Ukeoirn O'Connor

Ukeoirn O’Connor works in what he calls “the mix of it all,” blending a rigorous concern for ethnomusicology with a deft improvisational approach into a practice of composition and performance that seeks to bring the multicultural tensions and energies of an increasingly globalised world into a musical dynamism that looks at the same time back and ahead, across the world and right at home, inside, outside, even upside down. He is a composer and musician who began his career drawing pictures. He is a hard-working improviser known for his innovative scores. O’Connor works to explode the definitions he finds himself struggling with, like Irish, Japanese, composer, performer, experimental and traditional, in the attempt to blend and mix things not into a bland monocultural pap but rather a lively, complex relation.  

Born in 1972 in Dublin, Ireland, Ukeoirn O’Connor studied Fine Arts at the National College of Art and Design, graduating in 1995. He began his artistic career as a painter and visual artist, but after meeting Flor Hartigan he realized that his lifelong love for music could be explored in a much more innovative and interesting way than he’d previously realised. He started playing, improvising and composing experimental music and never looked back. O’Connor tends to work with extended instrumental and vocal techniques, microtones, rhythmic drone structures and noise, and is keenly interested in exploring intercultural musical collaboration and confluence.

O’Connor is a prolific composer and performer, active in both Irish and international circles. He regularly improvises and performs with a variety of groups and musicians, including Oh! Number, Cáca Milis, Kenta Nagaro, Caoimhín Ó Murchú, Slavek Kwi, Chris Forsyth and X-Tract. His work has been commissioned by the South Dublin County Council, the Sligo New Music Festival, the Bozzini Quartet, the Dublin Fringe Festival and Apartment House, among others, and has been performed at the Kilkenny Arts Festival (Kilkenny, Ireland), the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (Huddersfield, UK), the International Contemporary Music Festival (Vilnius, Lithuania) and elsewhere. He has held residencies at Bord Bia (Germany) and the Skellig Arts Centre (Ireland). He has received grants and awards from the Arts Council of Ireland, the Fingal County Council and Culture Ireland.    

Some of O’Connor’s most recent works include Three Songs, bipbipbipbipbidilee bam bam, “ohno!” at last, wandering, NOW you for to go and TETSUOROURKE. He currently lives in Rathfarnam and works as a forester for Coillte Teoranta.