Frank Corcoran

irish composer

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Suoni d’Irlanda per Frank Corcoran a Orvieto e Bolsena
martedì 28 luglio 2015
Suoni d’Irlanda per Frank Corcoran a Orvieto e Bolsena

Due appuntamenti imperdibili per chi ama la musica classica e al contempo una grande occasione per celebrare uno dei massimi compositori irlandesi viventi che da alcuni anni ha deciso di trascorrere gran parte dell’anno nella campagna alle porte di Bagnoregio.

In onore di Frank Corcoran, nato a Tipperary nel 1944, tre solisti della National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland (Martin Johnson, Adele Johnson, Fergal Caulfield) eseguiranno musiche di Schubert, Popper, Brahms e dello stesso Corcoran in due date, la prima ad Orvieto, al Teatro Mancinelli venerdì 31 luglio alle ore 21:15.

La seconda a Bolsena, al Piccolo Teatro Cavour domenica 2 agosto alla stessa ora. Ad entrambi i concerti, sarà presente il maestro Corcoran.



Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin

This concert by Jane O’Leary’s new-music ensemble, Concorde, included the Irish premiere of Four Pieces(2006), by young Slovenian composer Nina Senk, which the ensemble will perform in Ljubljana next month.

Senk is only 25, but the riveting playing of Elaine Clark (violin), David James (cello) and Dermot Dunne (accordion) made it easy to hear why her music is already much travelled.

The rest of the programme drew on Concorde’s rich back-catalogue of Irish commissions. Two vocal works from 2006, Frank Corcoran’s The Light Gleams and Elaine Agnew’s In the Adriatic, were elegantly articulated by soprano Tine Verbeke.

Taking a fragment of text from Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Corcoran’s piece places its three monosyllables in a setting of poised abstraction, as if examining its vowels and consonants from various angles under a powerful microscope.


Well, I was ten years younger. I had not yet composed the Cello Concerto, the Violin Concerto, Four Orchestral Prayers, Quasi Una Fuga and several other Corcoran works. Nor had I yet learned serenit’a, accept it all. Nor written my recent Sceal Beag. Nor yet discovered wild garlic, thyme, basil or origano. Nor written certain focal Haikus. Nor even thought of publishing the Festschrift Frank Corcoran ( or its sub-title : “An Irish Composer Invents Himself.” ) nor presented my ” Seven Theses On James Joyce And Music ” in the Dublin James Joyce Centre.
So whose used-up yarn is this spinning ? How is this writing voyeur ? My own e-entrails? 2006 was no bad year.
looking–glass declares an interest?
Evening–questions seldom going away,let fine fingers sing it:
Take Euclidian parallels. Take: ‘‘Can music ever be completely
programme–free?’’ Now if your answer is ‘‘Yes’’, why can’t we make a case also for the
occasional, programme–free Musing? This here is one such: perhaps in the
whole flaming firmament, this e–mail might be only the second known case of
an Uncaused Cause (lower case, please). E–scutter floweth as it will,
meandering magma loitering,causing a civilized smile.
It’s not actually enough to fob off Our Great E–typing Author with
‘‘uncaused causation’’.
Bad enough to be caught anywhere near this theory of
‘‘any possible programme’’ (– eg. Our Muser–Author’s ounds, the scrofulous breakfast, gene
versus Jane versus Holy Joe in early boyhood).
Much worse, oh woe, not to expect anything from an e–mail, no effect,
none. Nothing. If idle is as idle strives to be, if (as here) it be
meta–musing on and on how to see behind its own very behind, then, there, be the
art of comedy chided.
This e–centred, this I–centred e–thrust, swallowed up in victory, all very
well that ; – by the way, who’ll fork out the cheque–book when the
celestial nuptials for ‘‘I’’ and ‘‘Me’’ draw nigh, this very night?
What be e–writing at all, mused or fused tohuwabohu?
Then suffices no ‘‘It’s only snorting self–expression’’.
As is, ahem,the courtier’s microtonally tuned fart. And the humbler’s
(eaten well prior) white–beans for lunch after the early morning’s quartering
up at Hangman’s Square.
I wasn’t it. He there. Master Magma himself, careful, boy.
Not every musing could keep up concealing the awkward given of the
e–mail reflexive, the e–mail at play, the e–mail confessional, Gödel’s E–mail,
the e–cry,the e–caoine, e–haiku and e–mourn. They’re on the prowl, our
dear anti ‘‘Musing’’ police. Have to be. You couldn’t allow total e–licence to the e–plebs.
O Inner circle, sneak closer. Either a ‘‘Musing ’’ amuses or, in its musing, it bemuses. Either it’s an Uncaused Cause (– but‘‘LOWER CASE, PLEASE’’)
or is eén now causing wryness, a dry throat, reach for red pencil, sure the
man’s mad as a muser? Exhausted WHO is emailing exhaustive whom the following
text: ‘‘This e–message is in love with itself’’?
What makes our homo e–scribens so different, we left the wall–paintings and
Sumerian crúisgín l´an behind a long time ago? Out with it, your cheap
attacks on e–courage! Beat intransivity, slash the e–knot of reflexiveness!
Quod scripsi non really scripsi, true or Gödel–true? Could it be that,
e–quill and e–ink put tranquilly aside, we never, never, never love
unselfishly? Who said you can’t be e–mailing ‘‘In Paradisum’’? Is Paradise my mode of
existence while I mutate into my own e–mail? All changed, changed utterly, I
now am subsumed into whatI´ve actually written. I have become this e–text. Scared?
Naw… My actual existence is virtuality. What is behind my behind,
then? How’ll I have a look?


