Awards for Artists
Image of Ailís Ní Ríain
Photo credit: Emile Holba

Ailís Ní Ríain

Ailís Ní Ríain (born 1974) is a Cork born contemporary classical composer and stage writer. Currently based in Yorkshire she is a regular collaborator with artists in other artforms, her artistic interests are diverse and combined with an unwavering desire to push and develop her artistic practice through each new project or commission. Working across several media, including small-scale acoustic music, installations, mini-opera and music-theatre, her work uses a multi-disciplined approach to challenge, provoke and engage.

Ní Ríain’s compositions focus on strong visual and narrative ideas and building connections with new and diverse audiences. Among Ní Ríain’s most recent compositions was Skloniŝte (2015), a solo accordion and video homage to the people who survived the Siege of Sarajevo 1992-1996. The Irish Times described the piece as ‘truly evok[ing] a strong response.’

She has also completed notable commissions for the Royal Irish Academy of Music, The Bronte Society and Feelgood Productions with new commissions lined up for Spitalfields Festival, Temenos Ensemble and Manchester Opera Project. Her work has been performed in the US and across Europe. Alongside her work as a composer, Ní Ríainis a published stage writer with plays produced in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Sweden.

I am very grateful indeed to have been selected for this award. It comes at an important cross-roads for me as a creative artist and is something I feel honoured and proud to accept. It will enable me to push my practice higher and further without limitation.

Examples of work

Skloniŝte, 2015

Skloniŝte, 2015

Video recording of performance. Classical accordion (Dermot Dunne) and video.
60 minutes duration (extract 1m 58s).
Commissioned by the Dublin Fringe Festival for 3 performances in September 2015.

Dubinina’s Tongue, 2015

Dubinina’s Tongue, 2015

Percussion quartet and video.
10 minutes duration (extract 2m 1s).
Paintings by Bo Gorzelak Pedersen.

Linger – Borne no longer, 2015

Bass recorder (Sylvia Hinz) & piano (Ailís Ní Ríain).
3 minutes 10 seconds duration (extract 1m 58s).
Composed on and for Emily Bronte’s piano, live recording from the Bronte Parsonage.

Eyeless, 2012

Irish Sean-Nos singer (Iarla O’Lionaird) with EnsemBeal vocal group.
14 minutes duration (extract 1m 42s).
Commissioned by Beal Festival, Dublin. Premiered in Smock Alley, Dublin, 2012.