Frank Corcoran

irish composer

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The RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet

are celebrating the music of Irish composers Frederick May and Frank Corcoran this autumn.

The ensemble will perform May’s Quartet on 12 November in Dublin, with the same concert featuring in a workshop performance of May’s recently discovered Four Romantic Songs, in collaboration with tenor Peter Kerr and pianist Fergal Caulfield. May’s Quartet will also feature in the Vanbrugh’s 13 November free concert in the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin, alongside Franz Schubert’s Death and the Maiden.

The ensemble will take part in a ‘meet the composer’ session with Hamburg and Italy-based composer Frank Corcoran at the Royal Irish Academy of Music on 25 November, from 1430—1600.
Corcoran’s Clarinet Quintet will be workshopped in collaboration with clarinettist Fintan Sutton, who will also present Corcoran’s A Dark Song for solo bass clarinet.

Both pieces will receive their world premiere after the workshop session. The concert will be followed by a Q&A with the composer, to which admission, like the concert itself, is free.

The Corcoran and May concerts feature amidst a packed autumn concert schedule for the quartet, which will see them perform the May and Schubert quartets alongside Joseph Haydn’s Opus 42 D minor quartet in Cork, Waterford, Letterkenny, Kerry and Killarney. In addition, the Vanbrugh Quartet will perform music by Mozart, Johannes Brahms and Charles Villiers Stanford with guests Barry Douglas and horn-player Cormac Ó hAodáin at the Curtis Auditorium in Cork on 30 September, as part of the launch of the Cork Orchestral Society’s 2011—2012 season, and on 12 October they will present a workshop and a concert at the Kilkenny School of Music.
Published on 26 September 2011

GRAMOPHONE 1. 3. 2016

Gramophone Tue 1st March 2016

Recent Irish Music

Liam Cagney chooses 10 pieces connected with Ireland’s recent history

This year marks the centenary of the Easter Rising in Ireland, the rebellion that led to the founding of the Irish

State. Commemorations are duly filling the cultural calendar.

My playlist salutes the range and vibrancy of music coming from this small island in recent years.

As you’d expect, Irish composers continue to draw inspiration from Irish literature: Jane O’Leary’s riverrun at

once references James Joyce and the flow of Dublin’s river Liffey; Frank Corcoran, here represented by the

lugubrious opening movement of his Symphony No 3, also closely engages with Joyce; while John Buckley’s The Silver

Apples of the Moon, the Golden Apples of the Sun is inspired by Yeats’s poetry.

19. 10. 2017 SEE BELOW !

Chamber Orchestra Music by Composers from Ireland and the US

Henry Bulow Food Court
Frank Corcoran Variations on Myself
Binette Lipper Ten-Able
Joyce Solomon Morrman The Snow Storm
William Pfaff The Road is All

Max Lifchitz, conductor
The North/South Chamber Orchestra
Tuesday, March 12 at 8 PM
Christ & St Stephen’s Church
120 West 69th St (bet Bway & Columbus), NYC

North/South Consonance, Inc. continues its 33rd consecutive season of free-admission concerts on Tuesday evening March 12. The GRAMMY nominated North/South Chamber Orchestra under the direction of its founder Max Lifchitz will premiere five works especially written for the occasion by composers representing a wide variety of styles and hailing from Ireland and throughout the US. The composers are: Harry Bulow, Frank Corcoran, Binnette Lipper, Joyce Solomon Moorman and William Pfaff.

The concert will start at 8 PM and will take place at the auditorium of Christ & St. Stephen’s Church (120 West 69th St – between Broadway and Columbus) on Manhattan’s West Side. Admission is free — no tickets necessary.

The event will feature the first performance of Variations on Myself by the noted Irish composer Frank Corcoran.
A founding member of Aosdána – Ireland’s state-sponsored academy of creative artists – Corcoran was born in Tipperary in 1944 and completed his musical education in Berlin under the supervision of Boris Blacher. His Two Unholy Haikus won the Sean Ó Riada Award at the 2012 Cork International Choral Festival and the First Prize in the 2013 International Federation of Choral Music. Several of his orchestral and choral works are available on recordings issued by, among others, the NAXOS, Col-Legno, and Caprice labels.
For almost thirty years he taught composition and theory in the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg, Germany. Corcoran first visited the US in 1989 as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Subsequently, he has been invited to lecture at Indiana University, CalArts, Harvard University, Boston College, New York University and Princeton.

