Brian Irvine - composer
“Some of the most exhilarating and imaginative music you'll ever hope to hear…… musical play in the highest sense: exuberant, spontaneous and irresistibly alive.” Washington Post
Brian was born in Belfast. His huge body of work reflects an obsessive love of music creation in all its forms. It includes operas, orchestral works, large-scale community oratorios, film, theatre and dance scores as well as numerous ensemble, solo, chamber pieces.
His music has been performed all over the world and commissioned by many international artists and organisations including: Welsh National Opera, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, RTE National Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Wexford Festival Opera, Northern Sinfonia, BBC Radio 3, BBC Concert Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Scottish Ballet, Opera Theatre Company, Bath International Music Festival, Glasgow International Music Festival, Lyric Youth Opera, Music Network, London 2012 Olympics Festival, Roald Dahl Foundation, Channel Four, 4-mality percussion ensemble, Belfast Festival at Queens, Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Live Music Now, Sonorities Festival of New Music, Homecoming Music Festival (Moscow).
He was the Associate Composer with the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast for four years and is currently Visiting Professor of Creative Arts at the University of Ulster.
Together with his own ensemble (BBC Radio 3 Music Award winners) he has toured extensively throughout USA, Russia, France, Portugal, Germany, Scotland, Malta, Cyrus, Poland, Scotland, Ireland, England, Belgium, and the Netherlands and has appeared at some of the world’s leading international music festivals/venues including several appearances at the Bath International Music Festival (UK), Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank (London, UK), Gulbenkian Institute (Portugal), Washington National Library of Congress (USA), Ouest Nord Ouest Festival, (France), Glasgow International Festival (UK), Kościół Św. Jana, Gdańsk (Poland), Festival d'été de Valence (France), Festival Sous les Pommiers, (France) Homecoming Festival (Russia), Dublin Festival (Ireland), Moving on Music Festival (UK), Sonorities Festival of New Music (UK) and The International House of Music (Moscow, Russia).
Brian has also collaborated with and written for many internationally established artists across different genres including Seamus Heaney (poet), 4-mality percussion ensemble, Joanna MacGregor (piano), Billy Jenkins (guitar), Keith Tippet (piano), Paul Dunmall (saxophone/reeds), Roman Mints (violin), Matthew Bourne (piano), David Holmes, Snow Patrol, Duke Special, Keiji Haino (guitar), Joe Morris (guitar), LAU (BBC Folk award winners) as well as film makers, sculptors and animators including Eduard Bersudsky, Jari Neimenin, Joel Simon, John McCluskey and John Mcilduff.
He has won a number of awards for his work including a British Composers Award for Opera, BBC Radio 3 Jazz Award for best new work, Major Individual Artist Award (Arts Council of Northern Ireland), First Trust/University of Ulster Distinguished Graduate Award, the MCPS Joyce Dixey Award for Composition and the Bass Ireland Award.
Recently his opera Shelter Me form the Rain won the 2011 Irish Allianz Arts and Business Award for “best use of creativity in the community” and his large scale children’s oratorio Rain Falling Up was shortlisted for a 2011 British Composers Awards. Also in 2011 his junk opera Postcards from Dumbworld was shortlisted for a 2011 Irish Times Theatre Award.
Recent orchestral works include: Strange Attractors (40’) for orchestra and LAU commissioned by the Sage Gateshead/ PRS foundation; My cow’s not pretty, but it’s pretty to me - recorded for BBC Radio 3 Hear and Now performed by the Ulster Orchestra and Praise Aloud The Trees for double orchestra and choir, a collaboration with Nobel laureate poet Seamus Heaney commissioned by BBC Radio 3.
In 2011 he completed the music score to John McIlduff’s feature film Behold the Lamb as well as a short film opera entitled: To Do List.
He is currently working on Nest (60’): a large scale installation commissioned by London 2012 Festival for the Ulster Youth Orchestra, large community chorus and collected objects which will take place on the 21 July 2012 at T13 in Belfast. Future projects include violin concerto commissioned by the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, an animated opera entitled Peter Lilly and the Nose.