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Discover a selection of the Northern Ireland based composers that Hard Rain has commissioned and worked with.

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Elaine Agnew 1967

Elaine Agnew is a Northern Irish composer whose many works have been performed and commissioned worldwide by artists such as the Škampa and Vogler Quartets, RTÉ National Symphony and Concert Orchestras, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish and Irish Chamber Orchestras and pianist Angela Hewitt. She studied composition at Queen’s University Belfast with Kevin Volans and at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with James MacMillan.As a renowned facilitator, she is highly experienced in enthusing participation of all ages in collective music-making and is much in demand for her innovative work.

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Greg Caffrey 1963

Belfast composer Greg Caffrey’s compositions have been performed in Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Estonia, U.S. Bangkok, China and Brazil, receiving critical acclaim. He read music at Queen’s University Belfast where he studied composition under Piers Hellawell and James Clarke. He was awarded a B.Mus. in 1995 and completed a PhD in 2002. From 2013 - 2023 he was founder and artistic director of Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble, Belfast.

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Eduard Zatriqi 1987

Born in Belfast, Eduard Zatriqi earned a BMus with first class honours (2009), and an MA and PhD in Music Composition (2010 and 2015, respectively) from Queen's University Belfast. His two chamber operas, Van Helsing: The Opera Exclamation Mark (2009) and The Monster in the Dark (2012), received their Belfast premieres by Spark Opera.Eduard's compositional interests and influences encompass the exploration of various parametric and systematic approaches (Boulez and Ligeti), the application of the overtone series as a harmonic language (Grisey and Saariaho) and the exploitation of sounds produced by unorthodox playing techniques (Lachenmann and Sciarrino). Moreover, given his Kosovar heritage, Eduard frequently integrates particular rhythmic, harmonic and gestural aspects of traditional Balkan music into his compositions.

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Robert Coleman 1989

Irish composer Robert Coleman has been commissioned by Crash Ensemble and New Music Dublin, the National Concert Hall Dublin, Irish National Opera, the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Tallaght Community Arts, violinist Larissa O’Grady and others.

He is currently a PhD student at SARC Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Sound and Music, Belfast focusing on Ecological Sound Art. His current work draws from numerous fields such as soundscape studies, site-specific art, field recording, community and participatory arts and more.

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Georgios Varoutsos 1991

Georgios Varoutsos is a sound artist and researcher from Montreal, Canada. He is completing his PhD at Queen’s University Belfast with SARC: Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Sound and Music. He received a Master’s in Research in Arts & Humanities with a concentration in Sonic Arts from Queen’s University Belfast, passing with distinction. Additionally, he earned a BFA with Distinction in Electroacoustic Studies and a BA in Anthropology from Concordia University in Montreal. Georgios bridges past and present history through sound and other mediums, offering audiences a variety of perspectives and lenses through his artistic endeavours.

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Aine Mallon 1994

Irish composer Aine Mallon’s current commissions see her working with world class ensembles and soloists such as the ORA Singers, Kirkos Ensemble, the New Sounds Ensemble at the Deal Music and Arts Festival, the Irish Youth Training Choir, members of the Sibiu Philharmonic, with previous commissions and performances from the Psappha Ensemble, Hard Rain Soloist Ensemble, the Piatti Quartet, Ad solem Chamber Choir, and Manchester University Chorus. She is quickly making a name for herself as a sought after composer of both Irish folk and Contemporary Classical music, and is frequently commissioned by ensembles and promoters from within both genres.

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Amelia Clarkson 1995

Northern Irish composer Amelia Clarkson’s work has been performed by ensembles and performers including Crash Ensemble, Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble, the Central Band of the Royal Air Force, Love Music Collective, soprano Alison Langer, pianist Lana Bode and harpist Oliver Wass. 

Her creative practice is centred on navigating potent political issues, juxtaposing folk and classical influences in her approach. Amelia was recently awarded the Mendelssohn Scholarship, supporting her current PhD at the Royal Northern College of Music. Supervised by Laura Bowler and Gary Carpenter, her research is focused on creating new music for dance.

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Anita Mawhinney 1974

Anita Mawhinney is a Belfast based composer who has been commissioned by Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble, Capella Caeciliana and others. She was the winner of the 5th Peter Rosser Composition Award 2021.

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Anselm McDonnell 1994

Belfast based composer Anselm McDonnell’s music has been performed in thirteen countries and he has been commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, the Crash Ensemble, BBC R3, British Council, Belfast City Council, Galway City of Culture, and the National Concert Hall Dublin.

