updated 26 September 2022
© Blackie Bouffant

Jennifer Walshe

Irish composer born 1 July 1974 in Dublin.

Having played the trumpet as a child in youth orchestras in Ireland, Jennifer Walshe began studying composition with John Maxwell Geddes at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and then with Kevin Volans in Dublin. She completed her dissertation in composition from Northwestern University in Chicago in 2002. It was during her studies that she became interested in American experimental traditions and discovered two composer-performers who would inform her artistic research: Laurie Anderson and Diamanda Galás. Walshe is a composer, singer (several of her pieces are written for her own voice), improviser, actor, feminist, and animalist. Her work is at the crossroads of poetry (her mother was a writer) and theatrical, political, and musical performance.

In 2003–2004, she was in residence at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart. The following year, she lived in Berlin as a guest of the DAAD Artists-in-Residence Program. From 2006 to 2008, she was composer-in-residence in South Dublin County for the art program “In Context 3.” In 2009 she lived in Venice as a guest of the Claudio Buziol Foundation.

Walshe has taught at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart, where she co-created the master’s degree in Theory and Practice of Experimental Performance. She has also taught at the Darmstadt Summer School, the Venice Biennale, and Ostrava Days. In 2019, she was elected to the Berlin Academy of Arts and the following year to Aosdána, the Irish academy of artists. In 2021, she was appointed Professor of Composition at Oxford University.

Her works have been performed by the Arditti Quartet, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Klangforum Wien, ensemble recherche, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Orchestra Sinfonica del Teatro La Fenice, Nadar Ensemble, Ensemble Resonanz, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Plus-Minus, Crash Ensemble, Ensemble Ascolta, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the Irish Youth Wind Ensemble, Quatuor Bozzini, and Musica Nova Ensemble, among others. They have been heard at festivals such as Ultraschall, Transit, Ars Musica, Ultima, Wien Modern, Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, Donaueschingen, and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

Walshe’s music features electronics with a spotlight on the voice, for which she has developed various performance techniques. Her catalog includes numerous operas, including TIME TIME TIME (2019), Die Taktik (2012), The Geometry (2009), and XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! (2003), an opera for Barbie dolls on the theme of rape, in the vein of Mozart’s and Haydn’s marionette operas.

The composer is also at the origin of several large-scale projects. One is the artistic collective Grúpat, created in 2007 and composed of twelve of her alter egos. The group has created installations, graphic scores, films, photographs, sculptures, and costumes. Another is the database Post-Internet Sound, developed with Holly Herndon and which seeks to document the relationship of artists to the Internet. Finally, the database Aisteach explores a fictional history of the Irish avant-garde since the mid-nineteenth century. In this collection, she questions what constitutes the artistic canon. By featuring many female and queer artists, Aisteach (which is Irish for “strange” or “queer”) carries a message as well as a political project.

Walshe’s work has been released by various labels including Mere Records, Interval Recordings, Farpoint Recordings, and Migro.

Grants and Awards

  • BASCA British Composer Award for Innovation, 2016
  • Praetorius Music Prize for Composition from the Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur, 2008
  • Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York, 2007
  • Kranichsteiner Musikpreis at the Darmstädter Ferienkurse, 2000

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2022


Site de la compositrice, Journal of music, ZKM, The New Yorker, The Wire

Liens internet

(liens vérifiés en septembre 2022).



  • Jennifer WALSHE, « A Late Anthology of Early Music Vol. 1: Ancient to Renaissance », Tetbind, 2020.
  • Jennifer WALSHE, « ALL THE MANY PEOPLS », Migro, 2019.
  • « Ludo Mich with Jennifer Walshe and W. Ravenveer », Hypnagogic Tapes, 2018.
  • Jennifer WALSHE, « Caoimhín Breathnach’s The Golden Cassette », Aisteach, 2017.
  • Brian IRVINE & Jennifer WALSHE, « 13 Vices [Live] », NMC Recordings, 2017.
  • Jennifer Walshe & Aisteach, « Historical Documents of the Irish Avant-Garde », Migro, 2015.
  • Jennifer WALSHE, The Total Mountain dans « Donaueschinger Musiktage 2014 », Neos, 2015.
  • Panos GHIKAS & Jennifer WALSHE, « Good Teeth », Migro, 2013.
  • Jennifer WALSHE, Moving In/Love Song/City Front Garden With Old Men dans « stock11: 3 », Auf Abwegen, 2013.
  • Jennifer WALSHE, « Nature Data », Interval Recordings, 2010.
  • Jennifer WALSHE, « Freya Birren’s Libris Solar », Farpoint Recordings, 2010.
  • Jennifer WALSHE & Tomomi ADACHI, « Live @ WKCR », Kukuruku Recordings, 2010.
  • Jennifer WALSHE, « XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! », Apartment House, Mere Records, 2009.
  • Grúpat & Jennifer WALSHE, « The Wasistas of Thereswhere », Tetbind, 2009.
  • Grúpat & Jennifer WALSHE, « Songtags », Tetbind, 2009.
  • Jennifer WALSHE, ná déan NÍL CEAD, Ensemble Resonanz, dans « Wittener Tage Für Neue Kammermusik 2002 », Kulturforum Witten, 2002.
  • Jennifer WALSHE & David RYTHER, as mo cheann, dans « 40. Darmstadt Internationale Ferienkurse Für Neue Musik 2000 », col legno, 2002.