Award-winning Dublin composer for finding inspiration in James Joyce’s Ulysses

A Dublin composer was inspired by James Joyce’s Ulysses for his latest piece.

Daragh Black Hynes won the prestigious Seán Ó Riada composition competition at the Cork International Choral Festival this year.

His composition ‘Behind This Light’ blew the judges away and will be performed at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork on Friday April 29.

Read more: First edition of Ulysse on sale for more than €30,000 in the magical Blackrock bookstore

The guitarist studied at DIT and then moved to Beijing to complete a master’s degree in composition.

He then completed a PhD at TU Dublin with Gráinne Mulvey.

Daragh told Dublin Live he has a wide range of influences growing across all genres.

He said: “I started playing guitar when I was about 12. It would have been rock music. Jimi Hendrix was my hero when I was a kid. That’s how I got in. in music. Later, I took up classical guitar.

“I started learning classical guitar as a teenager.”

He believes Joyce’s infamous novel was just as inspiring to him as a Dublin artist in 2022 as it was when it was written.

Daragh said: “I wanted to write a piece based on Joyce from the start. Initially I looked at chamber music – the collection of poems he wrote.

“It was earlier in his career. It was sort of these short love poems. Most of them though were a bit short for a five-minute track.

“I was more drawn to Odysseus. It’s the real big one. It’s also Odysseus’ centenary this year, so it was fine.

“I had to select a text from the book. There is so much great material to use.

“I first read Ulysses when I was in my twenties.

“I love his style. It’s so abstract and dreamlike. It suits so well as inspiration for music.

Daragh joins a list of highly regarded composers who have won the Sean O’Riada Competition.

He had to enter his work under a pseudonym, his name only being revealed once the judge made his final decision.

He said: “It’s a big honour. I just took part and hoped for the best. I was shocked when I saw that I had won. It’s a great thing to be part of .

“I’m in the company of winners from previous years, and it’s wonderful to have the chance to take part in the Cork International Choral Festival. I found the process of putting Joyce’s text to music incredibly inspiring, and I absolutely delighted that the work will be premiered by the brilliant Chamber Choir Ireland.”

Daragh thinks Dublin artists are still holding their own on a global scale, a century after 100 years after people first read The Adventures of Leopold Bloom.

He said: “Ireland has always punched above its weight artistically and culturally.

“We’re known for that. Even if you look at the number of Nobel laureates we have for such a small place.

“Ulysses himself is the ultimate work of modern literature.”

Read more: Sweny’s historic chemist celebrates 100 years of James Joyce’s Ulysses with special readings

Read more: Ulysses app lets Dubliners explore the city through the eyes of Leopold Bloom

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