About Brian Irvine


Brian was born in Belfast. His body of work reflects an obsessive love of music creation in all its forms and includes operas, orchestral works, large-scale oratorios, installations, film, theatre and dance scores as well as ensemble, solo, chamber works. His music is a highly personal concoction of punk, improvisation and contemporary classical – difficult to describe – this how others have described it…

“…Some of the most exhilarating and imaginative music you’ll ever hope to hear……musical play in the highest sense: exuberant, spontaneous and irresistibly alive.”
Washington Post

“…a great composer who draws from various sources and streams: Ives or Copland-like Americana to more dissonant European extremes one of the most successful combinations of modern classical and modern jazz without any of those stale third stream cliches that only hard-nosed critics complain… a gem.”
Downbeat Magazine

“…an animated musical experience, full of frenetic time changes, fearsome collisions, and instant recoveries, wild excesses, and tender reveries……exquisite.”
The Guardian

“…his mind is a microcosm of huge energy and chaos, intricately engineered to blow your head off!”
BBC Music Magazine

He has been commissioned by many international orchestras, opera companies, theatres and has toured extensively with his own 12 piece ensemble. He has won a number of awards for his music including – British Composers Award for Opera  and the BBC Radio 3 Jazz Award. His Junk opera Postcards from Dumbworld  was shortlisted for the Irish Times Opera Award (2011) and his BBC Radio 3 commission Secret Cinema was nominated for a BBC Radio 3 Listeners Award (2011). Rain Falling Up was also shortlisted for a British Composers Award (2012).

 “Exhilarating stuff…. Brian Irvine’s body of work is an example of the musical treasures half hidden in the cracks between the categories…. smart music in a culture that often over rewards the dumb and/or the well connected… the Bath festival audience banged the tables to demand an encore”
The Guardian