Let us introduce Brian Irvine and Jennifer Walshe – two innovative Irish artists making waves internationally who we are delighted will be our opening and closing keynotes. 

“The most original compositional voice to emerge from Ireland in the past 20 years” (Irish Times), composer and performer Jennifer Walshe was born in Dublin. Her music has been commissioned, broadcast and performed all over the world. She has been the recipient of fellowships and prizes from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York, the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm, the Internationales Musikinstitut, Darmstadt and Akademie Schloss Solitude among others. Walshe has written a large number of operas and theatrical works, including XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! an opera for Barbie dolls, and TIME TIME TIME, with the philosopher Timothy Morton, which the Wire described as “a sprawling opus that spans the history of the planet… like Robert Ashley meets Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life”. Her visual work has been exhibited in the Chelsea Art Museum, New York, Project Arts Centre, Dublin and the ICA, London.

“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).

Born in Belfast, Brian Irvine’s unique musical world combines the known and the unknown, the free and the fixed, the schooled and the unschooled. He is driven by a single desire to connect, disrupt, reinvent and reimagine all aspects of life, people, society, art and understanding in any and as many ways possible. His huge output includes operas, large scale oratorios, orchestral, ensemble, chamber, solo and dance works as well as film scores and installation.

Often combining and layering diverse and opposing elements his music has been commissioned, broadcast and performed all over the world by a vast array of performers and organisations including the London Symphony Orchestra, Welsh National Opera, RTE National Symphony Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra and has collaborated and made work with artists from vastly different disciplines including Seamus Heaney, Willie Doherty, Paul Dunmall, Eduard Bersudsky, Netia Jones, and David Holmes as well as thousands of groups and individuals from all dimensions of society including ex paramilitaries, young offenders, victims of violence, special needs groups, residential homes, community choirs, garderners, footballers, bankers, homeless associations, call centre workers and schools galore. 

Brian has won two British Composer Awards, the BBC Radio 3 Jazz Award and the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Composers Award.  He is Co-Artistic Director of the creative production company Dumbworld and Professor of Music at Ulster University. In 2016 became the first Music Laureate for the City of Belfast.