Norah Walsh Announced as Winner of 2021 Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition

Norah Walsh

Norah Walsh Announced as Winner of 2021 Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition

Winning work 'On A Quiet Day In the Future' to be given its world premiere by Chamber Choir Ireland on 30 April in Cork.

Norah Walsh has been announced as the winner of the 2021 Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition at the Cork International Choral Festival.

Her piece for choir On A Quiet Day In the Future is based on a poem by Peter Sirr and will receive its premiere by Chamber Choir Ireland at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork on 30 April. 

This year is the 50th anniversary of Seán Ó Riada’s death and the Ó Riada family have contributed €1,000 to the competition which Walsh will receive in addition to the premiere opportunity.

Walsh is a Dublin-based composer, musical director, pianist and teacher. Her choral works have been performed by Mellow Tonics, Laetare Vocal Ensemble, TU Chamber Choir and Rathdown Cantori and she works as a musical director and facilitator in community and education projects, and as a choral conductor for a number of television productions. She studied at DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and her lecturers included Jane O’Leary.

Commenting on her win, she said:

I am delighted to be the winner of the Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition, and to be part of this very rich choral tradition that the Cork International Choral Festival represents. I found Peter Sirr’s poem ‘On A Quiet Day In The Future’ to be a thought-provoking and entertaining reflection on some poignant elements of lockdown, and I was inspired to capture in music the sentiments that it evoked for me. A premiere by the superb voices of Chamber Choir Ireland is a hugely exciting prospect – I am very much looking forward to hearing them bring this piece to life!

The judging panel consisted of previous winner Amanda Feery, composer Rhona Clarke, and Artistic Director and Conductor of Chamber Choir Ireland Paul Hillier.

Initiated in 1972, the competition offers a platform for Irish composers. Compositions are submitted under a pseudonym, with the composer’s name not being revealed until after the judges’ decision. Previous winners include Rhona Clarke, Frank Corcoran, Michael Holohan, Marian Ingoldsby, Donal MacErlaine, Simon MacHale, Michael McGlynn, Kevin O’Connell, Amanda Feery, Criostóir Ó Loingsigh, Donal Sarsfield, James May and last year’s winner Peter Leavy.

This year is the 50th anniversary of Seán Ó Riada’s death and the Ó Riada family have contributed an additional €1,000 to the award as well as the premiere opportunity.

For more on the Cork International Choral Festival, visit www.corkchoral.ie.

Published on 12 March 2021

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