• Brian Irvine

    Brian Irvine

    Composer Biography


    Composer Brian Irvine was born in Belfast. His huge body of work reflects an obsessive love of music creation in all its forms and includes operas, orchestral works, large-scale participatory work, films, multi-media installations, dance works as well as ensemble, solo, and chamber pieces.

    His music is a highly personal concoction of contemporary classical, punk, improvisation, jazz, thrash, trash, cartoon and people and often takes the form of giant super structures - as in the head on collision of two symphony orchestras, improvising choir and two conductors in the study of madness that is Praise aloud the trees (collaboration with Seamus Heaney) or the 7 day performance installation for 3000 collected objects, symphony orchestra, community choir, intervention performers and soloists in Nest (the Northern Ireland Artists Taking The lead commission for the London 2012 Olympics) or the layering of 500 singing children, symphony orchestra, live shadow puppet animation and narrator in Bluebottle or Montana Strange the 50 minute homage to filmmaker David lynch for symphony orchestra, his own 12 piece ensemble, turntables, two conductors and free improviser - Paul Dunmall.

    In 2015 he was named as the recipient of the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Composers Award and became the first Music Laureate for the City of Belfast. He was also Associate Composer with the Ulster Orchestra (2008-2012) and Professor of Creative Arts at the University of Ulster (2011- 2015).

    He has won a number of awards including British Composer Award for Stage Works (Welsh National Opera commission: The Tailors Daughter), BBC Radio 3 Jazz Award for best new work: Interrupting Cutler, MCPS Joyce Dixey Award, Major Individual Artist Award (Arts Council of Northern Ireland), the Irish Allianz Arts and Business Award (Shelter me from the rain).

  • Shortlisted 2016
    Category Chamber ensemble
    Work 13 Vices

    About this work

    This unique work is the result of a collaboration between two of the UK and Ireland’s most dynamic compositional voices.

    Written for ensemble, improvisers, conductor and voice it explores the weird, humorous, dark and exotic world of contemporary vices - the bad habits, the guilty pleasures, beloved deadly sins, the inane and profound proclivities we all share.

    Melting the boundaries between disciplines it dominates the space that lies somewhere between Jazz, contemporary classical, theatre, free improvisation, opera, conduction, poetry, thrash and trash!

    Commissioned by Moving on Music funded by PRS for Music Foundation’s Beyond Borders and the Irish Arts Councils N-S touring fund, 13 Vices is for string trio, free improvising jazz trio (double bass, percussion, tenor db. soprano saxophone) vocalist and conductor. It received its UK premiere at The MAC, St Anne’s Square, Belfast on 7 April 2015.

    To watch a trailer of the performance CLICK HERE


 Listen to an extract of this work:
 13 Vices