Composer Ed Bennett was born in Bangor, Co.Down, N.Ireland. His music, which has been described in the press as “anarchic” (Irish Times), “manic” (Classical Music), “brutal” (The Guardian) and “beautiful” (Gramophone) is often characterized by its strong rhythmic energy, extreme contrasts and the combination of acoustic, electronic and multimedia elements.
After several formative years working as a self-taught composer he left his native Ireland and pursued composition studies with a diverse range of musical personalities and has lived in recent years in Paris, Berlin, London and Birmingham. He currently teaches composition at the Birmingham Conservatoire.
He has been commissioned and performed internationally by many diverse artists, ensembles and organizations, including the BBC, RTÉ, PRSF, Music Network, Moving On Music and the Arts Councils of England, Ireland and Northern Ireland. Noted performers of his work include the BBC Symphony and Philharmonic Orchestras, the National Orchestra of Belgium, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta and Sound Intermedia, Ensemble SurPlus, Crash Ensemble, Orkest de ereprijs, Berlin Percussion Ensemble, Lontano, Concorde, Psappha, the Smith Quartet and Noszferatu. He has also worked with many conductors and soloists including Reinbert de Leeuw, James MacMillan, Arturo Tamayo, Pedro Carneiro, Darragh Morgan, Lore Lixenberg, Mary Dullea, Roman Mints, Garth Knox and Sarah Nicolls among others. He also performs with and directs his own ensemble, ‘decibel’, which is dedicated to the performance of new and experimental cross-discipline work.
Recent performances and commissions include a work for viola and ensemble for Garth Knox (Excavation - Arts council of Ireland commission), a work for the Portuguese percussionist Pedro Carneiro (Clockwork Monkey Machine - Music Network commission), a work for orchestra and electronics for the Ulster Orchestra (all of this used to be trees - BBC R3 Commission), a work for the Fidelio Trio (for Marcel Dzama - Bromsgrove Concerts commission) and Noise Machine for ensemble, electronics, video and improvising saxophonist for the Swedish Ensemble Ars Nova and legendary British saxophonist Paul Dunmall (Integra/NGA Commission). He was a finalist in the British Composer Awards and in 2007 he was a featured composer in the RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland’s Horizons series where a portrait concert of his orchestral music was given at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.
His work Ausland for orchestra was awarded the first prize in the Tactus Composers Forum in Brussels, Belgium in 2006 and has subsequently been performed, broadcast and recorded many times. Other awards include a research fellowship from Birmingham Conservatoire, two PRSF Scholarships, the Smith Quartet and Transfusions competitions, Holst and Hinrichsen Foundation Scholarships, the Kilfedder award for artists working in North Down and the Ireland/Romania Foundation Scholarship. String Factory for violin and electronics was selected for the residence category at the 2002 International Competition of Electroacoustic Music and Sonic Art at Bourges, France and El Tigre received an honourable mention in Insulae Electronicae 2003 in Milan.
His works have been featured at many festivals including the Gaudeamus (Amsterdam), Huddersfield, Spitalfields, Bath, City of London, Homecoming (Moscow), Crash, Sonorities, Sonic Circuits, Bourges, the BMIC Cutting Edge Series, York Late Music Festival, Park Lane Group (South Bank), Concerto Fresco (Berlin), Integra and at New Music/New Ireland in Carnegie Hall, New York.
His music has been widely broadcast on radio and recordings have been released on the Lorlelt, Quartz, FMR, CMC and NMC labels with a further portrait CD of his work planned for release in 2010 on the Quartz label.
In 2008 Ed Bennett was composer in residence at the Irish Cultural Centre in Paris, France. Ed Bennett is represented by the Irish Contemporary Music Centre where further scores and recordings of his music can be obtained.