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.”
Composer Anne-Marie O’Farrell has received many national and international awards for original composition. An honours BA and BMus graduate of UCD, she was awarded a first class honours MA in Composition from NUI Maynooth. She is currently undertaking doctoral studies in composition at Queen’s University, Belfast under Professor Piers Hellawell. She has composed for a variety of instrumental and vocal media, and her compositions are featured on the higher examination grades of conservatory syllabuses around the world including the Royal Conservatory of Canada, the UK’s Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Trinity College London, and the RIAM. She lectures in composition at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and her research project, Composers in the Community, with DIT colleague Dr Lorraine O’Connell was awarded a DIT Teaching Fellowship Grant, the resulting research now having been presented internationally.
She is the winner of the BBC Baroque Remixed composition competition with her orchestral work, Rann Dó Trí, which was performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Charles Hazlewood at London’s Roundhouse and broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. Her choral work, Skimming Stones, has been recorded by the BBC Singers in Maida Vale Studios London, and its premiere in St Paul’s, Knightsbridge in London was broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Numerous and wide ranging commissions include Deis Arts Council funding for the writing of original score of Cailleach: The Wilder Wisdom of Auld Ones with actor and storyteller Nuala Hayes. Her solo clarinet work, Ruach is featured on Volume 8 of the Contemporary Music Centre’s New Music from Ireland performed by Deirdre O’Leary.
Performers of her music also include Chamber Choir Ireland, the Tribal Chamber Choir, Cantique, the Limerick County Youth Choir, mezzo soprano Aylish Kerrigan, pianists Dearbhla Collins and David Adams, cellists Aron Rao, Eckard Schwarz-Schultz, trombonists Roddy O’Keeffe, Karl Ronan and Gavin Roche, percussionist Roger Moffatt, organists Siobhán Kilkelly, Carole O’Connor and Donna Magee among many others who have performed her music internationally. She is regularly invited to give lecture recitals, workshops and masterclasses at festivals around the world in addition to presenting regularly at international conferences. She has recently been appointed Composer in Residence at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick.