Frank Corcoran

irish composer

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At Seventy“
ist als Hommage an das reiche Schaffen seines langjährigen Freundes konzipiert und für Musikliebhaber in englischer Sprache im Selbstverlag aufgelegt.

Für seine Komposition ” Joycepeak Music ” wurde der in Hamburg lebende Frank Corcoran vom WDR ausgezeichnet.

Mit dem Untertitel „Old And New – An Irish Composer Invents Himself” blicken in der Buchausgabe mehrere Autoren und auch der Komponist selbst auf sein musikalisch ereignisreiches Leben zurück.
Wunderschöne Gemälde, die bei jährlichen Aufenthalten in Italien entstanden, zieren die Umschlagseiten des Bandes.

At Seventy, Selbstverlag Grünefeld, Geverdesstr. 19, 23554 Lübeck, 116 Seiten, 24,95 Euro (+ 5 Euro Versand),
Irland Information, Frankfurt, Tel.: 069-66 800 950,,


I’d be very grateful if you could kindly add the following below to my Member’s Entry ; after ” Commissions include ….

Many and summery thanks now, Frank Corcoran .

CELLO CONCERTO ( Dublin 2015 . NSOI, conductor Kenneth Montgomery, soloist Martin Johnson ) .

QUASI UNA STORIA for String Orchestra ( New York 2015. North South Consonance, conductor Max Lifchitz ) .

8 IRISH DUETS for Cello and Piano ( Orvieto 2015. Martin Johnson, cello, and Fergal Caulfield, piano ) .


What‘s it like to be Frank Corcoran?

CMC-Interview 2004

1. How and when did you get interested in composing?

Frank Corcoran: A seven year old lad: my first piano-lesson with kindly Sister Francis at Borrisokane Convent. I wanted to re-compose sections of The Rosebud Waltz. I was then studying intensively — and intensly.

2. Is composing your ‘day job’ or do you do something else as well?

F.C.: I am a music professor at Hamburg’s Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Theater (‘day-job’). However, when the Cúchulainn warp-spasms get me with a new composition, I work a day and night also at that.

3. Where do you mostly get your ideas?

F.C.: Triggers of the past: poor Mad Sweeny (turned biography and breakfast — of cress and pure, cold water — into art); a poem (Rosenstock, John Barth, medieval Irish lyrics, etc.); a scaffolding (rondo as rosary-beads, etc.); an obscure form (e.g. exploding tonal shell or mine, etc.); out of the living air…

4. What are you working on the moment?

F.C.: Tradurre-Tradire: electro-acoustic with many voices, commission of Deutschland Radio Berlin for 2 July 2004 premiere. Hope to begin a strange new work for orchestra straight after that. Obscure longings…

5. Describe your typical working day.

F.C.: As with Brahms and other Viennese, the best ideas come very early, by first light; are worked and whittled and soldered at any available hour of the not song enough day.

6. What is it like hearing a new piece played for the first time?

F.C.: My Platonic Form becomes Sounding Flesh. No (even excellent) performance ever is that form. But it is my sounding embodiment of it. like so many other (I do hope) composers, i must also respect good musicians’ wishes: a nuance here, a wood-wind phrasing there. The past greats were always humble about having occasionally to watch the weight of their orchestration. Me too…

7. What has been the highlight of your career so far?

F.C.: The premiere in Vienna (luminous 1981) of my Symphony of Symphonies of Wind (O.R.F. Symphony Orchestra — glorious wind-sounds — conducted by Lothar Zagrosek).

8. What has been the lowlight of your career so far?

F.C.: When the then RTÉ Symphony Orchestra (it wasn’t their fault; the repeat performance was great!) premiered my Two Meditations on (texts by) John Barth in, I think, 1973-ish in the Francis Xavier Hall, Dublin. My work for speaker and orchestra sounded (Oh technology!) as a work for orchestra without speaker. Next time, I was on the alert.

9. What is your greatest ambition?

F.C.: To keep the courage up; moral, artistic courage. To go out on the edge. With new work in difference genres, e.g. my present, new Tradurre-Tradire, ‘How to translate her scream’.

10. Which musician in history do you most admire and why?

F.C.: Of the many candidates, today it’s Schubert. In his death-year, he knew how he would syphiliticallly end. He continued to the last to produce high masterpieces, music of the highest order and, I’ll say it again, courage.

11. Which present-day musician do you most admire and why?

F.C.: Ligeti, my former colleague at Hamburg, is still living. Late Boulez: works, e.g. Sur incises, continue to stretch him and us. Lutoslawski up to the end, a high heroism.

12. Which period of history would you most like to have lived in and why?

F.C.: I’ll stay put in today. In spite of the most vicious neo-con anti-art wind known to man.

