Ann Cleare is an Irish artist working in the areas of concert music, opera, extended sonic environments and hybrid instrumental design. Described as “an altogether different artform that draws from musical traditions, but pushes against and beyond them, articulating something that is at once about sound, but that is equally concerned with energy, motion, space and the world itself”, her work explores the static and sculptural nature of sound, probing the extremities of timbre, texture, colour and form. Exploring poetries of communication, transformation and perception, she creates highly psychological and corporeal sonic spaces that encourage a listener to contemplate the complexity of the lives we exist within and “to hear the world differently”.
A recipient of a 2019 Ernst von Siemens Composer Prize, her work has been commissioned and presented by major broadcasters such as the BBC, NPR, ORF, RTÉ, SWR and WDR, for festivals such as Gaudeamus Week, The Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik, International Music Institute Darmstadt, IMATRONIC Festival of Electronic Music at ZKM, MATA Festival, Sound Reasons Festival in India, Shanghai New Music Week, Transit Belgium, Totally Huge New Music in Perth, Trattorie Parma, Rainy Days in Luxembourg, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and Ultraschall Berlin. Through working with some of the most progressive musicians of our time, she has established a reputation for creating innovative forms of music, both in its presentation and within the music itself. She has worked with groups such as Ensemble SurPlus, The International Contemporary Ensemble, Collegium Novum Zürich, The National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, The Curious Chamber Players, ensemble mosaik, The Experimental Ensemble of the SWR Studios, Talea Ensemble, The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, ensemble recherche and Ensemble Garage, and soloists such as Carol McGonnell, Richard Craig, Heather Roche, Bill Schimmel, Benjamin Marks, Patrick Stadler, Carlos Cordeiro, Ryan Muncy, Richard Haynes, William Lang, Laura Cocks, Lina Andonovska, Samuel Stoll, and Callum G’Froerer.
Recent projects have focused on creating experiential environments where sound is given a visual as well as sonic dimension, such works include “eyam i-v”, a series of five attacca pieces, centred around clarinet and flute writing in various solo, ensemble, electronic and orchestral settings, spanning just over two hours of music that is continuously transformed in shape, time, and motion around the listener; “rinn”, a time travel chamber opera involving a multichannel sonic sculpture that the singers and actors wear, interact with, and are amplified by; spatially choreographed chamber pieces such as “I should live in wires for leaving you behind”, “anchor me to the land”, and “on magnetic fields”; a newly-designed instrument that a musician simultaneously wears and plays in “eöl”; “surface stations”, multi-layered theatre involving the staging of extended brass instruments, vocal ensemble and visuals.
Current and future projects include a chamber piece and curated concert with Ensemble Musikfabrik for the National Concert Hall of Ireland’s Beethoven 2021 celebrations, a solo flute work for Claire Chase, a large scale work for soloists, chorus, orchestra, and electronics for New Music Dublin 2021, an opera for Munich Biennale 2022, a DVD of filmed works, and the creation of outdoor sonic sculptures with Lay of the Land, Crash Ensemble, and Fionnuala Conway.
Ann studied at University College Cork and IRCAM, and holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University. In October 2019, she received an Honorary Doctorate from the National University of Ireland for her contribution to music. Her scores are published by Project Schott New York and she is represented by the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland (CMC). She is Assistant Professor of Music and Media Technologies at Trinity College Dublin. As an artistic collaborator with Dublin Sound Lab, she will work on developing their programming and production of electronic music over the coming years. Ann is Projects Officer with Sounding the Feminists (#STF), a collective championing principles of equality, fairness, inclusivity and diversity in Irish musical life.