David Fennessey

ARTFORMS: Music , Composition


Originally from Ireland, David Fennessy came to Scotland to pursue postgraduate study in composition at the RSAMD, Glasgow. He was considered to be amongst the very top group of students. David – who went to the same school as Damien Rice - learned to read music relatively late in life (15) having, up until then, played electric guitar in rock bands. David’s first contact with ‘classical’ music was when he saw a man playing classical guitar in a Dublin street. He asked him to teach him classical guitar.

David’s work has already received critical acclaim. He was shortlisted twice for the International Gaudeamus Music Prize in Amsterdam. His work has been performed in Ireland, Europe, Australia, South America and the US by a huge number of orchestras and ensembles, including the RSNO, SCO and Hebrides Ensemble. His String Quartet performed by the Endymion Ensemble will receive its London premiere in the Purcell Room, South Bank in London.

David has won a place – one of only two composers to achieve this – on the brand new Masters course run by the world-renowned International Ensemble Modern Academy, in Frankfurt. This offers him an unparalleled opportunity to work with some of the finest interpreters of new music in the world today and for his music to reach wider audiences. The experience will have a profound significance on David’s development as an artist.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help support David financially for his year’s study in Frankfurt.

Since the Award

David writes that "in terms of my development as an artist one of the biggest advantages of receiving the Dewar Award was the time it allowed me to focus solely on my own work without the commercial pressures and expectations of the 'concert world'."

Since returning to Glasgow, David has finished several commissions, completed a residency at the Tokyo Wonder Site, Japan and had his work performed in many venues. He writes that since studying in Frankfurt "my career has entered what I feel is an exciting new stage of development."

Thank you very much for your offer. I can't tell you what a big difference this will make to my stay here in Frankfurt in terms of being able to concentrate fully on what I am here to do.