John Kinsella

Born in Dublin in 1932, John Kinsella balanced two careers until 1988, when he resigned as RTÉ’s Head of Music to devote his time fully to composition.

He  received commissions from, among others, The Irish Chamber Orchestra, Concorde, the Guardian Dublin International Piano Competition, the Arts Council of Wales and RTÉ. The Irish Government commissioned The Wayfarer: Rhapsody on a poem of P.H. Pearse (1979) to mark the centenary of Pearse’s birth, and Kinsella’s 5th Symphony, The 1916 Poets (1991-2) uses the writings of Pearse, Plunkett and MacDonagh.

In December 1999 his Symphony No. 8: Into the new Millennium, featuring three boy soprano soloists, was premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland. An association with the Irish Chamber Orchestra included Kinsella’s string orchestra work Hommage a Clarence in their tour of the new countries joining the European Union and this led to a commission for his Symphony No. 9. The Ulster Orchestra gave a public performance of his Symphony No. 6 and recorded it for broadcast on BBC Radio 3. He completed a commission for a concert marking the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the RTE National Symphony Orchestra in April 2008. He has composed eleven symphonies, a second violin concerto, a cello concerto and a fifth string quartet, and many solo and chamber works.

He was a recipient of the Marten Toonder award in 1979 and a founder member of Aosdána in 1981. His music is recorded on the Chandos and Naxos labels.

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