Show members' view

“One of the very best amateur groups in the country”

Classical Music Magazine

“The most professional-sounding of non-professional orchestras”

The Sunday Telegraph

“Kensington Symphony Orchestra once again scores over most professional orchestras”

Classical Source

Seán Doherty

Seán Doherty

Seán Doherty (b. 1987)

Seán (b. 1987) played the fiddle music of his native Derry and Donegal before reading music at St John’s College, Cambridge, after which he completed a PhD in musicology at Trinity College, University of Dublin. His thesis traced the history of the four-syllable method of solmization, known as ‘solfaing’, devised by the Dublin-born William Bathe (1564–1614). Seán also lectured in counterpoint and Baroque music history at Trinity College, Dublin, has written articles on seventeenth-century composers and organists for the Encyclopedia of Music in Ireland, and in 2010 was awarded one of the two top prizes at the inaugural Early Music Scholars Competition in San Francisco with his transcription of an anonymous five-voice setting of the Eastertide antiphon Vidi aquam from the Lambeth choir-book.

In addition to his musicological interests, Seán is a composer. He has won the Feis Ceoil choral composition award three times—in 2009 with his setting of A Quiet Poem by Frank O’Hara, and in 2011 with a setting of the chant fragment Ibunt sancti, and in 2014 with his setting of Dreams by Lola Ridge.

In 2011 he won the Jerome Hynes Composition competition, which saw his piece long after sudden flash premiered at the National Concert Hall, Ireland, by the pianist Fiachra Garvey. In 2012 he was commissioned by the Legacy Trust UK to compose an opera, Number Seven, for the Cultural Olympiad, part of the 2012 London Olympics, in collaboration with author Carlo Gébler. In 2012 he was commissioned by Arts Council of Northern Ireland to compose Doire for the choir Codetta to celebrate Derry-Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013. Also in 2012 he won the St Giles’s Cathedral Edinburgh composition competition for his piece Jubilate Deo, and the Choir and Organ Magazine composition competition for his piece Blessed be that Maid Marie.

In 2013 he won the Fragments Composition Award in association with Historic Scotland for his piece Et clamabant, was commissioned by Derry-Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013 to compose his second opera, Totalled, also with libretto by Gébler, was a finalist in the National Centre of Early Music Composition Competition in association with BBC Radio 3 for his piece Springar, as well as being awarded the West Cork Chamber Music Festival Young Composers’ Bursary for his piece Retreat. In 2014 he was supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to compose his String Quartet No. 2 for the Prima Quartet, for which he was again awarded the West Cork Chamber Music Festival Young Composers’ Bursary. Also in 2014, he was commissioned by Cavan County Council to compose a choral work for the opening of the centre at the UNESCO Geopark with text by the poet Heather Brett.

Seán is a member of the Irish Composers’ Collective, the Association of Irish Composers, and is represented by the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland. He is the co-ordinator of the Exceptionally Talented programme of Music Promise, part of Derry-Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013.

Seán has been paired with the Kensington Symphony Orchestra, London, as part of PRS Foundation for Music’s Adopt a Composer programme, in association with Making Music, Sound and Music, and BBC Radio 3. His mentor for the project will be the composer Fraser Trainer. The piece will be premiered on 19 May 2015 at Milton Court, The Barbican, London.

KSO performance history

Hive Mind (world première, Making Music commission)    2014-15 Season