I am an experimental composer and performer from Ireland. I write music for acoustic instruments, electronic instruments, environmental sounds, and people doing things in performance not involving any instruments at all. For the most part, my practice is involved with the act of translating non-musical things into music and using projected text in performance. I mostly work with conventional notation and text notation. Over the years I have become particularly interested in collaborations, and music as a devised process. My music is often long, repetitive, and contains sustained tones, but it can also be short and fragmented. My work has been performed by lots of nice people as far west as Denver, Colorado, and as far east as Beijing, China. I also have a performance duo with Andy Ingamells that explores the collaborative process through a kind of visual musique concrète arising from the images of performance situations. I am a senior lecturer in music, and BMus composition coordinator at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in the UK.
Dublin born composer Seán Clancy’s (b. 1984) music has been described as ‘equal part sacred, seductive and superficial’ (Tempo), and as ‘exploring the tensions between found and original material, narrative and rupture, elite and vernacular values, and between innovation and intervention’ (Journal of Music). His work deals translation and examining minimal amounts of material over extended periods of time (sometimes with projected text). Recently he has been exploring this process by performing on synthesizers, often collaborating with other soloists and ensembles.
Over the past number of years Seán has been a recipient of a 2022 Commonwealth Games commission (with Michael Wolters) (2022), PRSF Beyond Boarders Award (with Andy Ingamells) (2019), a Culture Ireland GB18 Award (2018), been composer in association with Workers Union Ensemble (2015/16), an artist in residence at the Moog Soundlab (2015 and 2018), composer in residence at EMS Elektronmusikstudion Stockholm (2014), BCMG/SAM Composer in Residence (2010-2012), and a recipient of an RTÉ Lyric FM/IMRO Composition Bursary (2012). Additionally, he has been a featured composer for the bicentenary of the Royal Academy of Music (2022), Listenpony concert series (2022), the Kirkos Biosphere festival (2020) the BBC Radio 3 Open Ear Series (2018), the New Music Dublin Festival (2017), Composing the Island Festival, Dublin (2016) MATA Festival, New York (2016), Beijing Modern Music Festival (2016), RTÉ NSO Music of Our Time Series (2016), New Dots Series, London (2016), Culture Night, Ireland (2015) David Lang’s ‘What?… Wow Festival of Music’ (2015), Soundings at the Austrian Cultural Forum (2015), the RTÉ NSO Horizons Series (2014), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (2013), Quatuor Bozzini Composers’ Kitchen (2013), Ergodos Printing House Festival (2007), Birmingham’s Frontiers Festival (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2011, 2010), and CODA Festival (2018, 2019, 2020) also in Birmingham.
Seán is fortunate to have been commissioned and performed by many fantastic ensembles and artists from around the world. He has developed particularly close ties with the RTÉ NSO, BCMG, Quatuor Bozzini, Crash Ensemble, RTÉ Contempo Quartet, Ensemble KROCK, Workers Union Ensemble, Orkest de Ereprijs, Decibel, Fidelio Trio, Thallein Ensemble, and Dublin Guitar Quartet. In the past number of years, he has also worked with soloists Susan Narucki, and Garth Knox, as well as collaborating with conductors Alan Pierson, Richard Baker, Gavin Moloney, Clement Power, Ben Oliver, Daniele Rosina, Dan Watson, and Ciaran Crilly. Most recently, he has undertaken a number of duo projects with composer/performer Andy Ingamells, and he has also undertaken a number of projects with Rock/Electronic musicians Katie Kim, Thomas Parkes, Simon Goff, and has appeared in support of Matana Roberts & Kelly Jayne Jones. He has received support from organisations such as the PRSF, the Britten Pears-Foundation, Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust, Sound & Music, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, The Arts Council of Ireland, IMRO, and Culture Ireland. He has been broadcast on amongst others: WNYC (USA), WFMT Chicago (USA), RTÉ Lyric FM (Ireland), BBC Radio 3 (UK), Dublin Digital Radio (Ireland), KXRY Portland (USA) and Klassika Raadio (Estonia). His first recording Forty Five Minutes of Music on the Subject of Football was released by Birmingham Record Company in 2015 (Distributed by NMC in 2019). This was followed by other releases including an Ornamental Light Glows Beneath the Tinted Window in 2017 (SLC), Small, Far Away (SLC), and Salt Interventions (with Katie Kim and Crash Ensemble) (Katie Kim) in 2018, ireland england (SLC), and then you… in 2019 (SLC), name pieces (SLC) in 2020, and Inventions and Canons (SLC) in 2021. He also appeared on the compilations Crashlands (Crash Records) and 101 Beats Per Minute II (Countersunk) both released in 2019, and We Continue On Our Journey Through The Universe (Tusk) in 2021.
Seán received his PhD from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, where he is now a Senior Lecturer in Composition and BMus composition coordinator, and he holds degrees from King’s College London, University College Dublin, and the Ecole Nationale de Musique. Principle teachers have included Joe Cutler, Philippe Leroux, and Howard Skempton (alongside informal studies with Gerald Barry and David Lang). He is represented by the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland.
More information, scores, and recordings available from The CMC.
Seán Clancy on Twitter
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Page