Michael McGlynn, Composer & Artistic Director of ANÚNA.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1964. He came late to choral music, singing in his first choir at the age of nineteen. Despite the rich and sophisticated musical forms that lie at the centre of Irish traditional music, choral music does not exist as part of that tradition. His love of traditional song and the literary culture of his homeland led him to create the choral ensemble ANÚNA, Ireland's National Choir in 1987 as both a vehicle for his compositions and a unique choral form for Ireland.
Michael's compositional language combines elements of Irish and medieval modality with a contemporary sensibility. This is fused with chordal clusters and a distinctive melodic awareness influenced strongly by traditional Irish singing (sean nós).
Many of these elements can be heard in his “Agnus Dei” (2005), commissioned by Chanticleer and his short choral setting of the traditional text “Dúlamán” (1995). This piece fuses modality, alternating time signatures and medieval tonal colours in a unique fashion that is instantly recognisable as the work of McGlynn. Sung all over the world by ensembles it has, in many ways, defined an Irishness that has hitherto been absent from the world of choral music.
His choral work has been commissioned, recorded and performed by ensembles that include Rajaton, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, the Dale Warland Singers, Conspirare, the BBC Singers, Kansas City Chorale, Cantus, Phoenix Chorale and New York Polyphony. Recent choral commissions include "Amhrán na Gaoithe" for Chanticleer and "O pia virgo" for New York Polyphony which appears on their Grammy Nominated CD "Sing Thee Nowell". He has written songs in many genres, collaborating with The Wiggles, Elvis Costello and with country music legend Rodney Crowell. His album "Close Ties", released 2017, features a song written with Michael and features Crowell duetting with Sheryl Crow.
In February 2017 Michael directed, and composed a full choral score, for the Noh Theatre/ANÚNA collaborative performance of W.B. Yeats' play "At the Hawk's Well" entitled "Takahime" at the Orchard Hall, Tokyo in collaboration with Gensho Umewaka, Japanese National Treasure.
"Visions" for saxophone and piano, commissioned by Gerard McChrystal, has entered standard saxophone repertoire. His large-scale works include cantatas "Behind the Closed Eye", "Francis" and in 2009 & 2010 the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Ireland's state orchestral ensemble, presented an entire evening of his output at Dublin's National Concert Hall. He worked as composer and musical director on the Gate Theatre/Royal Court presentation of Chekov's Three Sisters which featured the Cusack family and was directed by Adrian Noble.
He was visiting Eminent Scholar at the Music Department of Florida Atlantic University (2011-2013) and in 2014 he participated in a series of concerts of his compositions given by two Grammy Award-Winning choral ensembles the Phoenix Chorale and Kansas City Chorale conducted by Charles Bruffy in Kansas and Phoenix, USA. In Autumn 2017 Kansas City Chorale will release a disc of Michael's compositions and arrangements.
Michael's specific vision for choral music has resulted in the hugely successful Anúna Education and Outreach programme. He has led workshops, seminars and lectured on his music and the ANÚNA Methodology of choral performance all over the world including at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and in March 2015 was invited to present a session dedicated to his work at the American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Salt Lake, Utah.
He founded and stewards the highly successful ANÚNA International Choral Summer School in Dublin, Ireland each June. Michael has acted as Chairman of the Jury at the International Early Music Vocal Competition Canticum Gaudium in Poznan, Poland. He has been an adjudicator at the Tampere Choral Festival (Finland) and the Tolosa Choral Festival (The Basque, Spain). In 2010 he was a guest-judge and vocal advisor for Finland's version of X Factor.
He has produced and recorded seventeen albums for the choir with ANÚNA (1993), Celtic Origins (2007) and Christmas Memories (2008) all featuring in the US Billboard Charts. Deep Dead Blue (1999) was nominated for a Classical Brit Award and went top five in the UK Classical Charts.
As a tenor soloist he specialises in early music repertoire, but he has also featured on a number one single in Ireland dueting with Jerry Fish on the track "True Friends". He is an enthusiastic film-maker with his feature-length Invocations of Ireland released on DVD in Australia [DV1] and Japan [Columbia], and broadcast across Australia and New Zealand on the Ovation Channel.
He lives in Dublin and is an ardent year-round sea swimmer.