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The three composers chosen for the PRSf early career commission scheme for HRSE's 2023/24 Season are:


Sarah Colgan, Rebecca Doherty and Orly Watson.

We are delighted to announce the 2023/24 recipients of the PRSf Talent Development Partnership commissions. Thank you to all that submitted, and please don’t be too disappointed if you were not chosen on this occasion, we only have 3 of these early-career commissions to hand out! If your proposal wasn’t chosen on this occasion, please think about a fresh submission next year.

Congratulations to this years commissioned composers, Orly, Rebecca and Sarah. We look forward to working with them this season and playing their new music. 


Sarah Colgan

Sarah Colgan has written a new work for clarinet, violin and piano called Mephistophelian. Sarah uses polyrhythmic elements, inspired by Boulez and Ligeti, to bring the character of each instrument to the fore, to create this dramatic new piece. 


Sarah Colgan is a twenty-two-year-old who recently obtained a first-class honours degree in Music (BMus) from Queen’s University Belfast. 


Originally from Loughinisland, County Down, Sarah went to St Macartan’s primary school, and Down High School, where she found a real love for music, participating in in carol services, spring concerts and much more. More recently, at Queen’s she found a real love for composing that really flourished under the guidance of Piers Hellawell, and Simon Mawhinney. During her time at Queen’s, she composed for solo bassoon, solo clarinet, trios (flute, clarinet, and violin), solo cello, and more recently for a quintet (flute, Bb clarinet, violin, cello, and piano). 

Through many collaborations with Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble (HRSE), she gained invaluable experience, and in June 2023, Sarah’s quintet ‘Demonic Dance’ was selected to be part of one of HRSE’s concerts. In addition to this, her trio ‘Mephistophelian’ for b-flat clarinet, violin, and piano was selected for one of HRSE’s PRSf funded commissions.

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Rebecca Doherty

Rebecca Doherty has written a piece titled Right Thoughts, Not Always Right Order for violin, cello and piano. The piece uses the rhythmic structures of Baroque music to explore the experience of living with ADHD in a neurotypical world.


Rebecca Doherty is a media and concert composer and multi-instrumentalist originally from Derry. Films she has scored have screened at Oscar, BAFTA and BIFA-qualifying festivals, and she has scored numerous theatre productions. Her music has been performed by groups including the Bristol Ensemble, Green Opera, Inter Alios Choir, The Phoenix Music Society and the Cambridge Opera Workshop, and has featured at the Edinburgh Fringe and on BBC Radio Ulster. She won two composition awards at ESB Feis Ceoil 2023: the IMRO Award for Chamber Ensemble and the Walter Beckett Cup for Original Song. Her piece There is Hope (2019) was written to accompany the book ‘Children of the Troubles’ by Joe Duffy and Freya McClements, and was premiered at the book’s launch in Belfast. She holds a BA in Music from the University of Cambridge and an MA in Film Composition from the University of Bristol. Rebecca is also an avid recorder player, having won multiple competitions at the Feis Ceoil festivals in Dublin and Sligo. She has performed extensively on BBC Radio Ulster including on the Blackstaff Sessions, Classical Connections and The Arts Show.


Orly Watson

Orly Watson has written a new work titled The Coming of Pan for flute and piano. Inspired by the eponymous Greek Nature God, this piece continues the tradition of exploring the character of Pan through the rich sonic possibilities of the flute.


Orly Watson is a pianist, organist, and composer. He read Music at Somerville College, Oxford and studied the piano with Michael Dussek at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He is Official Accompanist at Queen’s University Belfast where he is also a PhD researcher and teaching assistant. He has lectured on musical subjects at QUB and DkIT. Orly is active as a solo recitalist with a special emphasis on the Romantic repertoire and is widely esteemed as one the leading figures in the new generation of Irish accompanists. He was awarded the Peter Rankin Pianist Internship by Northern Ireland Opera and spent a period working as a chamber music pianist at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin. He is active as an operatic répétiteur and has worked closely with Ulster Touring Opera since its formation. He coordinates an organ recital series and spent more than six years as Organist and Director of Music at Dromore Cathedral. He remains active in the field of church music and is a well-known choir director. He makes occasional orchestral appearances and has worked with the Ulster Orchestra. His doctoral research examines the role and potentiality of reconsidered Romantic aesthetics in contemporary composition and places a particular emphasis on the influence of Irish landscape and folklore. His recently-composed cycle of Eight Pieces on Irish Hymn Tunes has been published in the UK and performed in leading venues, and has been described as “one of the finest Irish contributions to the organ repertoire. A future classic for the modern organist, as starkly original as it is fascinating... the slow movements achieve a peculiar power and reflect a masterly understanding of the instrument and composer’s craft.

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