13. What is the best thing about being a composer?

F.C.: I can’t let up a new work, being, gives me relief from the creative, itching obsession.

14. What is the worst thing about being a composer?

F.C.: My fellow-Irish have not yet (will they?) accepted music as an art on a par with Irish literture, Irish painting, etc. I include fellow Irish artists — especially my Aosdána colleagues — intelletuals, cultural philosophers, pun-poets and princes, powerful potentates. Is this fear of Irish art-music, Irish composers, genetic? Education – induced? Very strange for a ‘European’ nation. Very.

15. If you weren’t a composer, what other career might you have chosen?

F.C.: A thinker, tinker, philosopher, theological traveller.

16. What is your concept of heaven?

F.C.: Please email Dante…

17. What is your concept of hell?

F.C.: Please email Richard Perle and other U.S. neo-con think-tankers.

18. What is your favorite food?

F.C.: Cannelloni cooked in any village in Umbria, Lazio or Chianti. Also well-composed Irish Stew (Where’ll I get it?).

19. If someone gave you three months off with unlimited travel and living expenses, what would you do?

F.C.: Month 1: Skelling Rock, composer’s camp for one. Month 2: An Umbrian village I’m keeping nameless, cannelloni, and accompaniments to lave the soul’s ear. Month 3: Mount Athos with paper and pencil (shouldn’t be too hot or waterless).

20. If you could have one thing in the world that would really help you as a composer, what ould it be?

F.C.: Change places — for a pleasant while — with eighteenth-century Joseph Haydn. I, too, would enjoy his Duke’s orchestral generosity.



Clarinet Concerto ( New York 2019, North South Chamber Orchestra, cond. Max Lifchitz, soloist Sammy Lesnick ),

String Quartet ( Dublin Festival of New Music 2019, RTE Con Tempo Quartet ),

Music Currents Festival Dublin . April 10. 2019 . Frank Corcoran Retrospective ( SWEENEY’S VISION , WDR 1997, it

won the 1999 Bourges Festival premier prix; QUASI UNA MISSA , WDR 1999 , it won the 2000 Swedish Ems Prize );

TRADURRE TRADIRE 2001 DeutschlandRadio ).

Hot Dialogues for Piano and Viola ( Orvieto 2018, Pratoleva Duo ), Piano Trio ( Bolsena 2017 , Pratoleva Trio ) .


Die Synaesthesie hat bei beiden,Malern wie Komponisten,in Europa,wenigstens seit Mussorgsky ´s “Bilder einer Ausstellung”,eine hervorgehobene Bedeutung.

Farben und Töne sind häufig näher beieinander,als wir erwarten.Man denkt an Klee und Kandinsky auf der einen Seite und Skriabin und Messiaen auf der anderen.

Titel wie “Der gelbe Klang” (Kandinsky 1909) oder “Couleurs De la Cite Cèleste (Messiaen 1919),erzählen ihre eigene Geschichte.

2014 hörte der Hamburger Maler Heinz Gellrich die 2.te Symphonie des irischen Komponisten

Frank Corcoran.

Während vieler Monate im Jahr 2015 malte er das zentrale Bild,das später zum “Corcoran Tryptichon” erweitert werden sollte.

Er “übersetzte” tiefe,ozeanische Töne und Linien und Rhytmen des ersten Satzes der Symphonie in seine eigene abstrakte Komposition,mit eigenerTextur,Dichtigkeit und Bewegung.
In diesem Konzert (Veranstaltung?) präsentieren die beiden Künstler ihre zwei Kunstformen mit ihren beiden Werken.

Corinna Meyer-Esche(sopran) und Jennifer Hymer (Klavier) illustrieren musikalisch.


Frank Corcoran schafft in seinem elektroakustischen Werk ein Beziehungsgeflecht der Bedeutungen und

Missdeutungen. (Deutschlandradio / Bettina Straub)

Das Wortspiel und Sprichwort “Tradurre – Tradire” will sagen: “Übersetzen bedeutet Verrat, Betrug”.
Frank Corcoran setzt sich in seiner Komposition ganz wörtlich mit diesem Grundproblem jeder sprachlichen Übersetzung und Vermittlung auseinander.

Anhand eines kurzen gälischen Gedichts des irischen Poeten Gabriel Rosenstock und dessen englischer und deutscher Übersetzung schafft Corcoran in seinem elektroakustischen Werk ein Beziehungsgeflecht der Bedeutungen und Missdeutungen.

