Barry O'Halpin

Barry O’Halpin is a Dublin-based electric guitarist and composer. 

First working with Crash as a composer in their 2014 Free State concert, he has become a regular performer. Highlights have included premieres of works by Tansy Davies and Ann Cleare, festival appearances at Gaida (Lithuania), Sounds from a Safe Harbour (Cork) & Kilkenny Arts, and recordings of works by Donnacha Dennehy & Christopher Mayo.

At New Music Dublin 2016 Barry played with Crash in his own piece Lipids, originally written for and toured by the group in their 2015 Born in the 80s composer showcase.

From beginnings immersed in experimental rock, electronica and jazz influences, Barry found himself gradually drawn into the contemporary classical world as a hybrid composer-performer. A tactile fascination with unique timbres, techniques and microtonal tunings has shaped his exploratory approach to the role of the electric guitar in the midst of the chamber ensemble. 

He has performed with Kirkos Ensemble (Dublin) & Bastard Assignments (UK) and his music has been played by Kirkos, Rarescale, Fishamble Sinfonia, ConTempo Quartet, Michelle O’Rourke, and BINARY. He is a selected composer in Chamber Choir Ireland’s 2018 Choral Sketches project.

His band Alarmist have built an international following since 2011, with 3 records reaching Bandcamp’s top 30 experimental and math rock charts worldwide and festival slots including Ottawa Jazz 2015, Match & Fuse (UK/France) & 12 Points (Sweden/Ireland). Coverage has included BBC Radio, WNYC, Guardian, Sunday Times. 

He was Guitar Fellow at Bang On A Can’s Summer Music Festival 2017 (US) and their 2016 Villa Musica academy (Germany), performing in numerous works including those by composers in attendance Louis Andriessen and Michael Gordon, and receiving mentoring from faculty such as Mark Stewart (guitar) & Ken Thomson (sax), and Vicki Ray (piano).

He holds an MMus (Distinction) in Composition from Trinity Laban Conservatoire, and a First Class Honors BA in Music from Trinity College Dublin, where he studied with Crash founder Donnacha Dennehy. He is currently a pursuing a PhD at Queen’s University Belfast with Simon Mawhinney.