Katie O’Neill

Katie O’Neill


current work

rupture series

inspired by the disruptive organic wall of sound when thunder/storms occur and how the sound versus visual delay plays with our perception of time and distance.

"the dew is falling on your head,
can you feel it
can you see me fall apart"

rupture I

for Tonnta Vocal Ensemble

rupture I features 6 voice pairings (each pair facing one another) and a pre-recorded track of whispers/violin/chord clusters and electronics

18.03.2016 Tonnta Vocal Ensemble, RARITY, Natural History Museum, Dublin (Premiere)

rupture II

rupture II is written for mezzo-soprano and baritone

20.03.2016 Tonnta Vocal Ensemble, FUTURE COMPOSERS, The Chocolate Factory, Dublin (Premiere)

03.05.2017 Tonnta Vocal Ensemble, Kaleidoscope Night, Bello Bar, Dublin

rupture III

rupture III is written for soprano and FX

26.09.2018 Elizabeth Hilliard, For The Voice by the Irish Composers Collective, Bello Bar, Dublin (Premiere)

rupture IV

rupture IV is written for violin, voice and tape

01.02.2019 Éna Brennan, Exploring Electronics by the Irish Composers Collective, Irish Georgian Society, Dublin (Premiere)

Laura Aurora

Laura Aurora

choral music

2017 Phoenix

for Dulciana and Judith Lyons

SSAA – A work in 4 sections
26.06.2017 Dulciana, Freemasons' Hall, Dublin (Premiere)

Poem by Éna Brennan

Absorb the rays and greet the sun
Stained pages ripped out one by one
Shed the damp layers, only the good deserves to stay
Time to take on the lead role of your life, your play

Pen posed to write a new way to behave
React to the reflection of the path you pave
Don’t be afraid to feel out of sorts
But also don’t fear letting someone into your fort

Remind yourself that all seeds grow
When given the love they need and room to sow
With the quick scratch of a match fire is re-born
To burn away the decay and remove the thorn

Outstretched hand from an unexpected place
Cleanses that feeling of self doubt and huge weight
There are those in this wold who deal with far more strife
So I’m introducing colour back into my life

2015 Trip

for Dulciana

Setting of Trip poem for SSAA
09.11.2015 Dulciana, Freemasons' Hall, Dublin (Premiere)

Programme Note

Trip is the first choral piece that I have written for all female voices, as well as the first setting of one of my original texts. The work revolves around observation from a third party of a romantic relationship between two people when they are together and when they part ways.

Poem by Éna Brennan

Luke fell for you as he tripped over that broken part stolen bicycle
Scratched and scrapped both in and out of the bed on a Saturday afternoon
Picking crumbs off of your form-fitting top ten playlists on shuffle for the day
Passing the time, feeling his gaze on the back of your neck, Ready to go out for brunch again

Blue Peter badge pinned proudly to the lapel of your well todo man,
Why wouldn’t you try to catch him if you can.
You fell for him after he tripped over the final hurdle on that
List of things you felt you should only say yes to

Your heart is always jumping out of your chest but you always end up back in his nest

All we are to each other are scars,
Reminders of those who made the world less noisy If only for an instant

A part of you heart is always with them and a part of theirs is with you too

2014 Blackberry Picking

for my mother

for Mixed Choir SSAATTBB
12.07.14 New Dublin Voices, St Ann's Church, Dublin (Premiere)

Programme Note

Blackberry Picking is a setting of Seamus Heaney's poem of the same name, written in 1966. The poem treats the dissatisfaction of obtaining an object of desire. Heaney recalls the annual ritual of plucking copious amounts of berries from their home in the sun and the disintegration of their appeal as nature runs its course and they rot before they can be eaten. Heaney's vocabulary is rich with varying sounds and alliteration, and he uses strong imagery to bring the poem to life. One of the strong comparisons is that of the sticky hands of the blackberry pickers which are likened to the blood-stained hands of Charles Perrault's Bluebeard.

Poem by Seamus Heaney

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

2013 The Lake Isle of Innisfree

for my granny

Setting of the poem by W.B.Yeats (1888)
for Chamber Choir SSAATTBB

01.03.2013 New Music Dublin Festival, Kevin Barry Room, National Concert Hall (Premiere) Recording courtesy of CMC

Soprano Éna Brennan, Sherry Hazlett
Alto Raeghyna Zutshi, Dominica Williams
Tenor Garret Farrell, Seamus Sutton
Bass Robert Blake, Eoghan Desmond

Awards & recognition
C (Commended) Feis Ceoil 2013


I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

2012 Veni Veni Emmanuel

for my mother

A setting of the advent text O Come O Come Emmanuel
for Chamber Choir SSAATTBB

26.12.2012 Demo
Soprano Éna Brennan, Margaret Bridge, Judith Lyons
Alto Dominica Williams
Tenor Raymond Tedders, Emmet Kiberd
Bass Emmet Kiberd, Garret Farrell

2011 L'Étranger (The Stranger)

Setting of the opening poem of Charles Baudelaire's Petits poèmes en prose (1869) for Mixed Choir SSAATTBB and Solo Quartet

02.04.2012 Trinity Singers, Trinity College Chapel, Dublin (Premiere)

2014 Regular performed by Mornington Singers (venues incl. Cork Choral Festival, Cork Florilège Vocal de Tours, France, Pipeworks Festival, Dublin and St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church, Galway).

Included in Under-Song, a 10-track compilation of choral music released in 2017.

Awards & recognition
VHC (Very Highly Commended) Feis Ceoil 2014

Work featured on PROJECT : ENCORE™, a continually expanding database of new, post-premiere choral works endorsed by a panel of professionally renowned conductors intended for use by both composers and conductors.

Poem by Charles Baudelaire

Qui aimes-tu le mieux, homme enigmatique, dis? ton père, ta mère, ta soeur ou ton frère?
Je n'ai ni père, ni mère, ni soeur, ni frère.
Tes amis?
Vous vous servez là d'une parole dont le sens m'est resté jusqu'à ce jour inconnu.
Ta patrie?
J'ignore sous quelle latitude elle est située.
La beauté?
Je l'aimerais volontiers, déesse et immortelle.
Je le hais comme vous haïssez Dieu.
Eh! qu'aimes-tu donc, extraordinaire étranger?
J'aime les nuages... les nuages qui passent... là-bas... là-bas... les merveilleux nuages!


instrumental works

2017 Eurydice Prelude No. 5

instr. violin/percussion
May 2017 Éna Brennan & Alex Petcu, Lutheran Hall, Dublin

Alex and I performed in The Eurydice Project, a theatre production written by Joanna Crawley with music by Jane Deasy.
For this show we played some pre-theatre music that was completely improvised.
One of these went particularly well so Alex transcribed the piece and we performed it again as part of a recital in the Lutheran Hall on Adelaide Road, on Monday May 22nd.

2016 I Sing To You In My Sleep

Tape piece premiered at InSight #3 Slipdraft on Saturday 4th June 2016.

Programme Note

In the month of madness I write to you
In the month of sadness I sing to you in my sleep

The dream world is a safe place where you can either escape or choose to confront your anxieties and deep thoughts. This piece is very much written for the specific environment each audience member will find themselves in on the night; lying in the dark and gazing up at a mesmering lighting installation. It is mostly made up of processed samples of recorded improvisation using a cosmic gong, the violin and my voice.

2015 waves of you

Piece for solo pedal harp and also featuring bowed harp

"waves repeatedly greet the shore line, but no two greetings are ever exactly the same"

Premiered by harpist Clare McCague Concert presented by @the-irish-composers-coll February 28th in Lutheran Hall 2015

2015 sometimes people

instr. flute/clarinet/cello

Short film dir. Bob Gallagher

13.11.2015 ICC Takeover, Irish Architectural Archives, Dublin (Premiere)

2015 murmur

commissioned by Co-Orch
for symphony orchesta

instr. 3[1.2/pic]3[1.2.3Eh]3[1.2.3.bcl]2/332[1.2/btbn]1/timp/str/8offstage vlns
dur. circa 13min

12.11.15 CO-ORCH concert Orchestrating Equality, The Complex, Dublin (Premiere)

Programme Note
murmur was born from an interest in abnormal rhythmic patterns which contrast with the safe and healthy association with the repetition of a constant beat, such as a heart beat. Book ended by contrasting development of a rhythmic cell of material, murmur takes syncopated phrases, abnormal relative to the engrained opening rhythmic sequence, breaks them down and builds up the texture towards a full-bodied and animated close.

2015 and so the branches began to dance

instr. solo fiddle

Work inspired by elements of Irish Traditional Music, and commissioned for solo fiddle player Zoe Conway.

19.05.2015 Strung Series w/Zoe Conway hosted by the Irish Composers Collective, Teachers Club, Dublin (Premiere)

Programme Note

‘and so the branches began to dance’ was inspired by my observations of Zoe’s visceral playing in workshop back in November. This new work takes typical Irish traditional elements and tweaks them slightly. It is structured as a work in two parts forming an arch from sparse ambient harmonics to frantic punchy ornamented rhythms. The piece begins with an Air on harmonics centered around one simple melodic phrase which is transformed as the piece progresses. The texture gradually thickens and leads into the second section where the melodic phrase becomes more playful borrowing from different Irish dance rhythms. As the piece quickens Zoe’s tapping foot also becomes a part of the piece, allowing you to grip on to the abnormal downbeat pattern of 12 12 123 12 123 123 12. Borrowing from the popular key of D major in Irish traditional music, Zoe’s violin is detuned to F#-D-A-D to allow for increased resonance of the open strings in this very special venue.

2014 Miniature

instr. 2v/vla/carr. v/vla/c/db

03.02.2014 Kevin Barry room, NCH, Dublin (Premiere)
27.04.2014 CMC Salon Series, Kevin Barry room, NCH, Dublin

Violin Anita Vedres
Viola Robin Panter
Cello Kate Ellis
Double Bass Malachy Robinson

Awards & recognition VHC (Very Highly Commended) Feis Ceoil 2014

2013 Come and Go

instr. 2violin/cello/3actors

Work based on Samuel Beckett's dramaticule of the same name, written in 1965.
The work aims to create an instrumental rhetoric, which parallels the interactions of Flo, Vi and Ru.

08.04.2013 MPhil Grad Show, Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin (Premiere)

Violin I Ioana Petcu-Colan (Avalon Ensemble)
Cello Gerald Peregrine (Avalon Ensemble)

Flo Siobhra Quinlan
Vi Jane Deasy
Ru Éna Brennan [also Violin II]

2013 Two works for solo violin

dur. cira 4min
19.06.2013 Kevin Barry room, NCH, Dublin (Premiere)

2013 Nighttime Cadenza

Concerto for solo Trumpet & String Orchestra instr. solo trumpet/oboe/clarinet/trumpet/trombone/violin/viola/cello [*offstage]
dur. circa 15min (full concerto currently unperformed)

I. Dawn
II. Night Time
III. Beyond

07/07/2013 II. Night Time, SEE|HEAR, The Back Loft, Dublin (Premiere)
Recording by Rob Kearns

Nighttime Cadenza is a section of a larger work in progress for Solo Trumpet, String Orchestra and offstage Wind and Brass. It is taken from the second movement of the work and portrays an interpretation of the role of a cadenza within a concerto. Following the First movement played by only the Trumpet and String Orchestra, the Trumpet takes center stage playing short melodic passages that are echoed and embellished by the Oboe, Clarinet and Trombone, peering down from the balcony above. The phrases continue to length throughout the piece, resulting in the Trumpet stuck on loop like a broken record.

Trumpet - Eoghan Cooke
Oboe - Conor Cavanagh
Clarinet - Shane Kenrick
Trombone - Colin Jermyn

2013 The Big Shave

instr. flute/oboe/clarinet/bassoon/3perc/violinI.II./viola/cello/doublebass
dur. circa 3min (currently unperformed)

Re-scoring of the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese's infamous short film The Big Shave (1967)
Original soundtrack: I Can't Get Started by Bunny Berigan

2012 Ô Capitale Infâme!

instr. symphony orchestra & choir SSAATTBB
dur. circa 20min

Ô Capitale Infâme! is a mini-symphony for orchestra and choir in five movements based on the Épilogue of Charles Baudelaire's 'Petits Poèmes en Prose'. The final poem of this collection, originally named Le Spleen de Paris, depicts Baudelaire’s love for the city of Paris through debauched description. Each of the five movements treats the subject matter of the five verses and the piece comes to a close with the choir singing the whole text.

