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Deirdre is an award-winning composer who was born in Belfast who first came to recognition winning The Huddersfield Festival Prize as a student. In 2001 her orchestral work ‘Unity of Being’ opened the ‘UK with NY' Festival in New York City after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and was featured in the New York Times.  In 2004 her UK tour of her violin concerto ‘Venus Blazing’ was lit by Bruce Springsteen’s lighting designer Jeff Ravitz and directed by theatre director Lou Stein touring venues throughout the UK, including the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London’s South Bank.  The BBC commissioned her to write a Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra for Colin Currie.'Goliath' featured lambeg drums from the Protestant marching band tradition. It opened the Belfast International Festival.  She was commissioned by RTE for the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland in 2012 to write a Piano Concerto for Finghin Collins, ‘The Binding of the Years’.  It was also performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra on Radio 3.

She is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast, Guildhall School of Music, London and she received her doctorate from Royal Holloway, London.  She was a Visiting Arts Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. In 2013 she was awarded a Sir Winston Churchill Fellowship for research on Arts and Disability Programmes in the USA and Canada. She is a Fulbright Fellow and studied at Princeton University. In 2015 she received a Leverhulme Fellowship for research in music and pain management in hospitals in Toronto, Canada.

Her critically acclaimed second opera, ‘Crossing the Sea’, premiered at Wilton’s Music Hall in 2008. She has written extensively for radio, including music for BBC Drama productions of ‘Embers’ starring Patrick Stewart and ‘The Possessed’ starring Benedict Cumberbatch.  ‘Reflected Glory’ was a recipient of the PRS Woman in Music award for Huddersfield Festival. She has written the score for the feature film ‘My Kingdom’ starring  Richard Harris. It was nominated for a Screen International Award.

Deirdre has extended her collaborative interests to the world of science. She was a Leverhulme funded Artist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge writing  ‘Hearing Your Genes Evolve’ which premiered by The Smith Quartet at Cutty Sark, Greenwich London.  She was a keynote speaker at the EU Innovative Convention in Brussels at the request of the President of the EU with Dr Sarah Teichmann. She was also featured in the Festival of Ideas in Cambridge. She is currently developing a new genetic and music collaboration with University College Hospital, UCL, Personal Genome Project for 2017.

Her new work for dance ‘Invitation to a Journey’ featuring the work of architect Eileen Gray premiered in 2016 at Galway Theatre Festival and at Project Arts Centre in Dublin. 'Devil's Dwelling Place' commemorating the Somme was commissioned by West Cork Chamber Music Festival 2016 for Nurit Stark.

 ‘Hearing Your Genes Evolve’ featured  in ‘The Dark Gene’, a documentary about genetics and was  shortlisted for the 2016 Berlinale documentary film prize. She was featured in ‘Composing the Island'  a Festival of 100 years of Irish Music in Dublin 2016. Future work includes a new opera 'Pink Suit', about Jackie Kennedy,  a new work for piano and orchestra for RTE and 'In the Blink of an Eye' for dance and string quartet.

2005-2017 Deirdre Gribbin
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"To place a new work between these masterpieces was to measure it against giants.

Yet, extraordinary as it may seem, Deirdre Gribbin’s What the Whaleship Saw seemed every bit as mesmerising as the Haydn or Bartok."


Richard Morrison
The Times