Born in Tipperary in 1944, Frank Corcoran studied at Dublin, Maynooth, Rome and Berlin. He was a music inspector for the Irish government Department of Education from 1971 to 1979, after which he took up a composer fellowship at the Berlin Künstlerprogramm in West Berlin. He is the only Irish composer whose 1. Symphony ( “Symphonies of Symphonies of Wind” ) was premiered in Vienna ( 1981 R.S.O. Vienna / Lothar Zagrosek .
In the 1980s, he taught in Berlin, Stuttgart and Hamburg, where he was professor of composition and theory in the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst. He was a Fulbright visiting professor and Fulbright scholar in the U.S. in 1989-1990, and has been a guest lecturer at CalArts, Harvard University, U.W.M. Madison and Milwaukee, Princeton University, Boston College, New York University, N.Y. Fredonia and Indiana University.
His output includes chamber, symphonic, choral and electro-acoustic music, through which he explores particularly Irish issues like language and history. He has worked with text by the poet Seamus Heaney, in the chamber piece Mad Sweeney (1996), and by the Irish-language writer Gabriel Rosenstock.
Recent commissions include Sweeneys Smithereens (Crash Ensemble for Expo 2000); Sweeneys Total Rondo (G.P.A. International 2003); Two Orchestrated Bach Fugues (National Concert Hall 2002), from the Cantus Chamber Orchestra, Zagreb, 2003 for the new Quasi Un Concertino; RTE commission 2005 Quasi Una Visione for Orchestra (Ensemble Modern premiered at the 2006 Living Music Festival, Dublin ); Quasi un Lamento for Chamber Orchestra (N.S.O. Horizons Concert 2005); Quasi Un Pizzicato for Large Ensemble (Wireworks Ensemble Hamburg 2004 ); Quasi Un Canto for Large Orchestra (Zagreb Philharmonic at the 2005 World Music Days, Zagreb); in 2005, Quasi Una Fuga ( premiere 26.11.2006, Irish Chamber Orchestra at the National Gallery, Dublin); and in 2006, Beyond Beckett, for Soprano, Violin, Cello and Bassclarinet ( premiere 23.4.2006 at the Beckett Centenary Celebrations, National Gallery, Dublin); in 2007, Quasi Una Sarabanda ( for the Swiss Ensemble “Antipodes”, in 2008, ” Four Orchestral Lieder” for the N.S.O., in 2009, 2010 Clarinet Quintet for RTE / Vanbrugh Quartet , 2011 North South Consonance New York ” Songs Of Terror And Love”, Violin Concerto ( N.S.O. Alan Smale, Christopher Warren-Green ), 2013 New York North South Consonance chamber orchestra “Variations On Myself”, 2013 Cello Concerto etc.
His Joycepeak Music won the 2006 StudioAkustische Kunst, Cologne, in 1995. In 1999, his piece Sweeny´s Vision won first prize at the Bourges International Electro-acoustic Music Competition and his Quasi Una Missa won the 2002 EMS Prize, Stockholm. 2011 Sean Ó Riada Prize at the Cork International Choral Festival. 2013 First Prize Outright with the International Foundation For Choral Music ( with his EIGHT HAIKUS ) . He is a founding member of Aosdana, the Irish Academy of the Arts which honours artists whose work has made an
outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland” >Aosdana . He lives in Hamburg and Italy.