Kevin O’Connell
Photo: Eugene Langan

Kevin O’Connell
(b. 1958)

'“Our main duty to music is to create it.”
(Igor Stravinisky)'

Kevin O’Connell
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Kevin O’Connell was born in Derry and began composing when he was twelve. He studied composition with Redmond Friel before completing a music degree at Trinity College Dublin. He subsequently taught composition there and at Queen’s University Belfast.

His output includes opera, orchestral, vocal and chamber works. He completed his first BBC Radio 3 commission at the age of twenty-five. Other commissions followed, including ‘From the Besieged City’ (1989) for the Ulster Orchestra and mezzo-soprano Linda Hirst. In the 1990s he wrote three chamber operas, two of which (‘Sensational!’ and ‘My Love My Umbrella’) were written for Opera Theatre Company. ‘My Love, My Umbrella’ toured Ireland and the UK and was performed at the 1998 Düsseldorf Festival of Contemporary Opera while ‘The Fire King’ was conducted by the composer in productions in Northern Ireland and Los Angeles. ‘North’, a BBC Radio 3 commission, was premiered by the Ulster Orchestra in 1998 and was also performed by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in 2001.

In 2000 Kevin O’Connell was appointed composer-in-residence for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. As part of this residency he wrote a large-scale string quartet for the Lotus Quartet who premiered the work in 2002. A shorter string quartet, ‘Tuned in Fits’, was written shortly afterwards and was premiered by the Hugo Wolf Quartet. Recent works include an ongoing series of piano études, the first of which – ‘Étude 2000’ – has been performed by numerous pianists including Joanna MacGregor and David Adams, among others. His new projects include orchestral works for the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the RIAM Symphony Orchestra, both scheduled for performance in early 2007.

Kevin O'Connell teaches composition in the Musicianship Department of the Royal Irish Academy of Music. He was artistic director of the 2005 RTÉ Living Music Festival and is a member of Aosdána, Ireland’s state-sponsored academy of creative artists.

(biography © Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland)

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