Donnacha Dennehy has received commissions from the BBC, WNYC (Public Radio New York), RTE, Amsterdam Funds Voor der Kunst, the Arts Councils of both England and Ireland, and from many individual ensembles, particularly in Holland. Noted performers of his work include Bang On A Can All-Stars, Crash Ensemble, Electra, Ensemble Integrales, Jenny Lin London Sinfonietta, Joanna MacGregor, Orkest de Volharding, Percussion Group of the Hague, Prism Saxophone Quartet, and San Francisco Contemporary Music Players among many others. He has also enjoyed collaborations with artists working in video and dance, for instance with the choreographers Yoshiko Chuma and Shobana Jeyasingh, and the video artist John Gerrard.
He studied music composition at Trinity College Dublin and at the University of Illinois, USA, where his main teachers were Salvatore Martirano and William Brooks. He pursued further studies in electronic music at the Hague, and at IRCAM, Paris. He now lectures in music technology and composition at Trinity College Dublin. Returning to Ireland, he founded the Crash Ensemble in 1997 to concentrate on the newest music exploiting multimedia. Among the pieces premiered in Crash's first concert was a piece that Donnacha specially wrote for the group called 'Junk Box Fraud'. This in many ways marked a significant shift in his compositional style.
His work has been featured in festivals such as ISCM World Music Days, Bang On A Can in New York, Sonic Evolutions Festival at Lincoln Center, Wien Modern, EXPO 2000 in Germany, the Ultima Festival in Oslo, Bath International Music Festival, Saarbrucken Festival, Fuse Leeds, the Gaudeamus Festival in Amsterdam, and State of the Nation at the South Bank.
Recent premieres include 'HIVE' (2005) commissioned by BBC Radio3 for the Ulster Orchestra and the National Chamber Choir of Ireland, and 'Elastic Harmonic', commissioned by RTE for a premiere performance on TV by the National Symphony Orchestra and Ioana Petcu-Colan. 'The Weathering', which was premiered at Lincoln Center in May 2004 by the Dutch group Electra, was described as being 'viscerally thrilling' by the New York Times.
Upcoming commissions include pieces for Iarla O'Lionard and the Crash Ensemble (to be premiered in Merkin Hall, New York), the pianist Lisa Moore (of Bang On A Can), the Icebreaker ensemble of England, and the Ereprijs Ensemble in the Netherlands. Future releases of his work are planned in Amsterdam and New York, and a full length CD of his music will be released by NMC records in England in 2007.