As basis for his recently completed work, Variations on Myself, Corcoran employs a melodic theme derived from the pitches suggested by the composer’s name: F-D-C#-Eb-C-A.
Melodic and harmonic materials are generated by mutating these pitches while strict metrical writing of the strings contrasts with undulating lines in the wind instruments often moving at their own speed.




Nieuwe cd’s met Nieuwe Muziek.

Vandaag o.a. de Nederlandse radio première van Frank Corcoran’s nieuwe vioolconcert. (nog niet op cd verschenen) en muziek van Kaija Saariaho.

– Frank Corcoran. Violin Concerto.
Alan Smale, viool en het RTÉ Symphony Orchestra olv. Christopher Warren-Green.
(opname ter beschikking gesteld door de componist).

– Kaija Saariaho. Cloud Trio.
Zebra Trio.
. Je sens un deuxième coeur, for violin, cello and piano.
Ondine ODE 1189-2.

Gerard Meulenberg

Frank Corcoran

Celebrating Frank Corcoran at 70

Forthcoming concert includes world premieres performed by Alan Smale and Martin Johnson.

A concert celebrating the work of composer Frank Corcoran will take place at the James Joyce Centre in Dublin on Thursday 26 November at 8pm.

Beginning with an introduction by writer Barra Ó Séaghdha, composer Benjamin Dwyer will then deliver a keynote talk on the composer’s work and its connection to Joyce.

The second part of the evening will begin with a short public interview with the composer, followed by the world premiere of his Rhapsodietta Joyceana performed by cellist Martin Johnson.

This will be followed by performances of Variations on A Mháirín de Barra (1995) performed by Adèle Johnson (viola), Seven Theses on Joyce and Music presented by the composer, and Joycespeak Musik (1995) for tape. The concert concludes with the world premiere of Seven Miniatures for violin performed by Alan Smale.

Born in 1944 in Borrisokane, County Tipperary, Frank Corcoran studied philosophy, music, ancient languages and theology in Ireland and Rome and took further studies in composition with composer Boris Blacher in Berlin.

His output includes orchestral, choral, chamber and electro-acoustic music. Corcoran’s Joycespeak Musik won the Studio Akustische Kunst in 1995, Sweeney’s Vision won the Bourges Festival Premier Prix in 1999, and Quasi Una Missa won the 2002 Swedish E.M.S. Prize.

Two Unholy Haikus took first prize at the Cork International Choral Festival in 2012 and his Eight Haikus was awarded first prize at the International Foundation for Choral Music in 2013.

Corcoran’s music has been performed by the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Crash Ensemble, Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra among many others, and has been recorded on the Marco Polo, Wergo, Composers Art and Black Box labels.

Recent large-scale works include a Cello Concerto, written for Martin Johnson, and a Violin Concerto, composed for Alan Smale, both premiered with the RTÉ NSO. Corcoran is a member of Aosdána and lives in Hamburg and Italy.

A book dedicated to the composer’s work was recently published. Frank Corcoran – Festschrift at Seventy – Old and New – Sean agus Nua: An Irish Composer Invents Myself is edited by Hans-Dieter Grünefeld and includes contributions from Benjamin Dwyer, Roger Doyle and Jane O’Leary.

The book is available from the Contemporary Music Centre here.

For more on the concert on 26 November, visit
Published on 12 November 2015



Stretching horizons was festival high note .

Thu, Nov 30, 2000, 00:00

Frank Corcoran, director and guest composer of this year’s festival of contemporary music in Sligo,

” SEAN – NUA ” ” OLD – NEW “


I’ve come from my ” Salasso” hour today .

The needle searched and found the red, red blood.

But what has this to do , is my dismay,

With pyroclastic, heavy tephra , say ?