Die polyphone Klangkomposition für vier Stimmen führt den aufmerksamen Hörer in philosophische Abgründe.
Mit: Maulwerker

Ton und Technik: Folkmar Hein, Elektonisches Studio der TU Berlin

Produktion: DLR Berlin 2004

Länge: 24’01

Frank Corcoran, 1944 in Tipperary/Irland geboren, ist Komponist für Kammermusik, Symphonien, Chor- und elektroakustische Werke.

Zahlreiche Preise. Er lebt in Italien und Hamburg.


Why, oh why, a last Vesuvio Sonnet ?
They’re flowing like lava down my mountain-side.
What molten rocks have got inside my bonnet
To want to stanch the flow of words broadside ?

This volcano fever , these pictures of burning woe,
His sea of pitch and bitumen, tephra , ash,
Mr. Dante made into sadism, slow.
He fed it hot to swine that love their mash.

My Catholic world, your Hell is bleak, pure terror.
God’s all-knowing, male . ( He makes no error… )
How reconcile good saints, so meek and mild ?

Vesuvio’s deep with horrors and with anguish.
Its lost souls howl and yowl , forever languish
In brimstone storm, in seismic yawings wild.


Join this trinity of Irish musicians and composers for an alternative St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Chapter Arts Centre.

This event is delivered in partnership with The Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland, and CMC’s Linda O’Shea Farren will MC the event and interview composers and performers.

Internationally esteemed composer and virtuoso guitarist Benjamin Dwyer, composer and voice & electronics artist Jenn Kirby and flautist Emma Coulthard present an exciting collection of contemporary music that reflects the extraordinary diversity and richness of output from the island of Ireland. Ranging from a new incantation for St. Patrick to the witnessing of the ancient Sheela-na-gig, this music will challenge definitions and present a fresh perspective of contemporary music from Ireland.

£10 (£7 conc) to include post-concert wine reception hosted by CMC Ireland
Age 14+

Emma Coulthard, flute
Frank Corcoran One Minute for St Patrick (world premiere)
Fergus Johnston Planxty
John McLachlan Filament I (world premiere)
Benjamin Dwyer Crow
John Buckley les oiseaux rèvent dans les arbres (UK premiere)

CMC Composer’s Voice: Linda O’Shea Farren talks to flautist Emma Coulthard and composer John McLachlan

Jenn Kirby, voice/electronics
Jenn Kirby The Phonetics Project
Jenn Kirby Take a Trip

CMC Composer’s Voice: Linda O’Shea Farren talks to composer performer Jenn Kirby

*** Short Break ***

Benjamin Dwyer, guitar
Benjamin Dwyer Ètude No. 1 ‘Relentless’
John McLachlan Sympathetic Strings (UK premiere)
Benjamin Dwyer Ètude No. 6 ‘African Print’
Benjamin Dwyer from KnowingUnknowing

(with Emma Coulthard, flute)
Benjamin Dwyer HAG from SacrumProfanum (world premiere)

CMC Composer’s Voice: Linda O’Shea Farren talks to composer performer Benjamin Dwyer

*** Please join us for a post-concert wine reception hosted by CMC Ireland ***

Benjamin Dwyer on his new work HAG:

HAG from SacrumProfanum

SacrumProfanum is work-in-progress that explores the enigmatic stone carvings found all over Ireland (and in parts of Britain) known as Sheela-na-gigs. I have spent the last ten years travelling across these lands studying, photographing and sketching these mysterious figures. It is clear to me that this abject though mysterious figure, because of her very complexity, has an extraordinary associative power. What could she represent as witness to Ireland’s unfolding political, religious and social histories?

I have thus tried to create music exploring themes such as feminism, colonialism, identity, religion, symbol, rite, sexuality and the disintegration of Gaelic culture. In a score that combines contemporary music interfacing with traditional Irish forms, instruments and sean-nós singing, SacrumProfanum explores these themes through raw, visceral, often abject music.

HAG is perhaps the most abject of all the works in SacrumProfanum. Composed for amplified flute and bowed guitar, it takes on the role of the Sheela-na-gig, or the HAG, as she has often been called. She’s an underdog to fight for; she’s a defiant hag that rejects colonial narratives; while she’s a witness that shows her scars of damage, she also rebelliously spits back in the faces of her oppressors; disrupting dominant notions of beauty and feminine grace, she is an ‘ugly’ feminist that asserts her sexual agency and defiantly returns the gaze of the male uncomfortably back at him.

Chapter Arts
Market Road, Canton
Venue Contact Info
Chapter Arts
Emma Coulthard’s Planxty(2018)
Fergus Johnston
Flute (preferably with sliding head joint) and electronics (2/4 channel)
7 min
Filament I(2014)
John McLachlan
5 min
Benjamin Dwyer
Recorder and tape
13 min
Jenn Kirby
Jenn Kirby(b. 1987)

Jenn Kirby is a composer, based in Dublin. She composes both acoustic and electronic contemporary works.



