Seán Clancy

(b. 1984)

"It is what it is…"

Dublin born (1984) composer Seán Clancy’s music has been described as ‘equal part sacred, seductive and superficial’ (Tempo), and as ‘exploring the tensions between found and original material, narrative and rupture, elite and vernacular values, and between innovation and intervention’ (Journal of Music). His work deals translation and examining minimal amounts of material over extended periods of time (sometimes with projected text). Recently he has been exploring this process by performing with electronics, often collaborating with other soloists and ensembles.

Recent work includes "Where the Paths End" (2023), a 28 minute piece for ensemble, electronics, and location recordings commission by Zubin Kanga’s UKRI Cyborg Soloists project for Plus Minus Ensemble, with three accompanying soundwalks around Edinburgh, Birmingham, and London; "Amaechi" (with Michael Wolters), a 2022 Commonwealth Games commission for singers, percussionists, electronics, basketball players, and projected text; "Nowhere Better Than This Place" (with Andy Ingamells) (2023/2019) for visual musique concrète, electronics, projected text, and video (reprised at Dublin Fringe Festival 2023 and nominated for The Listowel Residency George Fitzmaurice Award); and "Inventions & Canons", an immensely intimate album for acoustic instruments, electronics, and location recordings documenting life surrounding the year 2021.

Over the years, Seán has received a PRSF Beyond Boarders Award (with Andy Ingamells) (2019), a Culture Ireland GB18 Award (2018), been composer in association with Workers Union Ensemble (2015/16), an artist in residence at the Moog Soundlab (2015 and 2018), composer in residence at EMS Elektronmusikstudion Stockholm (2014), BCMG/SAM Composer in Residence (2010-2012), and a recipient of an RTÉ Lyric FM/IMRO Composition Bursary (2012). Additionally, he has been a featured composer for the bicentenary of the Royal Academy of Music (2022), Listenpony concert series (2022), the Kirkos Biosphere festival (2020) the BBC Radio 3 Open Ear Series (2018), the New Music Dublin Festival (2017), Composing the Island Festival, Dublin (2016) MATA Festival, New York (2016), Beijing Modern Music Festival (2016), RTÉ NSO Music of Our Time Series (2016), New Dots Series, London (2016), Culture Night, Ireland (2019 & 2015) David Lang’s ‘What?… Wow Festival of Music’ (2015), Soundings at the Austrian Cultural Forum (2015), the RTÉ NSO Horizons Series (2014), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (2013), Quatuor Bozzini Composers’ Kitchen (2013), Ergodos Printing House Festival (2007), Birmingham’s Frontiers Festival (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2011, 2010), and CODA Festival (2018, 2019, 2020) also in Birmingham.

Seán has been commissioned and performed by many fabulous ensembles and artists from around the world. He has enjoyed working with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Quatuor Bozzini, Crash Ensemble, Plus Minus Ensemble, RTÉ Contempo Quartet, Fidelio Trio, Ensemble KROCK, Workers Union Ensemble, Orkest de Ereprijs, Ensemble neoN, Dublin Guitar Quartet, Octandre, Decibel, Noszferatu, and Thallein Ensemble. He has also worked with soloists Xenia Pestova-Bennett, Susan Narucki, Garth Knox, R. Andrew Lee, Matthew Schellhorn, Kate Ledger, David Adams, Judith Gordon, Katalin Koltai, Paul Norman, James Larter, and Howard Skempton as well as conductors Alan Pierson, Richard Baker, Gavin Moloney, Clement Power, Ben Oliver, Daniele Rosina, Ciaran Crilly, and Dan Watson. Most recently, he has undertaken several duo projects with composer/performer Andy Ingamells, and he has also collaborated with Rock/Electronic musicians Katie Kim, Thomas Parkes, and Simon Goff. He also once supported Matana Roberts & Kelly Jayne Jones on their 2018 UK Outlands tour. He has received support from organisations such as the PRSF, the Britten Pears-Foundation, RVW Trust, Sound & Music, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, The Arts Council of Ireland, IMRO, and Culture Ireland. He has been broadcast on amongst others: WNYC (USA), WFMT Chicago (USA), RTÉ Lyric FM (Ireland), BBC Radio 3 (UK), Dublin Digital Radio (Ireland), KXRY Portland (USA) and Klassika Raadio (Estonia). He has commercial recordings released by Birmingham Record Company/NMC, Katie Kim, Crash Records, Countersunk, Tusk, and his own label: Short Loan Collection.

Seán is an Ad Astra Fellow Assistant Professor at University College Dublin. He completed a PhD at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 2012 and was a Senior Lecturer there until 2023. He holds degrees from King’s College London, University College Dublin, and the Ecole Nationale de Musique. Principle teachers have included Joe Cutler, Philippe Leroux, and Howard Skempton (alongside informal studies with Gerald Barry and David Lang). He is represented by the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland.