Episode #3

Donnacha Dennehy: Composing With Frequency

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Donnacha Dennehy Donnacha Dennehy (Sophie Dennehy)

Donnacha Dennehy is an Irish composer who thought he was going to study with spectral icon Gérard Grisey in Paris. When he showed up, however, it was apparent that Grisey had accepted him into his study under the mistaken notion that he was not, in fact, a gentleman but a lady.

A bit put off by Grisey's visible disappointment with his gender, as well as the strikingly uninteresting uniformity in the style of his students work, Donnacha headed to Amsterdam, where he met Louis Andriessen, who changed his life. Donnacha's music fuses the old (sean-nós and other Irish styles) and the new (just intonation, pulse-based textures) to create something all his own. It's a music that is at once satisfying and supremely strange.


Lisa Moore, Alan Pierson, Dawn Upshaw and Iarla Ó Lionáird

Hosted by:

Nadia Sirota

Produced by:

Alexander Overington

Donnacha Dennehy: I. "Mine is not the standard childhood"

Donnacha Dennehy played the tin whistle in grade school and began composing sonatas. But upon turning ten years old, he met Karheinz Stockhausen—and everything changed.


Donnacha Dennehy: II. Grisey, Andrissen and Gender Confusion

Dennehy's attempt to study with French spectral composer Gérard Grisey didn't turn out as planned. Enter Dutch post-minimalist Louis Andriessen. 


Donnacha Dennehy: III. Irish Upon a Star

Dennehy's music is beautifully influenced by the written word. Featured here are settings of W.B. Yeats poems, and his groundbreaking Grá agus Bás.

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Donnacha Dennehy: Playlist

The complete breakdown of all the music used for scoring and illustration in Meet the Composer's episode three – Donnacha Dennehy: Composing with Frequency.


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