Darragh Kearns-Hayes was born in Cork, Ireland in 1990. He studied piano and music theory at the Cork School of Music from an early age and graduated there with a first class honours bachelor’s degree in 2013. His studies there were very broad but he gravitated towards composition, as it provided the creative outlet with the least limitations. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in composition at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, studying with Wim Henderickx and Richard Ayres.
A strong interest in collaboration and in other media often drive Darragh’s creative processes. Nature, fantasy and his own personal experiences are among the themes he draws inspiration from.
Recently Darragh has become increasingly interested in Irish traditional music. He performs regularly with his trio Lyda, playing traditional repertoire and original compositions. He has experimented with transferring traditional Irish forms into classical contexts, from small ensembles up to symphony orchestras. He is interested in utilising aesthetics from traditional music, communicating his music to instrumentalists orally and work-shopping material.
Past collaborators include the Irish National Symphony Orchestra, Orkest de Ereprijs and Conservatorium van Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, amongst others. Upcoming projects include a large-scale dance piece based on emperor penguins, which will premiere in the Composers’ Festival Amsterdam in May.
For Is Cuimhin Liom, Darragh collaborates with Sarah Jeffery.
Sarah Jeffery (1985, Derbyshire) is a recorder player and clog dancer based in Amsterdam. Having graduated cum laude from her master studies at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Sarah explores the combination of percussive clog dance, live electronics, improvisation and theatrical aspects with contemporary recorder playing. Sarah is an experienced teacher and workshop leader, and writes for publications such as Tempo and Blokfluitist.
In 2007 Sarah gained a first class honours degree in music at the Birmingham Conservatoire in England, under the tuition of Ross Winters and Annabel Knight. She then went on to study at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in the Netherlands, with Jorge Isaac and Paul Leenhouts, completing their bachelor programme in 2010. During her subsequent master studies there, Sarah concentrated on exploring the combination of percussive clog dance, live electronics, South-Indian Carnatic improvisation and theatrical aspects with contemporary recorder playing. She graduated cum laude in 2013.
As well as her classical studies, Sarah also has deep roots in British folk music and dance. She is actively working with English clogging as a contemporary percussion instrument, developing this traditional dance form into a medium for rhythmic and theatrical expression. Sarah both develops such choreographies herself, and in collaboration with composers. She has performed with clogs and electronics at venues such as Sonorities festival Belfast, hcmf// UK, NEU/NOW festival Glasgow, the Gaudeamus concert series and STEIM Amsterdam.