Listen & Watch

Omar Zatriqi


Omar Zatriqi (1987 – ) is a composer from Northern Ireland. He studied composition under Piers Hellawell and Simon Mawhinney at Queen’s University Belfast, achieving a BMus (First Class Honours), MA, and PhD. Omar’s music has been performed, workshopped, and critiqued by many musicians, including composer Judith Weir, the Ulster Orchestra, Psappha New Music Ensemble, Hard Rain Soloist Ensemble, Royal String Quartet, Fidelio Trio, Lawson Trio, and clarinettist Robert Plane. His opera Science won a Director’s Choice Award as part of Boston Metro Opera’s 2013 International Composers’ Competition, while his instrumental quintet Fata Morgana won the 2018 Peter Rosser Composition Award.

Winner of our 2018 West Cork Chamber Music Festival Composition Competition, Omar Zatriqi’s Key Chain is Premiering at our 2 July Town Concert, performed by the Halcyon Quartet

Key Chain is an eight-minute composition for string quartet. The title refers to the work’s underlying harmonic language, which is based on the continuous transformation of the diatonic scale (i.e. the seven pitches in a musical key). By designing a harmonic foundation from a vast chain of different keys, a form of music emerges that is rich in colour and diverse in character. Throughout the opening section, thunderous torrents gradually relent to gentler sustained sonorities. Ensuing passages introduce quivering motifs that evolve into brilliant trembling waves, while subsequent combinations of sliding and heaving gestures exhibit an almost organic identity. In contrast, the penultimate section conveys a mechanical quality that derives from regimented plucking and strumming. Although strange scratching/tapping noises pervade the concluding passages, their cacophonous presence diminishes as the opening torrents re-emerge. However, an explosive “exclamation mark” ultimately breaks the key chain.

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