Ó'Lionáird, Iarla


Iarla Ó Lionáird has carved a long and unique career in music both internationally and in Ireland. From his iconic early recording of the vision song “Aisling Gheal” as a young boy to his ground breaking recordings with Dublin's Crash Ensemble and New York’s Alarm Will Sound, he has shown a breadth of artistic ambition that sets him apart in the Irish Music fraternity.

He’s a child of traditional music, born and bred in Cúil Aodha, in the belly of the West Cork Gaeltacht, with Seán Ó Riada a neighbour and indisputable early influence. His great aunt, the traditional singer Elizabeth Cronin, had forged a reputation for rich interpretation before him, paving the way for the young Ó Lionáird to still audiences with his plaintive, textured voice at Mass, and later, in parlours, front rooms, snugs, town halls and concert halls. The truth is, it’s the individual sonic qualities of Iarla Ó Lionáird’s voice that define him. That voice, with all its midnight depth and soaring breadth, transcends anything that might box or classify him as one thing or another.

A twice Grammy nominated artist, Ó Lionáird has worked with a stellar cast of composers internationally including Donnacha Dennehy, Dan Trueman, Nico Muhly, Gavin Bryars and David Lang and he has performed and recorded with such luminaries as Peter Gabriel, Nick Cave, Robert Plant and Sinead O'Connor. His unique singing style has carried him to stages and concert halls all over the world, from New York's Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House and beyond.

Also an accomplished broadcaster, Ó Lionáird’s recent radio series “Vocal Chords” on the mysteries of the human voice, for Ireland’s National Classical Music Broadcaster, RTE Lyric FM, won both Gold and Silver Awards at the “New York Radio Festival” 2017.

His voice has graced the silver screen also, with film credits extending from "The Gangs of New York" to "Hotel Rwanda" and most recently as featured singer in the film “Brooklyn” starring Saoirse Ronan. He is the vocalist with the critically acclaimed Irish/American band "The Gloaming." He holds a Masters Degree in Ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick where he is currently completing a PhD. Appointed as Global Scholar 2017-'20 he is Visiting Lecturer in Music and the Humanities at Princeton University

Morgan, Darragh


Violinist with Fidelio Trio, Darragh Morgan has performed extensively throughout Europe, USA, Africa and Asia. He has performed concertos with orchestras including European Union Chamber Orchestra, Istanbul Symphony, Cyprus Chamber Orchestra, Johannesburg Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Ulster Orchestra, RTE Concert Orchestra, and Kolner Kammerorchester.

As a highly active and renowned interpreter of contemporary music, Darragh Morgan has worked with and premiered the music of many of the most important composers of our time, including Arvo Part, Philip Glass, John Tavener, Kevin Volans, Michael Nyman, Gerald Barry and Michael Finnissy. He regularly leads London Sinfonietta, and has also guest led Ensemble Modern, Musik Fabrik, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Remix Ensemble (Porto) and Athlesas Sinfonietta (Copenhagen ). Darragh was violinist with the acclaimed Smith Quartet from 2005-2011 and previously Artistic Director of Barqoue 2000 in South Africa. From 2009-19 he was on the violin faculty at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and has given masterclasses at Curtis Institute, Peabody Conservatory, Central Conservatory Beijing and YST Singapore. Darragh has recorded over 50 albums for Naxos, Resonus, NMC, Metier, Delphian and Signum. He plays an 1848 Giuseppe Rocca violin, generously on loan from The Morgan-Rocca Instrument Trust which is administered by The Royal Society of Musicians and a fine bow made by Alfred Lamy.

Image Credit: 
Frances Marshall

Burgess, Joby


One of Britain’s most diverse percussionists, Joby is best known for his virtuosic, often lissom performances, daring collaborations, extensive education work, and regularly appears throughout Europe, the USA and beyond.

Joby commits much of his time to three chamber music projects - Powerplant, New Noise and ensemblebash - of which, he is either the artistic or co-artistic director.  Founded in 1999 his duo New Noise, with oboist Janey Miller, has given well in excess of two hundred performances, whilst creating an entirely new repertoire and distinctive sound.

Dedicated to the development of the percussion repertoire, often in combination with electronics, Joby spends much of his time commissioning and recording new music. Recent highlights have included extensive tours with Peter Gabriel’s New Blood Orchestra and Graham Fitkin’s all star band; releases of Gabriel Prokofiev’s Import/Export on Nonclassical and Frozen River Flows on Oboe Classics.  Future plans include a new duo - Uncharted - with cellist/vocalist Matthew Sharp, and a large-scale multimedia commission from Max de Wardener.

