- 12 Mar 21
Norah's composition was chosen by the members of the judging panel; previous winner Amanda Feery, composer Rhona Clarke and Paul Hillier, Artistic Director and Conductor of CCI.
As the winner, her piece 'On A Quiet Day In the Future' will receive its world premiere in the spectacular setting of St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral Cork on Friday, April 30th at 8pm.
The performance will be part of Chamber Choir Ireland’s annual collaborative concert, the Festival’s choir-in-residence. Broadcast online this year, it promises to be a riveting evening of stunning song.
Composer, musical director, pianist and teacher Norah Walsh holds a first-class honours BMus in Composition from the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, where she studied under Jane O’Leary.
Norah’s choral works have been performed by the likes of Mellow Tonics, Laetare Vocal Ensemble, TU Chamber Choir and Rathdown Cantori, amongst others. Recent vocal commissions include Inception Horizon and the short opera Beneath Iseult’s Tower. Her instrumental works have been performed in Ireland and Europe by soloists and ensembles including Duo Sincronia, the Dublin and Delmaine String Quartets and instrumentalists from the RTE National Symphony and Concert Orchestras.
Norah’s compositions are acoustic drawing from classical, popular, jazz and traditional Irish genres. Norah also enjoys working as a musical director and facilitator in many community and education projects, including the Forget Me Nots and St. James’ Hospital MISA choirs, and as a choral conductor for a number of television productions.
“I am delighted to be the winner of the Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition, and to be part of this very rich choral tradition that the Cork International Choral Festival represents," Norah said of her win.
"I found Peter Sirr's poem 'On A Quiet Day In The Future' to be a thought-provoking and entertaining reflection on some poignant elements of lockdown, and I was inspired to capture in music the sentiments that it evoked for me. A premiere by the superb voices of Chamber Choir Ireland is a hugely exciting prospect – I am very much looking forward to hearing them bring this piece to life!"
2021 is the 50th anniversary of Seán Ó Riada’s death and to mark this milestone the O’Riada family have kindly awarded €1,000 this year to accompany the prize of a world premiere opportunity.
Initiated in 1972, the present format of the Seán Ó Riada Competition offers a platform for Irish composers to have their work judged and rewarded purely on its own merits without the judges being influenced by the reputation or status of the composer. All compositions are submitted under a pseudonym, with the author’s real name not being revealed until after the judges’ decision has been made.
The competition has attracted the attention of many highly-regarded composers, with past winners including Solfa Carlisle, Rhona Clarke, Patrick Connolly, Frank Corcoran, Séamas de Barra, Eoghan Desmond, Michael Holohan, Marian Ingoldsby, Donal MacErlaine, Simon MacHale, Michael McGlynn, Kevin O’Connell, Amanda Feery, Criostóir Ó Loingsigh, Donal Sarsfield, James May and last year’s winner Peter Leavy.
With nearly 200 compositions being submitted in the past nine years of the new format, the Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition highlights the number of composers now working and living in Ireland.
Further details will be announced in the coming weeks on this year’s reimagined Cork International Choral Festival. The event is due to begin on Wednesday, April 28th and will end on Sunday, May 2nd.