McDonnell’s music is featured on eleven CDs, including two self-released albums: "Light of Shore" and "Kraina".

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Deirdre Gribbin 1967

Northern Irish composer Deirdre Gribbin’s work has been performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Irish National Symphony Orchestra, Aldeburgh festival and many more.

She is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast and Guildhall School of Music, London. She received her doctorate from the University of London. She subsequently was a Visiting Arts Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge.

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Ian Wilson 1964

Belfast composer Ian Wilson’s work has been performed been performed and broadcast on six continents, and presented at festivals including the BBC Proms, Venice Biennale and Frankfurt Bookfair and at venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Royal Albert and Wigmore Halls, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Muziekgebouw, Vienna’s Musikverein and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. Wilson has in recent years also worked with jazz musicians, Asian tabla and Chinese pipa players and traditional Irish singers; he has also collaborated with choreographers, theatre directors and electroacoustic and computer music composers.

His music is published by Ricordi (London) and Universal Edition.

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Matthew Whiteside

Matthew Whiteside’s music has received performances by ensembles and performers such as the RTÉ NSO, Red Note Ensemble, the Aurea Quartet, Pauline Kim Harris and Diagenesis Duo at venues such as New York University, Dublin’s National Concert Hall, Glasgow City Halls, Salem Artworks in New York and the Belfast International Festival at Queen’s. Matthew is a member of the Contemporary Music Centre in Dublin, where his music is housed, and is the CEO/Artist Director of The Night With… presenting concerts of interesting music in informal venues.

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Omar Zatriqi 1987

Omar Zatriqi is a composer from Bangor, County Down. He studied composition under Prof. Piers Hellawell and Dr. Simon Mawhinney at Queen's University Belfast, achieving a BMus (with First Class Honours), MA, and PhD. His music has been performed at Sonorities Festival, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Belfast Children’s Festival and by Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble. Omar was the 2018 wimmer of the Peter Rosser Composition Award.

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Pedro Rebelo 1972

Pedro Rebelo’s music. has been presented in venues such as the Melbourne Recital Hall,  National Concert Hall Dublin, Queen Elizabeth Hall,  Ars Electronica, Casa da Música, and in events such as Weimarer Frühjahrstage fur zeitgenössische Musik, Wien Modern Festival, Cynetart and Música Viva. He is a composer, sound artist and performer. Pedro is Professor of Sonic Arts in the School of Arts, English and Languages and Director of SARC: Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Sound and Music at Queen’s University Belfast.

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Peter O'Doherty 1972

Derry's Peter O’Doherty is a composer and sound artist. He makes work for and with human performers, computers and (sound) objects. His work often focuses on memory, time, language and the relationship between text, code and performance. His music and sound works have been performed in Ireland, Scotland, the former Yugoslavia, Finland and The Netherlands and his texts published in several publications, including Found Poetry Review.

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Piers Hellawell 1956

Piers Hellawell’s work has been commissioned and performed around the world, featuring special collaborations with a number of leading artists. Large projects since his 1999 Proms debut (Inside Story) have included Cors de chasse, a double concerto commissioned for Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet) and Jonas Bylund (trombone) by the Philharmonia Orchestra and Degrees of Separation, the commissioned work for the opening of The Sage Gateshead on the Tyne (both in 2004).

He has recently retired as professor of composition at Queen’s University, Belfast.

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Ryan Molloy 1983

Ryan Molloy’s compositional work engages with the boundary of contemporary music and traditional Irish music, drawing on his extensive experience as a traditional Irish fiddler and pianist. Ryan’s has written over fifty works and his music has been performed to audiences on four continents for over fifteen years, as well as featuring regularly in national and international TV and radio broadcasts (including BBC, RTÉ and UTV). Ryan has been commissioned by both RTÉ and the BBC, as well as a range of renowned performers such as the Danish String Quartet, Ulster Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, and Hard Rain Soloist Ensemble.

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Simon Mawhinney 1976

Simon Mawhinney was born in Co. Down, Northern Ireland and was educated at the universities of Oxford, York and Queen’s, Belfast, where he was appointed Lecturer in Music in June 2006. His compositions have been performed throughout the world by an international range of leading performers and ensembles and have received a wide range of awards and prizes, including the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize. His music has been commissioned by several major international music festivals and has been broadcast on numerous occasions. Piano performance forms an integral part of Mawhinney’s work. Described by the Irish Times as an ‘ardent’ performer, he has a wide repertoire ranging from Bach to Boulez and has given performances which have received critical acclaim throughout Europe.

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