Music critic Michael Dervan (who has been music critic at the Irish Times since 1986) loves music – but realised as he grew up that Irish composers were often hidden musicians. With his book Invisible Art, he set out to address this. For the book, he commissioned pieces by a range of expert writers about Irish music from 1916 – 2016.

Ireland stands unique among the nations of the world in having a musical instrument, the harp, as its national emblem. Irish musicians of all hues are widely celebrated. Riverdance has been an international phenomenon for two decades. Flautist James Galway and the rock band U2 are known all over the world. Singer Sinéad O’Connor is famous enough for her behaviour on US chat shows to create international headlines. And traditional music is even more widely dispersed than the phenomenon of the Irish pub.

Composing the Island, the September 2016 festival of 27 concerts over 19 days, was a pretty hefty event by any measure. And it was not even designed to celebrate the full history of composition in Ireland, just the works of the last hundred years. There has been nothing quite like it before. Anywhere. Ever.

Yet the tradition of music it salutes has long had in Ireland a Cinderella-like position, an invisibility that can sometimes seem like the airbrushing or photoshopping into non-existence of a major art form.

Composers have felt the slight acutely. ‘I’m a Composer’—‘You’re a What?’ was the title Frank Corcoran gave an essay he contributed to The Crane Bag back in 1982. It was his way of explaining that Irish people simply didn’t see being a composer as a serious or full-time occupation.


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


Irish Composer Frank Corcoran to Attend the Premiere of VARIATIONS ON MYSELF
February 25
?by Music News Desk

Irish Composer Frank Corcoran to Attend the Premiere of VARIATIONS ON MYSELF

Frank Corcoran — the noted Irish composer — will be in New York City to attend the premiere performance of his recently completed chamber orchestra work Variations on Myself .
A founding member of Aosdána – Ireland’s state-sponsored academy of reative artists – Corcoran who was born in Tipperary in 1944 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 th 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 tempo.

The free-admission concert is part of the North/South Consonance concert series, now on its 33rdconsecutive season. It will take place the evening of Tuesday evening March 12. The GRAMMY nominated North/South Chamber Orchestra under the direction of its founder Max
Lifchitz will also premiere four other works especially written for the occasion by composers representing a wide variety of styles. In addition to Corcoran, the other are: Harry Bulow, 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 69thSt – between Broadway and Columbus) on Manhattan’s West Side. Admission is free– no tickets necessary.

For further intormation please visit


NEW YORK in April 2011


Frank Corcoran : Songs of Terror and Love ( Texts from Jacopone Da Todi )

Max Lifchitz, conductor
The North/South Consonance Ensemble
David Sailsberry Fry, Baryton


Haikus in der Kathedrale: Frank Corcoran erhält den Seán Ó Riada Preis 2012
Frank Corcoran erhält den Seán Ó Riada Preis 2012. Foto: Hans-Dieter Grünefeld
(nmz) –
Ein substanzielles Sujet für zeitgenössische Chormusik zu finden, erfordert ein Sensorium für Stimmen und stimmhafte Befindlichkeiten. Zumal in sakraler Umgebung, zumal im katholisch, aber eben auch keltisch geprägten Irland. Da findet Musik manchmal in musikalischen Zwischenwelten statt. So beim Cork International Choral Festival mit dem Seán Ò Riada Composition Competition.


They just went live with the essay on Colony…SEE:!joyceanaesthetics/csdx

Text, audio, manuscripts and photos…..I think it looks, sounds and reads
well….this is a very hip journal and everyone on Dublin in reading this right

Access through CHROME…..NOT Safari

( Ben Dwyer on Frank Corcoran’s music and musicks )


NDR _ Kultur PRISMA MUSIK : Saturday Dec. 3. 20.00 – 22.00

FRANK CORCORAN “listens in ” to


After 22.00 then, Frank Corcoran’s 4. Symphony ( National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland , Cond. C. Pearce )