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Professor Deirdre Gribbin

Professor in Composition


Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Faculty of Music
King Charles Court
Old Royal Naval College
SE10 9JF

Tel: +44 (0)20 8305 4444


"A charismatic voice in new music"

- The Guardian.
Deirdre Gribbin


Deirdre Gribbin is an Irish composer, whose work has been described as “astonishingly accomplished” and “pure magic” and “so powerfully expressive that it communicates its meaning instantly” by Richard Morrison in The Times, for her Aldeburgh produced opera “Hey Persephone!” which won The Arts Foundation Award for Opera, and Northern Arts Outstanding Artist Award. She was appointed as External Output Assessor for the Research Excellent Framework; REF 2020-22.

‘Hearing Your Genes Evolve’ for string quartet featuring in a Filmtank Production, ‘The Dark Gene’ was nominated for a Berlinale Film Festival Documentary Prize. Other awards include the Chester Schirmer Fulbright Fellowship, UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers Award for my orchestral work ‘Empire States’, a Leverhulme Fellowship, a Sir Winston Churchill Fellowship, a Leverhulme Artist-in-Residence at MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, a PRS Women Make Music Award for ‘Reflected Glory’, a Major Individual Artist Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and a PRS Composers’ Award in 2020. Her music has been recorded by Crash Ensemble and for a new film about genetics available on ‘’

Her orchestral work was recorded for the lyric fm label ‘Irish Composers Series’ and her chamber music CD, ‘Island People’ was recorded for NMC. Richard Whitehouse in Gramophone wrote “the chamber domain seems ideally suited to her often inward and intimate manner of expression…it traverses a wide emotional range …a release that is cordially recommended to Gribbin admirers and newcomers alike.”

A Contemporary Music Network Tour of ‘Venus Blazing’ her violin concerto featured stage direction by Lou Stein and lighting by Bruce Springsteen’s designer Jeff Ravitz. The Guardian wrote that the composer is “A charismatic voice in new music”.

Her orchestral work has been commissioned and performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, The Philharmonia, Northern Sinfonia, Danish Radio Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, and Saarbrucken Radio Orchestra.  In 2001 her orchestral work ‘Unity of Being’ commissioned by The Ulster Orchestra opened the ‘UK with NY’ Festival in New York City after the terrorist attack of 9/11.

She is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast and Guildhall School of Music, London. She received her doctorate from the University of London.  She subsequently was a Visiting Arts Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Deirdre has always been interested in the juxtaposition of drama and concert music. Her second opera, ‘Crossing the Sea’, premiered at Wilton’s Music Hall in 2008. She has written extensively for radio, including music for BBC Drama productions of ‘Embers’ starring Patrick Stewart and ‘The Possessed’ starring Benedict Cumberbatch.  Her piece for solo cello, ‘Reflected Glory’ was a recipient of the PRS Woman in Music award and premiered at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. She has written the score for the feature film ‘My Kingdom’ which starred Richard Harris and was nominated for a Screen International Award.

In 2019 her two new piano trios ‘After the Eagle and ‘Did you see and Angel Also?’ were premiered by the Amatis Trio for BBC Radio 3.  In 2020 ‘Grieving Eelphants’ was broadcast on Radio 3 by The BBC Singers as part of International Women’s Day She was featured at ‘Focus Festival’ New York, in New Zealand, Hong Kong, San Francisco and, with Patricia Rosario, in Mumbai. She has just finished 3 songs in the Irish language for The Irish Songbook Collection, which was published by The Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland. ‘Dark Matter Hunting’ was premiered by The Pacifica Quartet and will be performed by The Doric quartet in 2022. ‘Kindersang’ will be performed at New York’s Lincoln Center in 2022 and Centre Irlandais, Paris in 2023.

Qualifications and Educational Background

Chester Schirmer Fulbright Fellow Princeton University, USA

Doctor of Philosophy Royal Holloway, University of London
Postgraduate Diploma in Composition Royal Danish Academy of Music
MMus Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Bachelor of Music Queen’s University, Belfast



Soul Outsider, Irish Museum of Modern Art and National Gallery, London 2022.


From Flesh to Data, Benyounes Quartet, Wellcome, Sanger November 10th, 2021.
Angfa Virga, Finghin Collins (piano), Wigmore Hall July 21st 2021.
Dark Matter Hunting, Pacifica Quartet, Bloomington USA, June 25th, 2021.
Provoked City, Crash Ensemble, New Music Dublin, Livestream, April 25th, 2021.
Scattered Earth, Michelle O Rourke, (soprano) Richard Allen, (harp), New Music Dublin, Livestream, April 23rd, 2021.


