Frank Corcoran

‘The loss of the culture in Ireland is why I am interested in mythopoetic remembrance and imagination.’

Born 1944 in Borrisokane, Tipperary, Frank Corcoran studied philosophy, music, ancient languages and theology at the National University of Ireland Maynooth, University College Dublin and the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome. Further studies in composition were undertaken with Boris Blacher in Berlin. In 1980, he took up a composer fellowship the Berliner Künstlerprogramm. In the 1980s, he taught in Berlin, Stuttgart and Hamburg, where he was Professor of Composition and Theory at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater. He was a Fulbright Visiting Professor and a Fulbright Scholar in the U.S. in 1989 and 1990, and has been a guest lecturer at, among others, CalArts, Harvard University, the University of Wisconsin (Madison), University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee), Princeton University and New York University. Corcoran’s output includes orchestral, choral, chamber and electroacoutic music. His Joycepeak – Musik won the Studio Akustische Kunst 1995, Sweeney’s Vision won the Bourges Festival Premier Prix in 1999, and Quasi Una Missa won the 2002 Swedish E.M.S. Prize. Two Unholy Haikus took first prize at the Cork International Choral Festival in 2012 and his Eight Haikus was awarded first prize at the International Foundation for Choral Music in 2013. Corcoran’s music has been performed by the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Crash Ensemble (Dublin), the Cantus Chamber Orchestra (Zagreb), Wireworks Ensemble (Hamburg), the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and Antipodes (Switzerland), among many other ensembles and orchestras. He is a founding member of Aosdána and lives in Hamburg and Italy.

Photograph Tony Carragher. Frank Corcoran at his home in Pratoleva, Viterbo, Italy, 15 July 2013.

See also:

Selected Works

Two Meditations for Speaker and Orchestra (1973)


Nine Medieval Irish Epigrams (1973)


Three Pieces for Orchestra (1974 rev 1976)


Piano Trio (1978)


Symphonies of Symphonies of Wind Instruments (1981)


Music from the Book of Kells (1990)


Quasi una Missa (1999)



Short film by Mark Linnane commissioned and produced by CMC on the occasion of the composer’s 70th birthday in 2014

Frank Corcoran talking with Tristan Rosenstock

Selected articles

Benjamin Dwyer, “Joycean Aesthetics, Ethnic Memory and Mythopoetic Imagination in the Music of Frank Corcoran,” in COLONY!joyceanaesthetics/csdx