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A selection of reviews for composer, Siobhán Cleary

The beautiful closing concert by Estonian choir Vox Clamantis under Jaan-Eik Tulve included Siobhán Cleary’s new Storm in Devon, with an impressive opening: pure and penetrating, high, dissonance clashes held in perfect balance.

- Irish Times 2022

Elisaveta Blumina pulls off an excellent performance of a Chaconne by Siobhán Cleary. Cleary’s composition is a compelling study in stasis and movement.

Gramophone July 2013 


Siobhán Cleary's Theophilus Thistle & The Myth of Miss Muffet, an enthralling compendium of tongue-twisters in languages ranging from the standard European tongues to such dialects as Frisian, Occitan, Basque, Galecian and Cornish, sung, chanted, spoken on pitches, whispered and shouted. Daniel Hathaway - Cleveland Classical 

Siobhán Cleary’s ‘Andalusian Dog’ deserves special mention. Conceived as music for the Bunuel film of the same name, the work (congenially interpreted by Egidius Streiff) provides an echo to its visual source,working out the simultaneity of beauty and absurdity with strongly expressive Smorzandi.

Der Bund (Switzerland)


The work which came across most successfully was Siobhan Cleary's Hum! (text by Gerald Beirne) The music, stormy at first, and finally richly contrapuntal, acts like a Greek chorus, commenting on the dialogue, but not accompanying it. , Hum! is a neat coup de theatre.

The Irish Times

Battologisms, spoonerisms and shibboleths. They’re all types of word-game, hard enough to twist your tongue around at the best of times. But have you ever tried singing them? In two dozen different languages and dialects? While occasionally stamping your feet in accompaniment?That’s the daunting challenge set by the Dublin composer, Siobhán Cleary, in Theophilus Thistle & The Myth of Miss Muffet, a commission written for the Cork International Choral Festival in 2011. It’s given a dazzlingly virtuosic performance by the National Chamber Choir of Ireland as part of their Moving on Music concert in St Thomas’s Parish Church, Belfast, entitled Love and Other Nonsense.The choir has 16 members, each one of whom needs to be sharply on cue for the complicated parts included in Cleary's work. They never falter, catching the bubbling musical and intellectual energies of the piece with verve and aplomb, and etching in its frequent shafts of humour with wry assurance.There is sibilant sighing in Theophilus, tongues clacking, and at one point the sopranos sound as though they’ve inhaled significant quantities of voice-squeaking helium. It’s a tour de force of 21st century vocal chicanery, a clever and richly entertaining composition.

Terry Blain

Cokaygne. Cleary’s evocatively veiled opening is tethered around the note D, and as the temperature and volume rise, some instruments move microtonally around it, while others lock into more conventional melodic patterns before the obsession moves upwards and finally settles on an E flat. The music is cast as a kind of dark, obsessive, scarcely relenting, almost tortured celebration.

Michael Dervan Irish Times

THE RTE NSO's adventurous and free-admission "Horizons" series, which has an Irish focus in an international setting, began under Colman Pearce at the National Concert Hall this week. The first programme centred on 34-year-old Dublin-born Siobhan Cleary through her 'Threads' and 'Alchemy'. From a simple opening, 'Threads' developed into a canvas of considerable dancing density, contrasted by a kind of elegy with sighing woodwind and tortured strings. In 'Alchemy', while effectively using the orchestra's four main divisions separately, Ms Cleary combined her forces assuredly en masse. Like 'Threads', the piece had its base in music of a much earlier era, which Ms Cleary cleverly transformed into contemporary currency.

—  Irish Independent.

Siobhan Cleary's Petering Out transforms the potential of the sopranino recorder through the use of live electronics, which can multiply a single line like a controllable crazy mirror.

—  Irish Times

Pipoon: Cleary’s piece captures the freezing, soundless vastness of the North American landscape with its sparse but strongly evocative interplay of cello and harp......I’m quite fond of ‘haiku’ aesthetics and I think Cleary’s Pipoon created one of the most captivating moments of the festival


By choosing the middle-English text Elde (Old Age), Siobhán Cleary has deftly placed issues of word-setting at a safe distance. Though this quaint medieval doggerel has a translatable meaning (incontinence, loss of hair, teeth and libido, and so on), its extinct vocabulary also makes for some handy onomatopoeia. The words thus have a symbolic function that doesn't impinge on Cleary's half-sung, half-spoken, abstract setting. The NCC gave it its first performance with conviction, holding out some promise for the use in live, real-time choral music of collage techniques developed in the sound-editing studio.

 Irish Times

An excellent programme and superlative playing marked the first concert promoted by Ireland Promoting New Music. IPNM is the brainchild of composer Siobhán Cleary, who devised the programme.......This piece [ Carrowkeel quickly made its own mark. Its sense of craft is strong, it has ideas, and the rhythmic and harmonic energy are striking.

Martin Adams, Irish Times

Sligo-based composer Siobhán Cleary's pared-to-bare-essentials style was well represented in the harsh chorale of Suantraí, a "broken-hearted lullaby" for solo piano, and Carrowkeel, a kind of latter-day, sectionalised baroque fantasia with Arvo Pärtish outer sections framing a sometimes highly-energised toccata-like core.

Michael Dervan, Irish Times

Siobhán Cleary's Son of a Red-haired Man pounds the keyboard with all the pleasure of that 1920s bad boy of music, George Antheil.

Michael Dervan, Irish Times

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