Joby regularly performs, records and collaborates with artists including Stewart Copeland, Michael Finnissy, Graham Fitkin, Peter Gabriel, John Kenny, Akram Khan, Sarah Leonard, Joanna MacGregor, Peter Maxwell Davies, Nitin Sawhney, Andy Sheppard, Keith Tippett and Nana Vasconcelos, along with many of the world’s leading chamber ensembles.  He is also a member of Stephen Deazley’s Edinburgh based ensemble, Music at the Brewhouse, for which Joby was commissioned to arrange A-ha’s pop classic Take On Me, for the 2008 St Magnus Festival in Orkney.

In 2004 Joby was appointed professor of percussion and director of percussion ensembles at Junior Trinity College of Music, Greenwich.

Buckley, Linda


Linda Buckley is an Irish composer who has written extensively for orchestra (BBC Symphony Orchestra, Dresdner Sinfoniker, RTé National Symphony Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra), and has a particular interest in merging her classical training with the worlds of post punk, folk and ambient electronica. She is ‘one of the leading figures in the thriving Irish new music scene’ (Christopher Fox, Tempo) with her work being described as ‘exquisite’ (Philip Clark, Gramophone) ‘strange and beautiful’ (Richard Dyer, Boston Globe), and ‘fantastically brutal, reminiscent of the glitch music of acts such as Autechre’ (Liam Cagney, Composing the Island). Collaborations include work with experimental folk duo Anna & Elizabeth, Crash Ensemble, Liz Roche Dance Company, Iarla O’Lionaird, Icebreaker and Ensemble Mise-En. Linda studied Music at University College Cork, holds a Masters in Music & Media Technologies and PhD in Composition from Trinity College Dublin, a Fulbright Scholarship to New York and lectures in Composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Image Credit: 
Olesya Zdorovetska

O'Connell, Isabelle


Since her New York debut recital at Carnegie’s Weill Hall in 2002, Dublin-born pianist Isabelle O’Connell has developed an international career that has taken her across four continents. As soloist and chamber musician she has performed around the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Italy, U.K. and Ireland, to venues such as Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Chicago Cultural Center, Cleveland Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of art, the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, Belfast Festival, St David’s Hall, Cardiff and the National Concert Hall, Ireland.

Now based in New York, Isabelle is co-founder of GrandBand, New York’s new music piano sextet, described by the New York Times as: "six of the finest, busiest pianists active in New York's contemporary-classical scene”. Making their debut at the Bang on a Can Marathon in New York in 2012, they have since performed around the United States and U.K. at the Detroit Institute of the Arts, the Gilmore Piano Festival, Le Poisson Rouge, New York, the Rite of Summer Music Festival, Vale of Glamorgan Festival, Sheffield University and Cornerstone Festival, Liverpool.

Isabelle has recorded for the Diatribe, Innova and Lyric fm labels. She has appeared on television and radio on both sides of the Atlantic, with performances broadcast on WNYC, WQXR, WFMT Chicago, BBC3, RTE, TV3 and Lyric FM radio.

Isabelle is currently on the piano faculties at Bard College and the Diller-Quaile School of Music, New York. She is a former faculty member of the Manhattan School of Music and the Kaufman Center’s Lucy Moses School, NY. Isabelle has a particular interest in music involving extended piano techniques and is often invited to give workshops on the topic, in addition to giving masterclasses for pianists and composers. Isabelle received her Masters degree from the Manhattan School of Music. She subsequently studied with Zitta Zohar in New York. Her earlier studies took place at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin (Réamonn Keary, Therese Fahy) where she received her B.A. in Music Performance.

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Crash Ensemble

Crash Ensemble

Crash Ensemble is Ireland’s leading new music ensemble; a group of world-class musicians who play the most adventurous, ground-breaking music of today.

Crash Ensemble, an Irish new-music collective with international cachet and considerable chops.  -The Washington Post

Founded in 1997 by composer Donnacha Dennehy, some of the most distinctive living composers have written for the group, including Terry Riley, David Lang, Michael Gordon, Louis Andriessen, Arnold Dreyblatt, Kevin Volans, Glen Branca, Nico Muhly and Gerald Barry.

Many well-known artists from diverse musical backgrounds have performed with the ensemble; Gavin Friday, Dawn Upshaw, Julie Feeney, Lisa Hannigan, Íarla Ó Lionáird (The Gloaming), Bryce Dessner (The National), Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), Sam Amidon and Beth Orton.

Crash have recordings on NMC, Cantaloupe, Nonesuch and the Bedroom Community labels.

