Dominic McGonigal

Dominic McGonigal, composer

Dominic McGonigal’s work has been described as “beautiful music” and “confident writing for instruments and voices, great textures and a perfect sense of spacing and pacing.”

His work, Ave Maris Stella Takes Flight, recently won the Palimpsest Competition. It has been recorded by Canterbury Cathedral Choir with Sam Corkin (sax) and the album Palimpsest was released on Signum Classics in September 2023.

Last year, he was commissioned by the London Medical Orchestra to write a symphony. The Cathedral Symphony (inspired by cathedral architecture) will be premiered by the orchestra on 7 July 2024. Other recent projects include Chazal, written for Vittoria Ecclesia to explore the unique sounds of the early clarinet (premiere, Tallinn, April 2024) and a major song cycle for indigenous South American tenor Rafael Montero for a tour in Germany.

Dominic found his voice as a composer with the Missa Et Incarnatus Est, a large work for 8-part choir, soloists and instrumental ensemble. This led to two commissions from Pat Halling to write string quartets for the Quartet Pro Musica which which have since been recorded. Vocal group Fever Pitch commissioned him to write a new piece for their Christmas repertoire, which resulted in In The Beginning, premiered at a major charity event in St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden and later performed in Southwark Cathedral. Recent commissions include a setting of the song La Fleur des Eaux for tenor and orchestra, Theorbo Chaser for theorbo duet, 345 for brass quintet, Some Stranger Somewhere for choir a cappella and Pachamama Regina Caeli which was premiered by tenor Rafael Montero and baroque guitarist Fabio Fernandes in June 2023.

A new ensemble of six sopranos, Philomel, commissioned him to write Night Song for their inaugural concert in November 2017. So began an artistic collaboration with poet Euan Tait and a second commission for Philomel, Rhythm Herd, premiered by Philomel in November 2017. His Ave Maria à 10 was selected for a workshop by the BBC Singers with Judith Weir. Future projects include a piece for large orchestra and a wind trio including improvisation.

After training as a chorister, Dominic McGonigal read music at King’s College, Cambridge where he sang bass in King’s Chapel Choir, including the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols broadcast to several hundred million people around the world. He then combined a career in the music business with performing and conducting, including appointments as musical director of W11 Opera, COMA Voices, Stoneleigh Choral Society, the Church of St Anselm & St Cecilia in Holborn, Opera Spezzata and EJMS Big Band. Besides composing, Dominic McGonigal is also a conductor, singer (bass) and instrumentalist (cello and tuba). He is regularly engaged to perform in London and Brussels. His conducting has prompted comments such as “…amazed by the conducting…a wonderful way with singers…”

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