Unseen, Sarah Cahill (piano), Livestream from Huddersfield Festival of Contemporary Music, October 30th, 2020.
Dark Matter Hunting, Doric Quartet, Wigmore Hall London July 2nd, 2020 postponed due to Covid until April 2022.
Kindersang, Amanda Boyd (soprano), Emily Daggett Smith (violin), New York Public Library, Lincoln Center New York, April 14th, 2020 postponed until November 2022
Seven Ages of Women, (BBC Singers), St Peter’s Eaton Square, 27th February.
E1027, Crash Ensemble, Imagining Ireland, Barbican Hall February 21st, 2020.
Venus Blazing, Lana Trotovsek (violin) Ulster Orchestra, January 10th, 2020.


To Bathe Her Body in Whiteness, Plural Ensemble, National Auditorium Madrid, November 12th, 2019.
How to Make the Water Sound, Juilliard Ensemble, NY, November 12th, 2019.
Island People, Patricia Rosario (soprano) Con Brio Festival, India August 2019.
Did you see an angel also? Julius Drake (piano), Priya Mitchell (violin), Natalie Clein (cello), Middle Temple, London, April 7th, 2019.
After the Eagle, Amatis Trio, (piano trio) Harty Room Belfast, March 1st, 2019.
Hearing Your Genes Evolve, Benyounes Quartet, Northern Ireland Science Festival, SARC Belfast February 14th, 2019.
Venus Blazing, Lana Trotovsek (violin) Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra, Blackheath Halls, London February 8th, 2019.
Merrow Sang, Argus Quartet, Sharp Theater, New York, 31st January 2019.
The Binding of the Years, Finghin Collins (piano), Ulster Orchestra, January 8th,

After the Eagle The Amatis Trio for Belfast Music Society BBC Radio 3

Kindersang for West Cork Chamber Music Festival

Invitation to a Journey – a music theatre work about architect and designer Eileen Gray for Crash Ensemble, CoisCéim Dance and Fishamble Theatre Company

Hearing Your Genes Evolve – Filmtank Productions

Documentary The Dark Gene – worldwide cinematic release January 2015

Bird Forest – interactive video device at Holland Bloorview Hospital Toronto

Hearing Your Genes Evolve premiered at The Cutty Sark London

The Binding of the Years – Piano Concerto BBC Symphony Orchestra

Island People – CD featuring poems by Seamus Heaney released on NMC label

‘Irish Composers Series’ CD Gribbin Orchestral Lyric fm label

Public Engagement

February 2019
Northern Ireland Science Festival Keynote Hearing your Genes Evolve

January 2019
Panel discussion on music commissioning Music at Focus Festival, Lincoln Center New York

December 2018
Turing Institute Cambridge, Maths and Music Keynote: ‘Form and Deformation in Art’

October 2015
Cambridge Festival of Ideas Keynote: ‘Understanding our DNA through music’

July 2014
University of Toronto Keynote: Music in heath settings and palliative care

March 2014
EU Innovations Convention Keynote: Making sense of DNA through music

January 2013
Juilliard School of Music New York Keynote: The British Renaissance Festival

April 2012
Women’s Hour BBC Radio 4 / BBC World Service feature on women and music


External Appointments

Currently serving on the ISCM British Section Board.

Deirdre was Artistic Director of the Society for the Promotion of New Music spnm from 2003-5 programming at Tate Liverpool and National Film Theatre.

First Composition Fellow at Trinity College of Music in September 2003.

From 2001-3 Deirdre was Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Fulbright fellow at Princeton USA 2000

Artistic Director of the Society for the Promotion of New Music for the 2003-5 Season.

Northern Arts Composing Fellow 1997-2000

Doctorate from University of London



PRS award for Kindersang

Leverhulme Overseas Fellowship: To create music for interactive video devices at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Toronto, Canada

Sir Winston Churchill Fellowship Award: Exploring self-advocacy through the Arts for young adults with intellectual disabilities

Leverhulme Artist in Residence at The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology Cambridge: To compose Hearing Your Genes Evolve, string quartet based on DNA

PRS Foundation Women Make Music: Reflected Glory for cello. Costume designed by Alex Ruth, video production Chris Schmidt, directed by Lou Stein

UNESCO Rostrum of Composers: Orchestral finalist for Empire States

Northern Arts Composer Award for excellence.

Arts Foundation Award: Achievement in Opera Hey Persephone! commissioned by Aldeburgh and Almeida Festivals