As well as performing throughout Ireland, Crash regularly perform internationally, with appearances in the last few years at the Edinburgh International Festival, The Royal Opera House (London), The Barbican (London), Carnegie Hall (NYC) The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington DC), Virginia Tech (Virginia), GAIDA Festival (Lithuania) and residencies at The Huddersfield Contemporary Music festival (UK) and Princeton University (NJ).

Crash Ensemble are adventurous, innovative and ambitious.

ConTempo Quartet

ConTempo Quartet
String Quartet

Bogdan Sofei, violin
Ingrid Nicola, violin
Andreea Banciu, viola
Adrian Mantu, cello

Formed in 1995 when its members were students at the Music University in Bucharest, Romania, the ConTempo String Quartet has toured the world extensively and has won a record 14 international prizes in competitions including the London String Quartet Competition, in Rome, Munich, Graz, Berlin, Prague and Hamburg.

In 1999 the quartet took up a Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music where they taught chamber music classes and had the chance to meet and work with world-famous quartets such as the Amadeus, Alban Berg, Hagen, Tokyo and Emerson. Since 2003, the ConTempo has been Quartet in Residence on the West Coast of Ireland.

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Iarla Ó'Lionáird voice
Darragh Morgan violin
Joby Burgess  percussion (canna sonora)
Linda Buckley voice, electronics
Isabelle O'Connell piano
Crash Ensemble
ConTempo Quartet


Linda Buckley is an Irish composer who has written extensively for orchestra (BBC Symphony Orchestra, Dresdner Sinfoniker, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra), and has a particular interest in merging her classical training with the worlds of post punk, folk and ambient electronica. She is 'one of the leading figures in the thriving Irish new music scene' (Christopher Fox, Tempo) with her work being described as 'strange and beautiful' (Richard Dyer, Boston Globe), 'fantastically brutal, reminiscent of the glitch music of acts such as Autechre' (Liam Cagney, Composing the Island) and 'engaging with an area of experience that new music is generally shy of, which, simplified and reduced to a single word, I'd call ecstasy' (Bob Gilmore, Journal of Music).

In Ó Íochtar Mara (From Ocean's Floor), the most substantial work on this album, Buckley combines sean nós (an Irish ‘old style’ of elaborately ornamented solo singing) with string quartet and electronic drones. Iarla Ó Lionáird is one of the finest contemporary exponents of sean nós and the song-cycle is based upon Gaelic love poetry of love and loss, some dating back to the seventh century.
Discordia was commissioned by Joby Burgess for his Canna Sonora, an instrument assembled from tuned, vertical aluminium tubes that he strokes with rosin-impregnated gloves creating other-worldly sonorities. Also on the album is the shimmering, ethereal Exploding Stars for violin (Darragh Morgan) and electronics, Haza written for the ConTempo Quartet when Buckley was living in New York, the floating, glacial Fridur for piano (Isabelle O'Connell) and electronics, and the ambient, immersive Kyrie performed by the composer herself on vocals and electronics.



'the music is Irish, modern and worldly .. performed by an all-star line-up including Iarla O'Lionaird and Crash Ensemble, this comes very highly recommended from all of us here on the Sound Out team' Sound Out, RTÉ Lyric FM

'an excellent portrait of one of Ireland's most interesting composers' Journal of Music

'I'm a big fan of Linda's music, and her ability to reduce a magnitude of emotions into a single phrase.' Hannah Peel, BBC Radio 3 Night Tracks



With special thanks to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and the RVW Trust for their support of this recording.




Thank you to the Trusts, Foundations and individuals who have invested in NMC’s Debut Discs series:

The John S Cohen Foundation
The Garrick Charitable Trust
Nicholas and Judith Goodison's Charitable Settlement
The Leche Trust
The Mercers' Charitable Foundation
Stanley Picker Trust
The Steel Charitable Trust
Terry Holmes
Robert McFarland
James and Anne Rushton
Martin Staniforth
Duncan Tebbet
Judith Weir
and everyone who donated through NMC's Debut Disc Appeal


Exploding Stars and Discordia were recorded at All Saints Church, East Finchley, London on 8 October 2019
DAVID LEFEBER Recording Engineer & Producer

Fridur, Haza and Ó Íochtar Mara were recorded at Hellfire Studio, Dublin, Ireland on 19-20 December 2019
Adrian Hart Recording Engineer & Producer

Kyrie was recorded in Brooklyn apartment in November 2016 
LINDA BUCKLEY Recording Engineer & Producer

Catalogue number:
NMC D258
Release Date:
25 September 2020