> Il Maestro Frank Corcoran e i Solisti della National Symphony Orchestra of
> Ireland protagonisti, il 14 luglio, dell’evento dedicato alla musica
> classica irlandese e italiana

> “Le sue note sono capaci d’evocare i paesaggi da sogno dell’Isola di
> Smeraldo, mondi arcaici che si sposano a magiche epopee”, così alcuni
> critici hanno descritto la musica del compositore irlandese Frank Corcoran.
> Dopo il successo dell’esibizione nel luglio dello scorso anno, il Maestro
> Corcoran torna al Ridotto del Teatro Mancinelli di Orvieto per presentare un
> particolare evento dedicato alla musica classica irlandese e italiana. In
> programma, sabato 14 luglio alle ore 21, il CONCERTO DI DUBLINO.
> Adele Govier (prima viola della National Simphony Orchestra di Dublino) e il
> pianista R.T.E. Fergal Caulfield presentano un programma misto per viola e
> pianoforte con opere italiane e irlandesi, tra cui Puccini, Esposito e la
> prima dell’opera del Maestro Corcoran dal titolo “Hot Dialogues” per viola e
> pianoforte. Lo stesso Maestro Corcoran partecipa al concerto introducendo le
> opere e i musicisti, in questo appuntamento che si annuncia come imperdibile
> evento per gli amanti della musica classica.
> Questo il programma della serata:
> Lili Boulanger (1893-1918) “Nocturne” per Viola & Piano (1911)
> Frank Corcoran “Hot Dialogues” (2017 – 3 Movements) prima esecuzione
> assoluta
> Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) “Foglio d’Album” (c.1910?)
> Chris Corcoran “Deep Blue Windows” (2018) per Viola e Pianoforte – prima
> esecuzione assoluta
> Luciano Berio “Wasserklavier” (1965) per Pianoforte Solo
> Petr Eben (1929-2007) Fantasia sopra “Rorate Coeli” (1982) per Pianoforte
> Solo
> Michele Esposito (1855-1929) “Tramonto ” per solo Piano, Op.61 No.3 (1912)
> George Enescu(1881-1955) “Konzertstueck” per Viola e Pianoforte (1906)
> Da molti anni il Maestro Corcoran organizza il Concerto di Dublino
> coinvolgendo alcuni dei suoi amici musicisti della National Symphony
> Orchestra di Dublino.
> Quest’anno, oltre al concerto in programma il 14 luglio al Mancinelli, viene
> presentato anche un secondo concerto a Bolsena, nel Piccolo Teatro Cavour,
> il 15 luglio alle ore 18.
> Una grande occasione, dunque, per ascoltare uno dei massimi compositori
> contemporanei che ha scelto la nostra terra per lavorare e trovare
> l’ispirazione necessaria per la composizione.
> Frank Corcoran è nato nel 1944 a Tipperary, in Irlanda. Ha studiato a
> Maynooth, Dublino, Roma e Berlino (con Boris Blacher). Insegna ad Amburgo
> dal 1983, ed è stato Fulbright Professor negli Stati Uniti nel 1989-1990. I
> suoi lavori sono stati eseguiti e trasmessi regolarmente in Europa, Stati
> Uniti, Australia e Asia. È stato premiato con numerosi riconoscimenti
> internazionali per la sua opera, tra i quali il Premier Prix del Bourges
> Festival nel 1999 con Sweeney’s Vision; l’EMS Prize a Stoccolma nel 2002 con
> Quasi Una Missa; il Cork International Festival nel 2012 con Two Unholy
> Haikus; e il First Prize dell’International Foundation for Choral Music con
> Eight Haikus.
> Tra le opere più recenti si segnala: Cello Concerto (2015, Dublino); Quasi
> Una Storia for String Orchestra (2015, New York); Eight Haikus (2013,
> Manila); Violin Concerto (2012, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland);
> Quasi una Sarabanda (2011, Basilea, Zurigo, Berna); Song of Terror and Love
> (2011, New York).
> Frank Corcoran è un membro dell’Accademia delle Arti di Irlanda. Vive e
> lavora nella campagna di Bagnoregio da circa 10 anni.
> La discografia completa è disponibile sul sito
> Il Concerto di Dublino – Ridotto del Teatro Mancinelli sabato 14 luglio ore
> 21
> Ingresso euro 12 – Ridotto Soci TEMA euro 10
> I biglietti del concerto saranno venduti sabato 14 luglio, a partire dalle
> ore 19, al botteghino del Teatro Mancinelli di Orvieto.