Kevin O’Connell studied music at Trinity College Dublin and obtained his PhD in Composition from Dublin City University.
He completed his first commission for BBC Radio 3, “Concertino for 12 players”, when he was 25. He has since completed commissions from many of the leading arts organisations for performers including the Ulster Orchestra, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the Lotus Quartet of Stuttgart, the Hugo Wolf Quartet of Vienna, the Royal Irish Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra, the Lontano Ensemble of London and Opera Theatre Company, for whom he has composed two operas. In 2005 he was Artistic Director of RTÉ’s Living Music Festival. For this event he put together a programme of mainly German music focused on Hans Werner Henze.
He was a driving force behind the foundation of the BA in Composition course at the RIAM, in 2007, the only course of its kind in Ireland. He is founder of the Academy’s Ictus Ensemble with which he has conducted Irish premières of works by Boulez including “Dérive” and “ Mémorial”, Turnage’s “No Let Up”, in addition to Stravinsky’s “Cantata” and “Mass”.
He has won several awards in recognition of his contributions to music and is a member of Aosdana, Ireland’s academy of creative artists.
O’Connell, Kevin, ‘Getting into gear’, in M. Dervan (ed.), The invisible art: a century of music in Ireland 1916-2016 (Stillorgan: New Island, 2016), 85-108.
O’Connell, Kevin, ‘Why is Berg’s op 6 still so difficult to understand?’, Musical Times, vol 155 no 1926 (Spring 2014), 35-54.
O’Connell, Kevin, ‘Hindemith’s voices‘, Musical Times, vol 152 no 1915 (Summer 2011), 3-18.
O’Connell, Kevin, ‘Messiaen’s Liebestod and the uses of paraphrase’, Musical Times, vol 150 no 1907 (Summer 2009), 19-26.
O’Connell, Kevin, ‘The second muse of Gerard Manley Hopkins’, Musical Times, vol 148 no 1901 (Winter 2007), 49–62.
O’Connell, Kevin, ‘Portfolio of original compositions with analytical commentary’, (PhD dissertation, Dublin City University, 2007).
O’Connell, Kevin, ‘The law of the nearest way : polyphonic aspects of the first movement of Sibelius’s Fourth Symphony’, paper presented at the Society for Musicology in Ireland Annual Conference, Limerick, 5-7 May 2006.
O’Connell, Kevin, ‘Stanford and the gods of modern music’, Musical Times, vol 146 no 1890 (Spring 2005), 33-44.