Jennifer Walshe

Finalist in 2014 for Experimental Music

Jennifer Walshe is a composer, performer and visual artist of whom the Irish Times has said that “without a doubt, hers is the most original compositional voice to emerge in Ireland in the last 20 years”. She studied composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and at Northwestern University, Chicago, graduating with a doctoral degree in composition in 2002. Her work has won much acclaim in Germany, winning the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis at the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt, Germany in 2000 and the Praetorius Music Prize for Composition by the Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur.
Walshe’s music has been performed and broadcast worldwide and she has received commissions from most of the major European new music festivals. She also frequently performs as a vocalist, specialising in extended techniques, and many of her recent compositions use her voice in conjunction with other instruments. She is also active as an improviser, performing regularly with musicians in Europe and the USA. Perhaps her best known work to date is the opera XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! whose main characters are played by Barbie dolls. The opera was premiered in Dresden in 2003 and has received many further performances. More recent projects include Grúpat, a two-year project in which Walshe assumed nine different alter egos – all members of art collective Grúpat – and created compositions, installations, graphic scores, films, photography, sculptures and fashion under these alter egos. Jennifer says of her work “the sounds I am interested in include those that we hear all the time but are normally considered flawed or redundant: twigs snapping in a burning fire, paper tearing, breathing, instrumental sounds that aren’t considered ‘beautiful’ in standard terms. I think these sounds have their own beauty in the way that pebbles on a beach or graffiti can have.”