Some of the most exhilarating and imaginative music you'll ever hope to hear…… musical play in the highest sense: exuberant, spontaneous and irresistibly alive.”
Born in Belfast Brian's body of work reflects an obsessive love of music creation in all its forms and includes operas, orchestral works, large-scale participatory work, oratorios, installations, film, theatre, dance scores as well as ensemble, solo and chamber works. His music is a highly personal concoction of contemporary classical, improvisation, punk, film and people.
He has been commissioned by many international orchestras, opera companies, performers, theatres, festivals and has toured extensively with his own 12 piece ensemble. He was Associate Composer with the Ulster Orchestra 2008-2012, Professor of Creative Arts at University of Ulster (2010-present) and recently became the first Music Laureate for the City of Belfast. He is co-artistic director of Dumbworld - a multi disciplinary arts production company he formed in 2009 with writer/director/producer John McIllduff.
His awards include: British Academy of Composers and Songwriters Award for Best New Opera/Stage Work (Welsh National Opera commission - The Tailors Daughter), MCPS Joyce Dixey Composition Prize, BBC Radio 3 Jazz Award (for best new work - Interrupting Cutler) and the 2011 Allianz Arts Award (best use of music in the community for the participatory opera: Shelter Me From The Rain) His Junk opera Postcards from Dumbworld was shortlisted for the Irish Times Opera Award (2011) and his orchestral dance piece Secret Cinema was nominated for the BBC Radio 3 Listeners Award. The orchestral children's oratorio Rain Falling Up was shortlisted for a British Composers Award in 2012. In 2011 he was awarded an MBE for services to music.
".Exhilarating stuff….Brian Irvine’s body of work is an example of the musical treasures half hidden in the cracks between the categories….smart music in a culture that often over rewards the dumb and/or the well connected"
Together with his own ensemble (BBC Radio 3 Music Award winners) he has toured extensively throughout USA, Russia, France, Portugal, Germany, Scotland, Malta, Cyrus, Poland, Scotland, Ireland, England, Belgium, and the Netherlands and has appeared at some of the world’s leading international music festivals/venues including several appearances at the Bath International Music Festival (UK), Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank (London, UK), Gulbenkian Institute (Portugal), Washington National Library of Congress (USA), Ouest Nord Ouest Festival, (France), Glasgow International Festival (UK), Kościół Św. Jana, Gdańsk (Poland), Festival d'été de Valence (France), Festival Sous les Pommiers, (France) Homecoming Festival (Russia), Dublin Festival (Ireland), Moving on Music Festival (UK), Sonorities Festival of New Music (UK) and The International House of Music (Moscow, Russia).
Brian has been commissioned by: Welsh National Opera (Wales), Scottish Chamber Orchestra (Scotland), Northern Sinfonia (England), RTE National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland), Valle d'Aosta Symphony Orchestra (Italy), Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra of Chicago (USA), BBC Concert Orchestra (England), Ulster Orchestra (N. Ireland), Irish Chamber Orchestra (Ireland), National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (UK), Scottish Ballet (Scotland), Wexford Festival Opera (Ireland), London 2012 Olympics Festival (UK), 4-mality Percussion Ensemble (UK),
BBC Radio 3 (UK), Channel Four (UK), Northern Ireland Opera (UK), Red Note Ensemble (UK), RTE National Concert Orchestra (Ireland), Isabelle O’Connor (piano, Ireland), Homecoming Festival (Moscow, Russia), British Council (UK), Opera Theatre Company (Ireland), Sharmanka Kenetic Theatre Company (Russia}, Maiden Voyage Dance Company (UK), Echo Echo Dance Company (UK), British Council (UK), COMA (England), Bath International Music Festival (England), Music Network (Ireland),
The Roald Dahl Foundation (UK), Ulster Youth Orchestra (Ireland), Wide Open Opera (Ireland), Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music (UK), Glasgow International Jazz Festival (UK), The Sage, Gateshead (England), Lyric Theatre (Ireland), Carlow County Council (Ireland), BBC Radio 4 (UK), Live Music Now (UK), South Asian Youth Orchestra (UK), National Jazz Orchestra of Great Britain (UK) and National Youth Choir of Great Britain UK),
Much of Brian's output has involved close collaborations with artists and performers from many varied disciplines these have included - Seamus Heaney (poet, Ireland), Cy Twombly (artist, USA), Keiji Haino (guitar, Japan), Joanna Macgregor (piano, UK), Jari Nemenin (filmmaker/director, Finland), Joel Simon (producer/director/animator, UK), LAU (BBC Folk Award Winners, UK), David Holmes (producer/composer/DJ, UK),
Paul Dunmall (saxophone/reeds/bagpipes, UK), Isabelle O’Connor (piano, USA), John McIllduff (filmmaker/director, UK), Darragh Morgan (violin, UK), Geraoid Mclaughlin (poet, Ireland), Eduard Bersudsky (sculptor, Russia),
Keith Tippet (piano, UK), Steve Noble (turntables, UK), Matthew Bourne (piano, UK), Joe Morris (electric guitar, USA), John McCluskey (animator, Ireland), Paul Rogers (bass, France), Owen McCafferty (writer, UK), Billy Leftford (poet, UK), John Binias (writer, UK), Billy Jenkins (guitar, UK).
Brian is a passionate believer in the values associated with creative engagement and has collaborated and created work with adults in in care, amateurs, young offenders, ex paramilataries, prisoners, professionals, unemployed, residential care homes, blind, deaf and autistic adults and children, primary, secondary, third level students, professional orchestras, bankers, choirs, alzheimer groups all over Ireland,UK, Europe, USA and Russia.