Dying is a Wild Night

Composer: Emma O'Halloran (b. 1985)
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Composer: Emma O'Halloran (b. 1985)

Performance date: 05/07/2019

Venue: Bantry Library

Composition Year: 2017

Duration: 00:09:05

Recording Engineer: Ciaran Cullen, RTÉ

Instrumentation: 2vn, va, vc

Instrumentation Category:String Quartet

Artists: Quatuor Zaïde (David Haroutunian [violin], Leslie Boulin Raulet [violin] Sarah Chenaf [viola] Juliette Salmona [cello]) - [quartet]

Quatuor Zaïde 

David Haroutunian, Leslie Boulin Raulet [violins] 

Sarah Chenaf [viola], Juliette Salmona [cello] 

Emma O’Halloran [born 1985] 

Dying is a Wild Night [2017] 

The title comes from an Emily Dickinson quote “Dying is a wild night and a new road”…and in a way, the piece is a reflection on mortality. I wrote this piece almost a year after my sister, Lisa, took critically ill, and had to undergo emergency surgery to save her life. The road to recovery was a long and challenging one, both mentally and physically, and we spoke on the phone almost every day, discussing the highs and lows of her journey. Every member of my family was changed by this event, and it made me appreciate the simple joy of just being alive. I tried to capture that for Lisa. 

This work began to take form in 2017 as part of the West Cork Chamber Music Composition Competition. It subsequently underwent substantial revision and became something entirely different. I’m delighted that it gets to return to Bantry for its Irish premiere as part of the 2019 Festival. 

Emma O’Halloran is an Irish composer who is crafting a career centered around representation: creating music that makes any listener feel seen. Freely intertwining acoustic and electronic music, she has written for folk musicians, chamber ensembles, turntables, laptop orchestra, symphony orchestra, film, and theatre. For her efforts, O’Halloran has been praised by I Care If You Listen editor-in-chief Amanda Cook for writing some of the most unencumbered, authentic, and joyful music that I have heard in recent years, and has won numerous competitions, including National Sawdust’s inaugural Hildegard competition and the Next Generation award from Beth Morrison Projects. 

O’Halloran is a founding member of the Kinds of Kings collective, a group of six female composers described by The New Yorker as distinguished young creators who work in diverse styles. As part of Kinds of Kings, she not only produces immersive and inclusive work, but is developing a mentorship infrastructure for composers in under-heard and under-represented demographics. Raised in Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Emma currently spends her time between New Jersey and New York City. 

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