cleary
(b. 1970)

' “Music should be a collective magic and hysteria.”
(Pierre Boulez)'

Siobhán Cleary
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Born in Dublin in 1970, Siobhán Cleary studied music at NUI Maynooth, Queen’s University Belfast and Trinity College Dublin. She has attended composition courses in Italy, France and Poland where her tutors included Franco Donatoni and Louis Andriessen. She has also studied privately with Tom Johnson and Kevin Volans and studied film scoring with Ennio Morricone and Don Brandon Ray.

In 1995 she was a finalist in the Yorkshire and Humberside Arts Young Composers’ Award at the Huddersfield Festival. Other awards include a Pépinières Young European Artists award in 1996 for a three-month residency in Bologna and first prize in the Arklow Music Festival Composers’ Competition in 1997. Her orchestral work, Threads (1992 rev. 1994), was selected by Vienna Modern Masters for performance at the Second International Festival of New Music for Orchestra in Olomouc in the Czech Republic, and was later released on CD. In 1997 a concert of her music was performed at Cité International des Arts in Paris.

She is also the composer of several scores for feature films and documentaries. She has worked with the Ciniteca di Bologna writing music scores to restored films, most notably the Dali/Buñuel classic Un Chien Andalou. Her orchestral work, Alchemy (2001), commissioned by RTÉ, was performed by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in 2002, and in 2003 she was a featured composer in the Composers’ Choice concert series at the National Concert Hall. Cokaygne was commissioned by RTÉ and premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra, conductor Vladimir Antschuler, in 2009. From November 2007 to May 2008, Siobhán was Composer-In-Residence with the Kerry County Council. She also led education workshops entitled “In Common Time”, a cross border, cross community music project facilitated by Co. Donegal VEC music education partnership.

Theophilus Thistle and the Myth of Miss Muffett, a work based on tongue twisters in different languages was commissioned by the Cork Choral Festival with funds from the Arts Council of Ireland. It was premiered on April 30th 2011 by the National Chamber Choir (directed by Paul Hillier). This work was selected by Paul Hillier to be performed as part of Imagine Ireland, Culture Ireland’s year-long celebration of Irish Arts in the United States in 2011. In 2010 she was awarded a three-month residency in the Culturel Centre Irlandais in Paris. She is the founder of Ireland Promoting New Music which promotes the performance of contemporary music through its series New Sound Worlds.

In 2010 Siobhán received a bursary from the Arts Council to complete her opera Jack Ashore which has been selected for a full production at the Boston Metro Opera season 2012-2013. She was elected to Aosdána, Ireland’s state-sponsored academy of creative artists in 2008.

(biography © Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland)

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