“For he had gone alone into the islandAnd brought back the whole thing.The house throbbed like his full violin.”(Seamus Heaney)“See everything through music -those chords yet to resoundin you, swim like fishin all the rivers of the worldYou love their playful surge,their shadows flickering deep within you.”(Susan Connolly)
Born in Dublin in 1956, Michael Holohan was educated at O’Connell Schools CBS, University College Dublin, the Dublin College of Music and Queen’s University, Belfast. As a student, he studied composition with Jane O’Leary, Eric Sweeney and Seóirse Bodley. He has won numerous prizes for his compositions and has attended masterclasses with Messiaen, Boulez, Xenakis, Berio and Lachenmann in France.
His music has been performed and broadcast both in Ireland and abroad. His orchestral works ‘Cromwell’ (1994), ‘Building Bridges’ (1995), ‘Leaves of Glass’ (1995) and ‘The Lost Land’ (1996) have all been premièred by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. He has collaborated regularly with well known Irish poets such as Seamus Heaney, Richard Murphy, Dermot Healy and Susan Connolly. In 2002, with the poet, Paul Durcan, he won the Celtic Music Prize as RTÉ’s entry at the Celtic Film and Radio Festival in Brittany.
‘Running Beast’, his collaboration with the playwright Donal O’ Kelly, toured Ireland and Europe extensively during 2007 as part of the government’s 400th Commemoration of the Flight of the Earls. 'Where a single footprint lasts a thousand years', his music theatre piece based on the Nimrod expedition of Sir Ernest Shackleton, was performed with great success in the National Concert Hall, Dublin in 2012.
His commissions include the AXA Dublin International Piano Competition, RTÉ, Cork International Choral Festival, The National Concert Hall, RTÉ lyric fm and The Dept. of Arts, Sports and Tourism. A former chairman of The Association of Irish Composers and the Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda, he was elected to Aosdána, Ireland’s state-sponsored academy of creative artists in 1999. He has lived in Drogheda, Co. Louth since 1983.