Anne-Marie O’Farrell

(b. 1966)

The most important thing to me is a regard for the beauty of melody, the infectiousness of rhythm and the irresistibility of instrumental and harmonic colour. Beyond that, my favourite piece of advice about composing was received from James Wilson who in turn quoted from Alice in Wonderland: “Keep going until you get to the end. Then stop.”

Dublin composer Dr Anne-Marie O’Farrell has a substantial output of works for orchestra, mixed choir, solo vocal, chamber and instruments to her name. Her works have been performed by, among others, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the BBC Singers, the Tower of London Chapel Choir, Chamber Choir Ireland, the ConTempo Quartet and numerous international solo artists. Wide ranging commissions include Music Network’s commission for a clarinet and harp work for performance by Dionysis Grammenos and Anneleen Lenaerts of the Vienna Philharmonic, a suite for forty harps for Harp Ireland/Cruit Éireann, Cúige na gCruitirí, premiered at Dublin Castle, Love-Wounded Lord commissioned by the Tower of London Chapel Choir as part of the shared British and Irish centenary remembrances of World War I, and a work for the 92-piece Meitheal trad orchestra. Her Irish harp concerto, In Light Anew, commissioned by RTÉ LyricFM, was premiered at the World Harp Congress in 2022 with the composer as soloist. Her civil war cantata, Who’d Ever Think It Would Come to This? was a resounding critical success following its premiere by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Resurgam and vocal soloists, conducted by Ciarán Crilly. Anne-Marie is regularly invited to give lecture recitals, workshops and masterclasses at festivals worldwide, in addition to acting as jury member for competitions.

She is Head of Harp at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. She has lectured in composition at the TU Dublin Conservatoire, and was Arts Council-funded Composer in Residence at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick for three years. She holds a PhD in composition at Queen’s University, Belfast where she studied with Professor Piers Hellawell, a first class honours MA in composition from the NUI Maynooth and undergraduate degrees from UCD. Her compositions are featured on conservatoire and examination syllabuses around the world.