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THE COMPOSER

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Aidan O' Carroll

is an composer living in Tralee, Co. Kerry. The first recipient of the Fleischmann Prize awarded by the UCC Music Graduates’ Association for ‘his outstanding contribution to the development of music in Ireland’, he is the founder and director of Kerry School of Music and Performing Arts celebrating its 40th year in 2021. He has founded many of Kerry’s main performing ensembles, has established numerous youth, adult and mixed music ensembles including the Kerry Choral Union, Kerry Chamber Choir and Kerry Chamber Orchestra, Tralee CBS Boys’ Choir, Kerry School of Music Senior and Junior Orchestras, Flute Choir, Light Opera Society of Tralee and Kerry Children’s Choir.  Additionally he was Choral Director in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney from 2013 - 2020.

A native of Tralee, he attended University College Cork and studied under Aloys Fleischmann. He was awarded a first honours Bachelor of Music Degree and later took a Master of Arts in Composition. He is one of only three Kerry people to have served on The Arts Council of Ireland being appointed by President Michael D. Higgins to the tenth Arts Council in 1993.  He served on the Arts Council until 1998.  He was a founding member of the Association of Irish Choirs (AOIC) and served on the board of both the Association of Irish Choirs and the Irish Association of Music Schools.

While growing up in Tralee he was very active in Irish dancing circles, being taught by Patricia Nolan (nee Hanifin) and at one time held all senior county championships as well as the Munster Belt. He was also a member of St. John’s Gregorian Choir which had a profound musical effect on him. The choir was directed by Fr. Pat Ahern, founder of the National Folk Theatre of Ireland. Inevitably this led to his involvement with Siamsoiri na Riochta (later Siamsa Tire) with whom he performed throughout Ireland, England, Europe and America often as principal dancer.

He is widely known as a composer, arranger, choral and orchestral conductor, pianist, accompanist and educator.  Commissioned works include Dún an Óir Suite (Údarás na Gaeltachta), Dance of Life (Diocese of  Kerry Millennium Celebration), Siamsa Tire (Opening of the National Folk Theatre in its permanent home), All Aboard:  Incidental music for a fictional reenactment of a voyage of the Jennie Johnson across the Atlantic during the Irish famine. The documentary subsequently won a Jacobs Award (Irish Television and Radio Annul Awards), and Celtic Wings (Kerry Irish Productions Inc): Various Choral Settings of traditional songs for the KIPI vocal group DANA. Recent compositions include a five-movement Stabat Mater for Soprano, Baritone, SATB Choir and Orchestra set to liturgical texts and poems by Padraig Pearse which had its world premiere in 2017 with Baritone Gavan Ring (The Poet - Pearse), Soprano Miriam Murphy (The Mother) and Kerry Chamber Orchestra and Choir, conducted by O’ Carroll at the Friary, Killarney,  acappella choral piece I See His Blood upon the Rose (Joseph Mary Plunkett poem) and a choral suite set to the texts of the Advent O Antiphons. Aidan has recently completed a dual-language setting for orchestra, mixed choir and soloists of Bryan Merriman’s epic satirical poem Cuírt an Mheán Óiche (The Midnight Court). Aidan lives in Tralee with his wife Eileen and their four daughters.

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