John Buckley

05 Buckley‘Musical compositions are no fit place to make commentaries on music.’

Born in Templeglantine, Co. Limerick in 1951, John Buckley studied flute with Doris Keogh and composition with James Wilson at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. His subsequent composition studies were in Cardiff with the Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott and with John Cage. He has written a diverse range of work, from solo instruments to full orchestra and his catalogue now extends to in excess of 100 works, which have been performed and broadcast in more than fifty countries worldwide. His compositions have represented Ireland on five occasions at the International Rostrum of Composers and at five ISCM festivals. Amongst his awards are the Varming Prize (1977), the Macaulay Fellowship (1978), the Arts Council’s Composers’ Bursary (1982) and the Toonder Award (1991). In 1984, he was elected a member of Aosdána, Ireland’s state sponsored academy of creative artists. His music has been recorded on the Anew, Altarus, Black Box, Marco Polo, Lyric FM, Atoll, Diatribe and Celestial Harmonies labels. He has made numerous broadcasts on music and music education for RTÉ and Lyric fm. He has been awarded both a PhD and a DMus by the National University of Ireland and is active as a lecturer on composition and music in education. He is on the staff of St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Dublin. A monograph on his life and work, Constellations: The Life and Music of John Buckley, by Benjamin Dwyer, was published in 2011 by Carysfort Press.

Photograph: Tony Carragher. John Buckley at his home in Dublin, 12 October 2009.

See also: composer page on

Selected works

Oileáin (1979) for piano


Chamber Concerto (1981)


Time Piece (1982) for ensemble


I Am Wind on Sea (1987) for mezzo and percussion


In Winter Light – concerto for Flute and Orchestra (2004)


Winter Echoes (2008) for flute


Sea Echoes (2008) for flute


To Lands Beyond Time (2013) for flute, viola and harp



John Buckley talks about his programme for the RTÉ Horizons concert in 2009

Further reading

Benjamin Dwyer, Constellations—The Life and Music of John Buckley (

A Mirror up to Nature—The Fourth Seamus Heaney Lectures (Carysfort Press) (