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Jennifer Walshe was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1974. She studied composition with John Maxwell Geddes at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Kevin Volans in Dublin and graduated from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) with a doctoral degree in composition in June 2002. Her chief teachers at Northwestern were Amnon Wolman and Michael Pisaro. In 2003-2004 Jennifer was a fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart; during 2004-2005 she lived in Berlin as a guest of the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm. From 2006 to 2008 she was the composer-in-residence in South Dublin County for In Context 3. In 2007 she was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York. In 2008 she was awarded the Praetorius Music Prize for Composition by the Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur.
Jennifer’s work has been performed all over the world by ensembles such as Alter Ego, ensemble recherche, Ensemble Resonanz, Apartment House, ensemble Intégrales, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, Schlagquartett Köln, Crash Ensemble, Con Tempo Quartet, Trio Scordatura, Ensemble Ascolta, Champ d’Action, ensemble laboratorium, ensemble surplus, the Rilke Ensemble, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the Irish Youth Wind Ensemble, Bozzini Quartet, Callino Quartet, Ensemble 2000, Concorde, Kaleidoscop, Black Hair, Continuum, Musica Nova Consort, ensemble chronophonie, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Wind Quintet, the Hebrides Ensemble, Psappha, and Q-02 among others. She has received commissions from organizations including Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ), Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), Sudwest Rundfunk (SWR), the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, Darmstadt, Maerzmusik, Musik der Jahrhundert, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Dresdener Tage der zeitgenössischen Musik, Wien Modern, the Dresden Semperoper, Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Crash Ensemble, the Project Arts Centre and the National Concert Hall, Ireland, as well as commission awards from the New Music Scheme of the Arts Council of Ireland and the Scottish Arts Council. In 2003-04 Jennifer was composer-in-residence at the National Sculpture Factory, Cork. In 2000 Jennifer won the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis at the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt, and received first prize in the SCI/ASCAP 2002 Commission Competition. In July 2002 she returned to Darmstadt to lecture in composition at the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik. Her work was shortlisted for the 2002 and 2003 Gaudeamus Foundation composition prize.
In addition to her activities as a composer, Jennifer frequently performs as a vocalist, specialising in extended techniques. Many of her recent compositions were commissioned for her voice in conjunction with other instruments, and her works have been performed by her and others at festivals such as RTÉ Living Music (Dublin), Båstad Kammarmusik Festival (Sweden), Ultraschall (Berlin), Ars Musica (Brussels), Steirischer Herbst, Wien Modern, Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, Donaueschinger Musiktage, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Late Music Festival (York), Hamburger Klangwerktage, Gaida (Lithuania), BMIC Cutting Edge, Composer’s Choice (Dublin), SoundField (Chicago) the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik Darmstadt, Stockholm New Music, BELEF (Belgrade), Traiettorie (Parma), Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), SPOR (Denmark), Frau Musica Nova (Cologne), Performa (New York), Electric Eclectics (Canada), Reihe 0 (Austria), Ergodos (Dublin) and Music at the Anthology (New York). Jennifer is also active as an improviser, performing regularly with musicians in Europe and the U.S.
Recent projects of note 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. Pieces by Grúpat members have been performed and exhibited all over the world, most notably at the Dublin Electronic Arts Festival; Kilkenny Arts Festival; the Museum of Arts & Design, New York; the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; New Langton Arts, San Francisco; Ultrasound Festival, Tel Aviv and Festival Rümlingen, Switzerland. In February 2009 Grúpat were the feature of a retrospective at the Project Arts Centre, Dublin, which coincided with the launch of the book Grúpat by Project Press and the release of two CDs featuring Jennifer’s music written under her Grúpat alter egos.
2003 XXX_Live_Nude_Girls!!!, opera for 2 female voices, 2 pupeteers, 2 camera operators, accordion, CD, clarinet, trombone, trombone - libretto: Jennifer Walshe
2012 Die Taktik for 4voices, projected choir, projected orchestra, dancers and video projection
2000 like glass in a mirror on a window pane, for wind quintet
2002 unbreakable line. hinged waist. for flute, oboe, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola and cello
2002 theme from, for violin and piano (with walkie-talkies )
2003 minard/nithsdale, for string quartet and two boomboxes
2004 THIS IS WHY PEOPLE OD ON PILLS / AND JUMP FROM THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, for variable ensemble (2 to 10 instruments and/or voices)
2004 a sensitive number for the laydeez, for alto saxophone, viola, piano, percussion and video
2006 passenger, for chamber orchestra
2011 metta, for 9 musicians
Vocal and choral
2000 as mo cheann
2001 NOW WASH YOUR HANDS
2001 ná déan NÍL CEAD
2001 moving in/love song/city front garden with old men
2002 here we are now
2002 Happiness is a Warm Gun
2002 dirty white fields
2002 been in a room and a room and a room and a room
2003 he wants his cowboys to sound like how he thinks cowboys should sound
2004 The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Conductor
2004 Kommander Kobayashi Journal #17: set phasers on KILL!, opera for 2 male voices, 3 females voices, CD, cello, trombone, piano, slides, video, viola - libretto: Jennifer Walshe, Sven Holm, Sebastian Bark, Tobias Dusche
2007 Physics for the Girl in the Street
2011 watched over lovingly by silent machines for 5voices and DVD
- Contemporary Music Centre biography page
- 'don't do PERMISSION ISN'T: the music of Jennifer Walshe' by Bob Gilmore (from the Journal of Music in Ireland, July-August 2007)