Kevin O’Connell

(b. 1958)
Thomas Sundereland Photography

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

Since his first BBC commission at age 25 (Concertino for 12 Players) Kevin O’Connell has completed a continuous succession of commissions including four operas and numerous orchestral and chamber works. His music has been played around the world. His first opera Sensational! was commissioned by Opera Theatre Company and toured Ireland and Britain. The Fire King was commissioned with funding from British Telecom and had productions at the Playhouse Derry and Malibu Theatre, Los Angeles. My Love, My Umbrella (also OTC) toured Ireland, England and Germany in 1997-98. His orchestral work North, commissioned by BBC Radio 3, is possibly the most performed modern Irish orchestral work. Other orchestral commissions include Four Orchestral Pieces (2007), Symphony (2011) and Early Music (2015). In 2001 his massive String Quartet was premiered by the Lotus Quartet of Stuttgart. Other significant works include Cello Sonata (Raphael Wallfisch), Piano Trio no. 1 (Lontano), and Apollo and Marsyas (Crash Ensemble). More recent premieres include Piano Trio no. 2 for the Kungsbacka Piano Trio, Mass and Aifreann for the Palestrina Choir, Horn Trio for Kirkos Ensemble, A Battuta for HardRain Ensemble, Carrikfergus for the Ulster Orchestra, and Measures and Inventions for piano (Tiffany Qiu). In 2023 he completed his Dante triptych, a cycle of works for baritone and chamber orchestra based on the Paradiso. February 2024 will see the release of the film of his fourth opera, Dreamcatchr, at the Dublin International Film Festival. This work, with a libretto by Lily Akerman, explores the relationship between people and technology. A CD of O’Connell’s orchestral music with the NSO has appeared as Vol. 8 of the Lyric FM label’s Composers of Ireland series. O’Connell has published articles extensively in Musical Times and other outlets. He teaches composition at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Kevin O’Connell is a member of Aosdána, Ireland’s academy of creative artists.