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Jennifer Walshe: Biography

“Without a doubt, hers is the most original compositional voice to emerge in Ireland in the last 20 years.”

-- Michael Dervan, The Irish Times

Jennifer Walshe was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1974. She studied composition with John Maxwell Geddes at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Kevin Volans in Dublin and graduated from Northwestern University, Chicago, with a doctoral degree in composition in June 2002. Her chief teachers at Northwestern were Amnon Wolman and Michael Pisaro. In 2003-2004 Jennifer was a fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart; during 2004-2005 she lived in Berlin as a guest of the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm. From 2006 to 2008 she is the composer-in-residence in South Dublin County for In Context 3. In 2007 she was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York. In 2008 she was awarded the Praetorius Music Prize for Composition by the Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur. She is currently Reader in Music at Brunel University, London. She lives in London and Co. Roscommon, Ireland.

Jennifer’s work has been performed and broadcast all over the world by ensembles such as Alter Ego, ensemble récherche, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Orchestra Sinfonica del Teatro La Fenice, Ensemble Resonanz, Apartment House, ensemble Intégrales, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, Schlagquartett Köln, Crash Ensemble, Con Tempo Quartet, ensemble ascolta, Champ d’Action, ensemble laboratorium, ensemble surplus, trio nexus, the Rilke Ensemble, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the Irish Youth Wind Ensemble, Bozzini Quartet, Callino Quartet, Ensemble 2000, Concorde, Kaleidoscop, Black Hair, Continuum, Ensemble Musica Nova, ensemble chronophonie, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Wind Quintet, the Hebrides Ensemble, Psappha, and Q-02 among others. She has received commissions from organizations including Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ), Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), Sudwest Rundfunk (SWR), the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, Darmstadt, Maerzmusik, Musik der Jahrhundert, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Dresdener Tage der zeitgenössischen Musik, Wien Modern, the Dresden Semper Oper, ZKM (Karslruhe), the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Crash Ensemble, the Project Arts Centre and the National Concert Hall, Ireland, as well as commission awards from the New Music Scheme of the Arts Council of Ireland and the Scottish Arts Council. In 2003-04 Jennifer was composer-in-residence at the National Sculpture Factory, Cork. In 2000 Jennifer won the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis at the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt, and received first prize in the SCI/ASCAP 2002 Commission Competition. In July 2002 she returned to Darmstadt to lecture in composition at the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik. Her work been in a room and a room and a room and a room was shortlisted for the 2003 Gaudeamus Foundation composition prize; moving in/love songs/city front garden with old men was shortlisted for the 2002 Gaudeamus Foundation composition prize.

In addition to her activities as a composer, Jennifer frequently performs as a vocalist, specialising in extended techniques. Many of her recent compositions were commissioned for her voice in conjunction with other instruments, and her works have been performed by her and others at festivals such as RTÉ Living Music (Dublin), Båstad Kammarmusik Festival (Sweden), Ultraschall (Berlin), Transit (Leuven), Ars Musica (Brussels), Ultima (Norway), Borealis (Norway), Steirischer Herbst, Wien Modern, Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, Donaueschinger Musiktagen, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Late Music Festival (York), Hamburger Klangwerktage, Gaida (Lithuania), BMIC Cutting Edge, Composer’s Choice (Dublin), SoundField (Chicago) the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik Darmstadt, Stockholm New Music, BELEF (Belgrade), Traiettorie (Parma), Cut & Splice (London), Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), SPOR (Denmark), Frau Musica Nova (Cologne), Performa (New York), Electric Eclectics (Canada), Reihe 0 (Austria) and Music at the Anthology (New York). Jennifer is also active as an improviser, performing regularly with musicians in Europe and the U.S., and in her duo Ma La Pert with Tony Conrad.

Recent projects of note include Grúpat, a project in which Walshe assumed nine different alter egos - all members of art collective Grúpat - and created compositions, installations, graphic scores, films, photography, sculptures and fashion under these alter egos. Pieces by Grúpat members have been performed and exhibited all over the world, most notably at the Dublin Electronic Arts Festival; Kilkenny Arts Festival; the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; New Langton Arts, San Francisco; Tmu-na Theater, Tel Aviv and Festival Rümlingen, Switzerland. In 2009 Grúpat were the feature of a major retrospective at the Project Arts Centre, Dublin, which coincided with the launch the book Grúpat by Project Press and the release of two CDs featuring Jennifer’s music. In 2010 Walshe’s fourth opera The Geometry was premiered at The Chocolate Factory, New York, and new works by members of Grúpat were shown at a solo exhibition titled NO IRISH NEED APPLY at Chelsea Art Museum New York. A CD featuring Walshe’s works for solo voice titled nature data was released on Interval Recordings.

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