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Gerald Barry

Composer

Biography

Irish composer Gerald Barry made his Royal Opera debut in 2013 with a new production of his 2011 opera The Importance of Being Earnest, originally commissioned by Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Barbican Centre.

Barry was born in Clare and studied in Amsterdam and Cologne with Peter Schat, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Mauricio Kagel, among others. He came to prominence in 1979 with works including ‘________’ and Ø. He has since received commissions from the BBC Proms (Chevaux-de-frise), BBC Symphony Orchestra (The Conquest of Ireland, Day, Wiener Blut), Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (Dead March and Beethoven), London Sinfonietta (God Save the Queen and Feldman’s Sixpenny Editions), De Volharding Piano Quartet (Hard D), Ensemble 7Bridges (No People) and Bayerischer Rundfunk/Musica Viva and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (his Piano Concerto, written for Nicolas Hodges), among others. His first opera The Intelligence Park was commissioned by the ICA and first performed in 1990 at the Aldeburgh Festival. It was followed by The Triumph of Beauty and Deceit (2002, Channel 4 Television and Aldeburgh Festival), The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (2005, English National Opera), La Plus Forte (2007, Radio France), The Importance of Being Earnest, winner of the 2013 Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Large-Scale Composition, and Alice’s Adventures Under Ground (2016, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Gustavo Dudamel, the Barbican Centre and Britten Sinfonia).

Barry’s music has been recorded by ensembles including RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the Nash Ensemble, BCMG, the Almeida Ensemble, the Irish Chamber Orchestra and the Composers Ensemble, for NMC, Black Box Music, Metronome Records and Discovery Recordings.

Videos

News and features

Listen: <em>The Importance of Being Earnest</em> – ‘I think it would make other types of music laugh’

Listen: The Importance of Being Earnest – ‘I think it would make other types of music laugh’

31 March 2016

Four singers from The Royal Opera’s revival of Gerald Barry’s acclaimed operatic adaptation of Wilde’s classic play discuss food, convention and keeping a straight face.

Wilde at heart: the surreal brilliance of Gerald Barry’s <em>The Importance of Being Earnest</em>

Wilde at heart: the surreal brilliance of Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest

30 March 2016

Irish composer Gerald Barry defies common sense at every turn in his operatic adaptation of Wilde’s classic play, to surprisingly ingenious effect.

<em>The Importance of Being Earnest</em> Musical Highlight: ‘And this is what you call Bunburying?!’

The Importance of Being Earnest Musical Highlight: ‘And this is what you call Bunburying?!’

21 March 2016

Gerald Barry warps Oscar Wilde’s celebrated absurdist comedy into something even stranger in his brilliant operatic adaptation.

Photos