Professorial Staff - Lecturer in Composition
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Faculty of Music
King Charles Court
Old Royal Naval College
Tel: +44 (0)20 8305 4444
"A charismatic voice in new music"- The Guardian.
Deirdre was born in Belfast. Her orchestral work Unity of Being opened the ‘UK with NY’ Festival in New York City after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and was featured in the New York Times. Her ground breaking violin concerto Venus Blazing was directed by Lou Stein and lit by Bruce Springsteen’s lighting designer Jeff Ravitz. It toured major concert venues throughout the UK, selling out at London’s South Bank. This work lent its name to Trinity Laban’s Celebration of Women Composers and was played by Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra in 2019.
BBC Radio 3 commissioned her work Goliath for percussion, lambeg drums and orchestra, featuring soloist Colin Currie. Her piano concerto, The Binding of the Years, commissioned by RTÉ, was premiered by Finghin Collins and RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland. It was also performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Ulster Orchestras and was broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
Deirdre has embraced collaborative practice examining especially the juxtaposition between drama and music. Her second opera, Crossing the Sea, commissioned by Wilton’s Music Hall, featured mime, dance and film. Richard Morrison in The Times wrote:
“…if she writes another opera as haunting as this, she and we will be lucky.”
Deirdre has written extensively for radio, including music for BBC Radio Drama Productions starring Patrick Stewart and Benedict Cumberbatch. Her solo cello and video work, Reflected Glory was a recipient of the PRS Women in Music award and premiered at Huddersfield Festival. She has written the score for the Sky Pictures feature film My Kingdom, starring Richard Harris, which was nominated for a Screen International Award.
Collaboration with artist Esther Teichmann resulted in Fulmine, a piece for video and live quartet show at Transformer (Ohio), Flowers Gallery (London) and in Paris in 2019.
Deirdre has extended her collaborative interests to the world of science and health. She was a Leverhulme Artist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, resulting in Hearing Your Genes Evolve. This was premiered by The Smith Quartet at Cutty Sark, London and recorded by Isenberg Quartet, Germany. She was featured on the BBC’s Woman’s Hour talking about genetics and music and was a Keynote Speaker at EU Innovative Convention, Brussels at the request of the President of the EU. She is also featured in the Festival of Ideas, Sanger Institute and The Turing Institute for Mathematics. Her music featured in the documentary The Dark Gene and was shortlisted for the 2016 Berlinale Documentary Film Prize.
Her dance work Invitation to a Journey commissioned by CoisCéim Dance and Crash Ensemble was premiered at Galway International Festival and Project Arts in Dublin. Her music is available on the NMC and lyric FM labels. In 2019 her work has been performed in New Zealand, Germany, New York, San Francisco and India.
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
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
Northern Ireland Science Festival Keynote Hearing your Genes Evolve
Panel discussion on music commissioning Music at Focus Festival, Lincoln Center New York
Turing Institute Cambridge, Maths and Music Keynote: ‘Form and Deformation in Art’
Cambridge Festival of Ideas Keynote: ‘Understanding our DNA through music’
University of Toronto Keynote: Music in heath settings and palliative care
EU Innovations Convention Keynote: Making sense of DNA through music
Juilliard School of Music New York Keynote: The British Renaissance Festival
Women’s Hour BBC Radio 4 / BBC World Service feature on women and music
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