Discovering the Music of Brian Irvine

Friday, 5 July, 2019
Brian Irvine Composer

Brian Irvine is a Belfast-born composer who incorporates a number of musical styles into his works, ranging from jazz and blues to contemporary classical.

Alongside opera, Irvine’s output includes, amongst others, orchestral works, large-scale oratorios, film scores, installations and chamber music. Irvine started his musical career during his teens by playing in punk bands with friends and remembers attending a concert in the Ulster Hall by the iconic blues guitarist, Rory Gallagher as a life changing moment.

Brian is passionate about participatory music creation and the ability for this kind of work to bring people closer together. He has worked alongside community choirs, paramilitaries and ex-prisoners with the belief that anyone can contribute to a project with high artistic ambition.

Discover more about Brian’s compositions below:

  • Things We Throw Away (2014): ‘Drive by Shooting’

Irvine composed five-short operas in collaboration with John McIlduff, inspired by life on the streets of Dublin. Things We Throw Away was performed in over forty different locations throughout the streets of Dublin and Belfast, and recently, ‘Drive by Shooting’ was redesigned into a graffiti style, animated projection that was broadcast onto the walls of an urban city.

  • Praise Aloud the Trees (2012)

Irvine has collaborated with a number of renowned artists including the late poet, Seamus Heaney, on a project for double orchestra and choir, Praise Aloud the Trees, commissioned by BBC Radio 3.

  • 13 Vices (2015)

Another collaboration, this time with vocalist Jennifer Walshe produced 13 Vices, which incorporates composed and improvised music along with spoken words and singing. The work is loosely inspired by Mihail Chemiakin’s (1943- ) Children are the victims of adult vices, a series of grotesque sculptures located in a park down the road from the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia.

  • Rain Falling Up (2010) & Bluebottle (2014)

Irvine’s interest in large stage works has produced two children oratorios, Rain Falling Up and Bluebottle. The latter was met with critical acclaim during its run on the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre stage with over 500 children and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra participating.

  • Horn Ok Please (2006)

Irvine is also a film composer who has created music for a number of short films. Horn Ok Please is one that follows a day in the life of an Indian taxi-man named Lucky as he tries to earn enough money to buy the taxi of his dreams. Irvine has also composed music for short film operas like To Do List (2010) and feature films such as Behold the Lamb (2011).