Composers Announced for Choral Sketches 2024

The Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland and Chamber Choir Ireland are delighted to announce that composers Bianca Gannon, Laura Heneghan, and Caterina Schembri have been selected to participate in the 2024 Choral Sketches programme.

Choral Sketches is a unique professional development opportunity for composers who wish to develop their skills in writing choral music with mentoring from renowned Irish composer, Rhona Clarke. The purpose of the programme is to provide a creative and open environment for composers to deepen their experience in writing for voices in a choral context. 

The Choral Sketches composers meet this month for one-to-one mentoring ahead of submitting their sketches later this year. These sketches will be the focus of a public workshop led by conductor and Artistic Director Paul Hillier with Chamber Choir Ireland on 26 September 2024.

Following this workshop there will be a further mentoring session before the composers submit their finished sketches. The sketches will have a performance reading by Chamber Choir Ireland in early 2025, marking the culmination of the programme.

Meet the Choral Sketches 2024 Participants

Photo: WILK

Bianca Gannon is an Irish interdisciplinary art music composer and improviser. Weaving together her extensive training in composition, improvised music, piano and Indonesian percussion, her works are often immersive, multi-sensory, investigative with social commentary, and deeply symbolic. Passionately exploring parallels between seemingly disparate concepts, Bianca is inspired by that which connects us.

King House Piano Commission Awardee, BAN BAM Awardee (Composition), Pythia Prize Winner (Composition), Improvised Music Company 30/30 Artist (one of Ireland's outstanding improvisers) and 2020 Artist-in-Residence with the City of Greater Dandenong, Bianca's work has been presented internationally by leading ensembles including loadbang, Ensemble Offspring, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and the Australian Art Orchestra.

The premiere of her work 'Our House Is On Fire' by Rubiks Collective was awarded the 2021 Percy Grainger Award. Bianca has lived in and studied music intensively across the Indonesian archipelago, including as a recipient of the Indonesian Arts and Culture Scholarship. This informs her work in surprising ways including collaborating with internationally acclaimed Indonesian artists and with custodians of endangered Indonesian food-centric instruments in ‘The Sound of Shadows’ series. Bianca is a CMC-represented composer.

Laura Heneghan (b.1999) is a Mayo-born composer and pianist who predominantly composes chamber and vocal works. With music described as "memorable and strongly conceived" (The Scotsman), her work frequently makes "vivid use of the [ensemble]'s sonic potential in a compelling and convincing musical argument”.

Laura’s work has been performed throughout the UK and Ireland by notable groups such as Chamber Choir Ireland, Gaia Duo, Con Anima Chamber Choir, Contempo Quartet, and Irish Chamber Brass amongst others. She has received numerous accolades for her compositional work, including the Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition 2023, the West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival’s Composer Competition for Brass Quintet 2023, and was selected for Sound Scotland’s development scheme for emerging composers. Most recently, she was selected as a finalist for the 6th Peter Rosser Award.

Laura has studied with Dr Amanda Feery at the University of Galway, and Dr Bekah Simms and David Fennessy at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Laura is currently a participant in the CMC's Emerging Composer programme.

Photo: Néstor Romero Clemente

Caterina Schembri is an Italian-Colombian composer and producer based in Dublin. Through her work, she likes to traverse harmonic explorations, literary motifs, multidisciplinary intersections, symbolic meaning, and different orchestration possibilities within acoustic and hybrid ensembles. 

Connections with visual imagery and written word are recurrent in her music, often working with original text written by her. In the last years, she has composed pieces for a wide range of musicians including Ficino Ensemble, Tonnta, Chamber Choir Ireland, Spilliaert Trio, the Dublin Viols, members of the UCDSO, percussion ensemble Tridio, vocalist Michelle O'Rourke and cellist Kate Ellis.

In 2022 she was granted a Music Bursary by the Arts Council of Ireland to develop new work, was commissioned to premiere a piece in New Music Dublin 2022 and most recently was commissioned by MoLI (Museum of Literature Ireland) to write a piece for the 2023 Bloomsday video. Caterina is also one of the founding members of Sonic Gate Studios, an international collective of sound artists working on curated new music, and the general manager for the record label Ergodos. Caterina is currently undertaking the CMC Emerging Composer programme.