In 2011, Irish composer Ciaran Hope was appointed the first YOPs Orchestra Composer in Residence. The highly involved residency has provided an opportunity to collaborate with Kitty and YOPs over several years to create, rehearse, premiere, and in some cases record new orchestra compositions.
“I feel privileged to have the opportunity to compose for this enthusiastic group of performers!” Ciaran told us. “The concepts for the music I’ve like to write have been in my thoughts for a while, and I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to finally realize the music with the orchestras.”
After completing an Msc in both Composition and Engineering at Trinity College, Ciaran attended UCLA to study film composition on a Fulbright Scholarship. As a composer, he has been the recipient of awards such as the IMRO prize at the RTE Musician of the Future, the International Solstice Composition Prize, a National Training Commission for Film and Television Bursary, Arts Council of Ireland Postgraduate Awards and his music was a finalist at the 2012 Park City Film Music Festival, the International Clarinet Association Composition Contest and the International Song for Peace Contest, while his work on the Hollywood feature film The Insider was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.
Ciaran has been commissioned to create pieces for prestigious cultural groups and organizations such as the Czech Clarinet Quartet, the Latvian Ministry of Arts and Culture and the Solstice Arts Centre in Navan. International performances of his works include performances at showcases such as the Electro-Acoustic Music Festival of Cadiz, the Symposium of Brazilian Computer Music and the Logan Chamber Music Series in the famed Chautauqua Institute, New York. In 2012, a new arrangement of his composition SOLSTICE for a combination of ethic Chinese and Irish instruments was selected for performance at the second Beijing Irish Modern Music Festival of Beijing.
Having just completed a year of work on the original film score for the Hollywood film “The Letters” based on the life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, he is currently completing a much anticipated violin concerto for the celebrated Irish violinist Cora Venus Lunny, with the support of an Arts Council Project Bursary Award.
Drawing on 40+ years of experience, Kitty is working closely with Ciaran to create a selection of musical works that both encourage and excite the student musicians as they develop their orchestra skills. Taking into consideration the standard of the average youth orchestra, they have been striving to make every part interesting to play while keep the melodies moving through the orchestra.
One of the main goals at YOPs is to teach players to seamlessly shift between accompanying and carrying a melody, by listening and learning to identify who has a melody or to understand that the music sounds best when all performers are all playing tightly together.
From this collaborative viewpoint, we have created three new works:
A SPRING MORNING – The first piece, A Spring Morning, is a lush composition, rich in Irish melody. Premiered in Paris on the 2011 French tour, the strong, drawn out melody pulls the players together, yet manages to warm the texture if they are not tight in unison. This unusual side effect gives players a sense of enjoyment beyond their experience level, as they are actively involved in creating a glorious texture that enhances their sound. There is also a strong second melody line that grows out of the primary melody almost like a primal call and answer and makes for a thoroughly enjoyable performance experience.
THE ERRY JIG – The second piece, The Erry Jig, is best described as a contemporary Irish jig – its not traditional or folk fiddling. Its classical. Recorded by YOPs on their 2013 CD, Concert Favorites, the piece is in memory of the composers great-grandparents home in the townland of Erry Co. Tipperary and their local ‘Crossroads Dances’ which always took place on the way home from mass when everyone would meet at the crossroads! The Erry Jig focuses on sharing a melody around the sections of the orchestra to help students understand that they all have a shared responsibility with the melody, as well as introducing interesting and evolving rhythms to allow the orchestra an opportunity to work on unison playing and new rhythmic meters. YOPs will be performing The Erry Jig at the IAYO’s 20th Festival of Youth Orchestras at the Irish National Concert Hall February 7th 2015.
UNTITLED WORK – A new untitled piece for YOPs junior orchestra is in the process of being rehearsed and premiered by the orchestra at the Coole Music Festival in 2015.