"exceptionally imaginative in the sound world she creates" Irish Examiner
County Down-born Deirdre McKay’s work has featured at London’s Southbank, Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam, Gothenburg International Chamber Music Festival, Orléans Concours International, The Wigmore Hall, London, The National Sawdust, Brooklyn, The Phillips Collection, Washington, National Concert Hall, Dublin, Symphony Space & Carnegie Hall, New York.
Recipient of a Director’s Choice Award from Boston Metro Opera’s International Composers’ Competition and an Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Major Individual Artist Award, Deirdre received a coveted Paul Hamlyn Composer Award, London, in 2018.
Commissions and performances include works for Northern Ireland Opera, State Choir Latvija for Louth Contemporary Music, Chamber Choir Ireland, BBC Singers, Ulster Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Boston Firebird Ensemble, RTÉ Con Tempo, Vanbrugh, Norwegian Vertavo, Swiss Terpsycordes and Tippett string quartets, Access Contemporary Music Chicago, New Music Dublin, pianists Andrew Zolinsky and Antti Siirala, Matthew Schellhorn, Jessica Chan, Chloë Hanslip & Danny Driver, Tasmin Little & Martin Roscoe, Dutch violist Elisabeth Smalt, Calefax Reed Quintet, Irish artists Clíona Doris, Robin Tritschler, Carol McGonnell, Darragh Morgan and Mary Dullea, Catherine Leonard and Hugh Tinney, Elizabeth Cooney and Finghin Collins, Xenia Pestova, Concorde and the Crash Ensemble.
Former Composer in Association to the Northern Sinfonia’s affiliated Young Sinfonia, Deirdre studied music at Queen’s University, Belfast, and at the University of Manchester, supported by a British Academy Award. She completed her doctorate in composition in 2003, with Piers Hellawell, at Queen’s University. Whilst living in Dublin, Deirdre studied privately with Kevin Volans.
Her work has been incorporated by filmmaker, Des Bell, into three of his films, most recently ‘The Enigma of Frank Ryan’, debuting at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and showing at Belfast Festival at Queen’s and Montreal World Film Festival. Collaborations have included new work with visual artist Jean Duncan and writer/ actor Richard Dormer.
Her music has been released on the Lorelt, Diatribe and RTÉ Lyric FM labels and broadcast by BBC Radio 3, Deutschlandradio Kultur and New York's WNYC and WQXR.