Michael Gallen | Composer


Michael Gallen


Michael Gallen (b.1986) is an Irish composer, writer and performer. Having been brought up primarily with Irish traditional and folk music, he later pursued studies in composition and multidisciplinary performance creation in Paris, and is most comfortable meandering at the borders of different musical forms.

His work has been performed by several leading Irish and international ensembles including Crash Ensemble, Contempo Quartet, Chamber Choir Ireland and Le Balcon. Works of note include Wilde Stories, a suite for the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and Cór na nÓg responding to Oscar Wilde's fairy tales; What You Forget a large-scale choral work commissioned for the Ireland 2016 project and Session, a co-creation with dance artists Colin Dunne and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui which toured across the main stages of Europe in 2019/20, including an Irish premiere at the Abbey Theatre. A new operatic work by Michael Gallen entitled Elsewhere, based on the story of the 1919 Monaghan Asylum Soviet, has been in development throughout 2019, supported by Arts Council Ireland, Creative Monaghan, the Abbey Theatre, the Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris and the Opéra de Rouen Normandie. The project is a co-production between French ensemble Miroirs Étendus and new Irish opera company Straymaker, of which Michael is Artistic Director.

Michael’s operatic oeuvre to date includes Extraterrestrial Events,which premiered in Paris and Dublin in 2017, and Caligari, a live video-opera work commissioned by Opera Theatre Company and Electric Picnic in 2018. Michael’s work featured in the National Concert Hall's "Composing the Island" series in 2016. He has been involved in several critically-acclaimed collaborations with dance and theatre, including the award-winning TARDIGRADE (w. Company Philip Connaughton) and Age of Transition (w. Aoife McAtamney) which premiered at the Abbey Theatre in 2016. Michael was a recipient of an Arts Council Next Generation Award in 2019, an Opera Bursary Award in 2018 the Dublin City Music Bursary in 2017.

He has been awarded residencies at Le Centre Culturel Irlandais, Cill Rialaig, DCC Albert Cottages and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. Michael was the 2016/17 Artist In Residence at the Trinity Long Room Hub. In 2022 he will be Artist In Residence at La Brèche Festival in Savoie, composing three new works for the festival. Michael’s work as a documentary-maker includes Vocal Chords, a series made with singer Iarla Ó Lionaird which won Gold Medal at the 2016 New York Radio Awards. He is the lead vocalist and songwriter with Irish band Ana Gog and performs as a solo pianist under the moniker Sudden Wells

September 2020

Image credit Laura Sheeran