Apply for Composer Lab with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra

David Fennessy

Apply for Composer Lab with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra

Opportunity for four composers to write for full symphony orchestra.

The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the Contemporary Music Centre are seeking applications for Composer Lab.

Composer Lab, a pilot initiative for 2016, is aimed at composers who have had their work performed professionally but who have not yet had it performed by a professional symphony orchestra. Composers must be registered with the Contemporary Music Centre. There is no age limit for entry. 

Composer Lab aims to provide a creative environment for up to four composers who wish to deepen their understanding of writing for a full symphony orchestra. The initiative will be led by composer David Fennessy who will have a mentoring role. Hennessy is an experienced composer, now published by Universal Edition. Two of his works, This is how it feels (Another Bolero) and Bodies, were commissioned by RTÉ and premiered by the RTÉ NSO.

With a current work-in-progress by the composers as a starting point, the process will involve a one-to-one mentoring session with Fennessy; a public workshop in April with Fennessy, the RTÉ NSO and conductor Gavin Maloney; and, following a revision period, a public performance on 16 May 2016 by the RTÉ NSO and Maloney at the National Concert Hall.

Fennessy commented:

There’s nothing quite as exciting, or indeed daunting for a composer, as having 60, 70 or 80 highly trained musicians sitting on a stage waiting and wanting to play your music. I am thrilled to be a part of this new initiative which I hope can go some way to dispel those anxieties about tackling such large forces. I’m looking forward to working in a creative and collaborative way with the composers and the players as they explore what it means to make new music for the symphony orchestra in the 21st century.

Participating composers will be selected on the basis of a submission, which should include examples of previous work. Participating composers may apply for CMC travel bursaries in respect of travel within the island of Ireland. The closing date is Tuesday 22 December 2015 at 5pm.

For more, visit

Published on 8 December 2015

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