I. Le Coeur Content Andante – Agitato – Tempo Primo
II. Patron de ma Détresse Lento – Allegretto - Andante
III. Enivré de l’Enorme Catin Giocoso – Grave
IV. Lourdes, Obscures, Enrhumée Grave
V. Épilogue Grave – Agitato – Lento – Grave

18.01.2013 Performance with Trinity Orchestra and Trinity Singers at Exhibitions in Moxie Studios, Dublin (Premiere)
Recorded by Rob Kearns with visuals by LeTissier


Le cœur content, je suis monté sur la montagne
D’où l’on peut contempler la ville en son ampleur,
Hôpital, lupanars, purgatoire, enfer, bagne,

Où toute énormité fleurit comme une fleur.
Tu sais bien, ô Satan, patron de ma détresse,
Que je n’allais pas là pour répandre un vain pleur;

Mais comme un vieux paillard d’une vieille maîtresse,
Je voulais m’enivrer de l’énorme catin
Dont le charme infernal me rajeunit sans cesse.

Que tu dormes encor dans les draps du matin,
Lourde, obscure, enrhumée, ou que tu te pavanes
Dans les voiles du soir passementés d’or fin,

Je t’aime, ô capitale infâme ! Courtisanes
Et bandits, tels souvent vous offrez des plaisirs
Que ne comprennent pas les vulgaires profanes


My heart content, I ascend the mountain
From which one can contemplate the city in all its amplitude,
Hospital, brothel, purgatory, hell, prison,

Where all enormities flourish like a flower.
You well know, oh Satan, patron of my distress,
That I did not go there to shed a vain tear;

But like an old lecher with his old mistress,
I wanted to get drunk on that enormous harlot
Whose infernal charm ceaselessly rejuvenates me.

But like an old lecher with his old mistress,
I wanted to get drunk on that enormous harlot
Whose infernal charm ceaselessly rejuvenates me.

I love you, oh infamous capital! Courtesans,
And bandits - to such you often offer pleasures
That the vulgar herd does not understand.


Violin 1 Carla White, Cillian O'Breachain, Tessa McKenna, Ksenija Zaporozceva, Eamonn Bell, Lisa Boyle, Michael McCrohan, Orla O'Rourke, James O'Doherty, Laura Morley, Laura Greene, Camille NiArgain and Nora Moroney.
Violin 2 Orla Daly, Naoise Dack, Olivia Brown, Anna Keary, Cathy O'Neill, Sophie Lee, Eve Kelly, Caroline Richards, Ciara Corrigan, Bebhinn Sheil and Mick Crosse.
Viola Michael Whelan, Caitriona Sheil, David Wilkins, Aoife Loy, Laura Dungan, Sarah Sarsfield, Eve Roseingrave, Niall Cosgrave, Conor Larney and James O'Leary.
Cello Seraphim Dempsey, Matt Rafter, Meadhbh O'Rourke, Ronan Denyer, Ella Hasset, Clare Joy and Roisin Phelan.
Double Bass Colin Mealey and Sarah Jaeger.
Harp Deirdre NicChárthaigh.
Flute Damien Thomson, Aedín Donnelly, Maeve Johnston and Dervla Ni Flionn.
Oboe Seamus Sutton and Sadhbh Abbey.
Clarinet Francesca Fitzpatrick and Alex Daudet.
Bassoon Eoin Silke.
Horn Hannah Miller and Sean Dexter.
Trumpet Patrick Goodliffe, Steven Scramuzzo and Eoghan Cooke.
Trombone Colin Jermyn.
Percussion Brian Dungan.


Soprano Siobhra Quinlan, Aisling Barrett, Roisin Whelan and Raeghnya Zutshi
Alto Dominica Williams, Kayla Flynn, Alison Morrisoe and Judith Lyons
Tenor Emmet Kiberd, Mark O'Donnell, Robbie Blake and Garret Farrell
Bass Robbie Kitt, Daniel Cummins, Robbie Kitt, Jack Hurley, Alex Ryan and Eoghan Desmond