Sonnets about volcanoes versus writing

About too much of iron in my veins ?

Vesuvio’s a fiery, red-hot , fightin’

Mountain out to burn my aches and pains.

That needle sucked it out, my ferretin,

My vital , sanguine, life-juice, good and mean.

But yet my thoughts were focused on my death

By Etna’s enormous heat and pent-up power.

The saline fluid sang , but I could cower

Glad my roasting hour had not come yet.


Music Current Artistic Director, Fergal Dowling talks to CMC about the upcoming new music festival, which takes

place in Dublin from 10–13 April 2019.

What is the main aim of Music Current?

Music Current is an annual festival of contemporary music which started in 2016 and grew out the work that Dublin Sound Lab had been doing since 2008. We had always organised our own concerts and produced our own music, as well as music by other composers. But in 2016 we wanted to distinguish between our own creative work and music of other people that we also wanted to produce. So the programming is similar in style to what Dublin Sound Lab has always been doing, but Music Current is our chance to showcase other people’s work.

How does the programming differ from other new music festivals?

The festival is called Music Current because we try to present music that is literally current. Most of the featured works are very recent. The main objective is to present music that has currency; that is current, contemporary, fluid and relevant to our time. Many of the works we present require electronic forces during performance, which is another play on the idea of ‘current’, but the use of electronic forces is not a central concern.

This year you are focusing on Irish composer Frank Corcoran with a concert of some of his electro-acoustic works. What was your motivation behind selecting these works?

We are presenting three of Frank Corcoran’s electro-acoustic works (Quasi una Missa – 1999, Tradurre Tradire – 2004, and Sweeney’s Vision – 1997) in the opening festival concert on Wednesday, 10 April at 7pm.

Dating from 1997–2004, these are amongst the oldest works we have ever presented. This slightly contradicts what I said about ‘current’ music, but I think Frank’s music has an earthy timeless quality. His music doesn’t concern itself with fashions or trends, and these three electro-acoustic works aren’t overly involved with displays of electronic technique that might make the work sound or feel dated.
In fact, they still sound very fresh and direct.

The Light Gleams: a portrait of Frank Corcoran

Historically, these are some of the most significant electronic works by any Irish composer, although they may not now be so well known to Dublin audiences.
So it is important to recognise their significance.
These works were originally written for radio, and by their nature are already relatively accessible – in fact they
are decidedly ‘radiophonic’, and very effective in this context.

Sometimes ‘tape’ music concerts can be seen as being rather stuffy and academic, and music programmers may be a little frightened to engage with the form. This is something I wanted to challenge directly.

But above all, I greatly admire the determined Irish-centred character of Frank’s work and his willingness to engage head-on with themes of myth and language. This subject matter may be somewhat unfashionable, but it is this disregard for trends that allow the works to maintain their freshness and directness of appeal. When they are heard together in a seamless concert presentation, these works take on a very forceful coherence and logic. They unfold in a slow deep rhythm, which makes a compelling concert experience outside the normal flow of time.


North/South Consonance 2010-2011 Concert Schedule
Nine Concerts in the visually appealing and acoustically
superior setting of Christ and St. Stephen’s Church
Location: 120 West 69th Street (between Broadway & Columbus), New York City

Max Lifchitz, conductor
The North/South Chamber Orchestra

Monday, March 14, 2011 at 8 PM
St. Patrick’s Day Gala





Songs of Terror and Love

Max Lifchitz, conductor
The North/South Consonance Ensemble




Veröffentlicht am 30.04.2004 | Lesedauer: 2 Minuten
Von Katja Engler
Kultur kompakt

Das Studio 21 für aktuelle Musik gibt heute um 18 Uhr, im Mendelssohn-Saal der Hochschule für Musik und Theater ein

Geburtstagskonzert für den irischen Hochschulkomponisten Frank Corcoran (60).

Zur Aufführung kommen u.a. seine


Ice-Etchings für Cello, Joycepeak-Musik, Bachs 3. Suite für Solo-Cello. Nach dem Konzert findet ein Gespräch mit dem Komponisten statt. Der Eintritt ist frei.