Ciarán Farrell

Ciarán Farrell
Ciarán Farrell
Born 1969
Dublin, Ireland
Occupations Composer
Years active 1997 to present
Labels RTÉ lyric fm
Website Ciarán Farrell's Website.
Ciarán Farrell at MySpace.

Ciarán Farrell (born 1969, Dublin, Ireland) is an Irish composer who has been active in his field since graduating from Trinity College Dublin in 1997. He has composed works for orchestra, ensemble, choir, and solo instruments, as well as for TV and film productions.



Farrell was raised in a music-loving household, though years spent first at the piano and then later the clarinet never really inspired Farrell as he grew up. The onset of his teen years changed his view on what music was all about when he first heard the pulsating sounds of rock bands like AC/DC, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and Van Halen. Like many teenagers his age he wanted a guitar, an electric guitar. His first came from earnings made from washing dishes in a nearby hotel at the age of 15. The following years were spent learning riffs and solos from records, working to buy new equipment and to pay for rehearsal spaces for the many different bands he played with in the years that followed.[1]

It was his love of the late Randy Rhoads’ guitar playing and his then growing love of jazz (and re-kindled interest in classical music) that prompted him at the age of 22 to take things to the next level, a formal study of music. He took up classical guitar with Irish guitarist John Feeley and partook in the IMRO composition summer school before completing his degree at Trinity College where he majored in composition. He also studied with film composer Ennio Morricone at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy.[1]

He has received commissions from the BBC, RTÉ Performing Groups, RTÉ lyric fm (RTÉ Concert Orchestra with actor Barry McGovern),[2] saxophonist Gerard McChrystal,[3] the Smith Quartet, Katie McMahon, Concorde Contemporary Music Ensemble, and John Feeley, amongst others. He has also worked with Irish dance theatre companies, Cois Ceim and Irish Modern Dance Theatre.

Farrell has also worked on numerous TV/Film productions including the internationally-broadcast series Divine Magic and Eyes on the World. Other production companies he worked with include C4, Discovery Channel, RTÉ, TG4, Littlebird Pictures, Decent Suit and Non Fiction Films. He has been commissioned to compose music for numerous commercials/inserts including the Heineken and Shell campaigns.[4]

The first solo collection of Farrell's music, Perfect State, was released on the RTÉ lyric fm label. Less than three weeks after its official launch at the U2-owned Clarence Hotel in Dublin on September 24, 2007, Perfect State entered the HMV classical charts in Ireland at #13 and subsequently made its way to #1. This album features performances by some of the foremost musicians between Britain and Ireland including the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Craig Ogden, Gerard McChrystal and the Smith Quartet.

His music has been released on numerous other CDs including Gerard McChrystal and Craig Ogden’s Pluckblow, Music for Saxophone and Guitar, released on the Meridian Records label;[5] Katie McMahon's album Shine, of which he wrote the title track; and John Feeley's album E-Motion, of which the original solo guitar version of "The Shannon Suite" can be heard.[6]


  • "Perfect State" (second movement)
    "Originally commissioned by Irish Modern Dance as a duo for violin and cello, the title work, "Perfect State", benefits from the loss of a second slow section and the richer sonorities afforded by a bank of eight violins and four cellos with newly added underpinning from a brace of double basses", says Michael Quinn of the Journal of Music Ireland.[7]
    "Around and About" (first movement)
    "...this three-movement work assumes the shape of a 10-minute dialogue between flute and vibraphone, each loose- and long-limbed in equal measure with a diaphanous quality in the flute line and a charming playful mischievousness in the quixotic spiraling interplay of the vibraphone", states Quinn.[7]
  • Problems listening to the files? See media help.

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Perfect State (2007), RTÉ lyric fm

Track listing

1. "Perfect State" – 6:35

RTÉ Concert Orchestra conducted by David Brophy

2. "The Shannon Suite" – 13:53

Craig Ogden, guitar; Gerard McChrystal, soprano saxophone

3. "Around and About" – 9:54

Sinead Farrell, flute; Roger Moffat, vibraphone

4. "The Pilgrim's Return" – 14:21

Smith Quartet; and Gerard McChrystal, soprano saxophone

5. "Hopkins on Skellig Michael" (Poem by Paddy Bushel) – 34:58

RTÉ Concert Orchestra, conducted by David Brophy; speaker Barry McGovern


  • It's rare to come across contemporary music that’s as melodic and appealing as Ciarán Farrell’s. - The Daily Mail.
  • Perfect State is a remarkable body of work. - TV Now.
  • This first full recording of Ciarán Farrell’s offers ample evidence of a productive first decade a jobbing composer, showcasing as it does a vital, fast-maturing voice distinguished by melodic and harmonic fluency and an appreciable facility for writing music that communicates with a clear directness of intent. accomplished, magnificent and mature work. - JMI - Journal of Music Ireland.
  • Perfect State, is a collection of compositions created over the last few years, and there's ample evidence that Farrell's talent is as large as his ambition. The variation of styles embodied within the five pieces on Perfect State is staggering, simultaneously playful and challenging. It only takes one listen to "Hopkins on Skellig Michael" to know that this young composer will be in high demand in years to come. Get it while it's hot. - The Silent Ballet.
  • This album is a joy to listen to and is a pleasant surprise coming from the Nuevo Classical scene. - The Silent Ballet.
  • The music on this album is a testament to the vitality of Irish musicians not alone in the rock or traditional sphere but in something totally new. - The Word.
  • Ciaran Farrell's Shannon Suite sets the standard. - BBC The Complete Guide to Classical Music.
  • The music of Ciaran Farrell excelled. - Tribune Magazine.


External links

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