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Donnacha Dennehy

Born: 1970

Nationality: Irish

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Photo © Britt Olsen-Ecker


Born in Dublin, Donnacha Dennehy has had work featured in festivals and venues around the world, including the Edinburgh International Festival, Royal Opera House (London), Carnegie Hall, The Barbican, BAM, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (which opened its 2012 Festival with a portrait concert devoted to Dennehy's music), Dublin Theatre Festival, ISCM World Music Days, WNYC's New Sounds Live, Bang On A Can, Ultima Festival (Oslo), Musica Viva (Lisbon), the Saarbrucken Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, and the Gaudeamus Festival (Amsterdam).

Dennehy has been commissioned by Dawn Upshaw, the Kronos Quartet, Alarm Will Sound, Bang On A Can, Third Coast Percussion, Icebreaker (London), Contact (Toronto), Lucilin (Luxembourg), Orkest de Ereprijs (Netherlands), Fidelio Trio, Percussion Group of the Hague, RTE National Symphony Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, BBC Ulster Orchestra and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, among others. Collaborations include pieces with the writer Enda Walsh (including his recent opera The Last Hotel), the choreographers Yoshiko Chuma and Shobana Jeyasingh, and the visual artist John Gerrard. In 2010 his single-movement orchestral piece Crane was "recommended" by the International Rostrum of Composers.

Returning to Ireland after studies abroad in the USA, France, and Holland, Dennehy founded Crash Ensemble, Ireland's now-renowned new music group, in 1997. Alongside the singers Dawn Upshaw and Iarla O'Lionáird, Crash Ensemble is featured on the 2011 Nonesuch release of Dennehy's music, entitled Grá agus Bás. NPR named it one of its "50 favorite albums" (in any genre) of 2011. In October 2014, RTE Lyric FM released a portrait CD of Dennehy's orchestral music. Previous releases include a number by NMC Records in London and Cantaloupe in New York. Previously a tenured lecturer at Trinity College Dublin, Dennehy was appointed a Global Scholar at Princeton University in the autumn of 2012. He also served as composer-in-residence for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in Texas (2013-14). He joined the music faculty at Princeton University in 2014.

Dennehy's recent opera The Last Hotel, with a libretto by Enda Walsh, was met with critical acclaim in the UK when it premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2015. It has since had runs at the Dublin Theatre Festival, the Royal Opera in London, and St Ann's Warehouse in New York. Other recent premieres include Surface Tension for Third Coast Percussion, commissioned by Notre Dame University and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Tessellatum for violist Nadia Sirota, viol consort and electronics, commissioned by Symphony Space (NY) and scheduled for release by Bedroom Community. His new String Quartet for the Doric Quartet, commissioned by Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Hall, premieres in July 2016.

Donnacha Dennehy's works are published by G. Schirmer.

— May 2016


For specific inquiries about this composer, please contact Rachel.Sokolow@schirmer.com or call 212-254-2100.


Donnacha Dennehy on WQXR's Meet the Composer

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