Barry O’Halpin is a Dublin-based composer and guitarist.
First working with by Crash when his piece Lethargarian was programmed on their 2014 Free State concert, Barry was a featured composer in their 2015-16 Born in the 80s Irish tour. After festival appearances nationwide, his trio Lipids was performed at New Music Dublin 2016 with Barry as guitarist. Since then he has become a regular Crash guitarist, with highlights including premieres of works by Tansy Davies and Ann Cleare, festivals such as Gaida (Lithuania), Sounds from a Safe Harbour (Cork) & Kilkenny Arts, and recordings of works by Donnacha Dennehy & Christopher Mayo.
His own music has featured in festivals & concert series including Tokyo Wonder Site (Japan), New Music Dublin, Bang On A Can Summer Music Festival (US/Germany) and Borough New Music (UK) with performers including Kirkos Ensemble, Michelle O’Rourke, Rarescale, Ret Frem, Bastard Assignments, Fishamble Sinfonia and BINARY flute duo.
In 2018 he composed Vargvarde for Chamber Choir Ireland as part of Contemporary Music Centre’s Choral Sketches project, fusing together wolf and frog chorus transcriptions for human voices. In 2017 he was commissioned by Kirkos Ensemble & Experimental Film Society to write Sleep Flare, a live score to a silent film by director Rouzbeh Rashidi.
He writes and performs with Alarmist, a Dublin-based group blending experimental rock, jazz and electronic influences. Since 2011 they have released 3 records and performed at international festivals such as Ottawa Jazz (Canada), Arctangent (UK), 12 Points (Sweden) and Match & Fuse (France/UK), with media coverage from BBC Radio, WNYC, Swedish National Radio, All About Jazz & The Guardian.
He is an Arts & Humanities artist-in-residence for 2018-19 at UCD Parity Studios, and has studied music at Trinity College Dublin, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Queen’s University Belfast. He was Guitar Fellow for the 2017 Bang On A Can Summer Music Festival in the US, and the group’s 2016 academy at Villa Musica in Germany , performing in works by resident composers Michael Gordon & Louis Andriessen.
His upcoming composer residency with Crash Ensemble consists of a multi-section composition for ensemble, drawing abstract and direct inspiration from evolutionary processes and soundscape ecology, and exposing contrasts and uncanny commonalities between ‘wild’ sounds in nature and human-made music and machinery. His exploratory approach to the guitar provides a connective tissue for this sprawling work which unites Crash's affinity for vivid sonic colours with their powerful rhythmic drive.