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Biography


“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.”   Washington Post

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Biography


“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.”   Washington Post

Brian was born in Belfast. His body of work reflects an obsessive love of music creation in all its forms and includes operas, orchestral works, large-scale oratorios, Installations, film, theatre and dance scores as well as ensemble, solo, chamber works.

He has won a number of awards for his work including a British Composers Award for Opera, BBC Radio 3 Jazz Award for best new work, Major Individual Artist Award (Arts Council of Northern Ireland), the MCPS Joyce Dixey Award for Composition and the Bass Ireland Award.

Brian was the Associate Composer with the Ulster Orchestra for four years (2007 - 2011) and is part- time Professor of Creative Arts at the University of Ulster.


Commissions:

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),

Collaborations:

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 Irvine Ensemble

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).

 

 IN 2009 together with film marker/writer/director JohnMcIlllduff he established the artist-led creative production company  DUMBWORLD 

 

He is rubbish at DIY but excellent at doing Rubics cubes 

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Reviews


 "...some of the most exhilarating and imaginative music you'll ever hope to hear."

SCROLL DOWN

Reviews


 "...some of the most exhilarating and imaginative music you'll ever hope to hear."

“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.” 

Washington Post May 2007 - Stephen Brookes

Click here for full review 

 

Mr. Irvine is a great composer who draws from various sources and streams: Ives or Copland-like Americana to more dissonant European extremes one of the most successful combinations of modern classical and modern jazz without any of those stale third stream cliches that only hard-nosed critics complain… a gem.”

Downbeat Magazine 2011 - Bruce Lee Gallanter 

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"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….the Bath festival audience banged the tables to demand an encore”

The Guardian

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 wondrous… frightening virtuoso deployment of his vast orchestra conjures giddy, Ivesian swirls …a richly textured palette….Praise Aloud the Trees is a triumph, .a work of considerable sonic daring and imagination.”

BBC Music Magazine  06/03/2012

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NEST is innovative, moving, surprising, stirring - epic in both scale and inspiration….This is barnstorming, exuberant music, performed with impressive flair and brio. Irvine's oratorio is a rich, multi-sensory experience"

Irish Times 26/07/2012

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“The evening’s highlight was undoubtedly Brian Irvine’s May Contain Flash Photograph. Funny fast moving and temmingly inventive.”

May Contain Flash Photography - Opera Magazine Sept 2012.
NI Opera at the MAC, Belfast. June 28, 2012

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Brian Irvine’s eccentrically individual music creates a sensitive and sympathetic space in which these operatic characters can find a voice. I don’t think this is 'an opera with a mission' but like all good art, Postcards from Dumbworld can generously transform the unlikeable into the acceptable - and, through its many moments of humour and pathos, maybe provide us with a sensitive little glimpse of whatever heaven is to us."

Culture NI Postcards from Dumbworld 2010

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Northern Ireland’s most colourful and charismatic composer”

BELFAST TELEGRAPH - Postcards from Dumbworld, Grand Opera House, Belfast. Friday 22 October 2012

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 Brian Irvine’s mind is a microcosm of huge energy and chaos, intricately engineered to blow your head off!” 

BBC Music Magazine

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An imaginative, kaleidoscope of contrasting moments that ranged from fragile lyricism to down right anarchy”

THE LIST 23 October 2010 - Postcards from Dumbworld, Grand Opera House.

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