Cork-born composer Irene Buckley is the sound designer for the Everyman Theatre’s current production of Juno and the Paycock, running until February 20. The production sets Sean O’Casey’s classic play in Cork.

Best recent book: I really enjoyed The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. It describes the creation of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, where the architect Daniel H Burnham created his famous landscape of white buildings. The first Ferris Wheel was created for this fair, by the American engineer George Ferris. I’ve always had an interest in architecture so this book appealed to me, but there also is a very dark side to this particular story.

Best recent film: I absolutely loved The Revenant. It is equally beautiful as it is gruesome. The cinematography is stunning and was shot in natural light. I particularly enjoyed the soundtrack, which is something I am always aware of. It was composed by Bryce Dessner, Alvo Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto and are not normally associated with film scores. I find that composers who come from different backgrounds can often bring a fresh new element to film scores.

Formats you access music: Mostly online, YouTube, Soundcloud and Bandcamp. I listen to the radio a lot too.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately: A piece I come back to time and time again is Duruflé’s Requiem. My brother Seamus introduced me to this piece about 20 years ago when he performed it with the National Youth Choir. I sing in the Voice Effect choir (conducted by John O’ Brien) and last year we performed the Requiem in Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral. It was a dream for me to be a part of it and I had no choice but to rope my brother back in to perform this with us!

First piece of music that really moved you: I have a vivid memory of hearing Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms for the first time in music class in secondary school. I remember thinking this music sounded very creepy and I loved it! It was a pivotal moment as it was then I discovered I loved music that sounded dark and strange. It was also a thrill to realise that sitting in class listening to this music was actual school work, because it didn’t feel like work at all.

Best gig you’ve ever seen: A few years ago I attended a Choral Composistion Course in Latvia. The Latvian Radio Choir, who were the choir in residence, performed for us in a little church in a tiny medieval town. I don’t know what the music was as I didn’t get a programme, but I remember thinking and feeling that this was the most beautiful music I had ever heard.

TV viewing: In general, I watch very little TV. But if I want to relax I might watch a TV programme that has something to do with building houses! (ie. Grand Designs).

Radio listening: I have been a huge fan of Lyric Fm’s The Blue of the Night for many years. I love being introduced to lots of new music and this show does that for me.

Your best celebrity encounter: It was great to meet Cillian Murphy at the Sounds from a Safe Harbour Festival last year. He’s a great actor and we are all very proud of him in Cork.

Three musical heroes: These keep changing, but at the moment Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi, Estonian composer Arvo Part and electronic artist Karen Gwyer.

Tech habits: I use a MacBook Pro for composing.

Unsung hero: Anyone who works with charities are heroes to me.

You are queen for a day — what’s your first decree? I would make sure all religions were taught from an early age in school, with an emphasis on the acceptance of all religions. If there was less ignorance, there would be less fear and hatred, and less war.


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