2016 – Current Queen’s University Belfast, PhD in Music Composition, supervised by Professor Piers Hellawell
2015 – 2016 Cardiff University, MA Music Composition: Distinction
2012 – 2015 Queen’s University Belfast, BMus Music: First Class Honours
BASCA member (British Academy of Songwriters, Composer and Arrangers)
Supported Artist by Help Musicians UK
Anselm McDonnell is a third-year PhD composition student studying under Professor Piers Hellawell at QUB. His instrumental and choral works often integrate extended techniques and theatrical elements such as vocalisation or stage directions alongside more conventional writing to increase the dramatic impact of the work. His work has been performed in Japan, Russia, France and various locations around the UK and Ireland, with his first American premiere taking place in New York, December 2018.
Anselm’s music has worked with ensembles such as the BBC Singers, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, St. Salvator’s Chapel Choir, HRSE, The Assembly Project, Grosvenor Chorale, Ficino Ensemble, Rosetta Contemporary Music Ensemble (Japan) and Gallery of Actual Music Ensemble (Russia). He has also worked collaboratively with individual performers: guitarist Chris Roberts, Andrew Budden from Psappha and Laura Sinnerton from the BBC NOW. Competitively, Anselm was privileged to be a finalist in the Peter Rosser Composition Award run by the HRSE (twice, in 2015 and 2018) and to receive 1st prize in the Feis Ceoil Choral Composition Competition 2017 and the Chamber Ensemble Competition 2018. In July 2018 a collection of his choral works was awarded first prize in the 3rd International Kastalsky Choral Writing Competition, with the possibility of a performance in Moscow. His first recorded choral piece, ‘Hinneni’ was commercially released by the St. Salvatore’s Chapel Choir on a CD celebrating the music of Sir James MacMillan, ‘Annunciations’. ‘Hinneni’ was performed by the choir on tour in venues in Paris, London and Edinburgh. The CD is available from Presto Classical.
2018 saw several international performances: in May the Russian premiere of a chamber trio that was selected for the final of the 3rd International Sergei Slonimsky Competition in St. Petersburg. In August 2018, two of the movements from Anselm’s suite for guitar ‘Eyewitnesses of His Majesty’ received their East Asian premiere in Kyoto, Japan. Choral works also formed a major part of Anselm’s musical activity in 2018. In November, a new commission for Belfast based choir Cantiunculae will be performed as the centrepiece for a concert commemorating the centenary of World War 1, and in December the C4 choir will perform A Slave in the Land of Liberty in Manhattan, a world premiere and Anselm’s first American performance. Anselm has also been commissioned by the Rhinegold publication Choir & Organ to write a new work for Easter 2019, which will be printed in the magazine and available to choirs internationally.