Ailbhe McDonagh is an Irish composer and cellist based in Dublin, Ireland. She is a member of the cello faculty of the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin.
Ailbhe began composing at an early age and won first prizes for composition at 'Feis Ceoil', (the Irish National Music Festival) and in the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin. While still at school the first of her pieces was published in 2002, when the RIAM Local Centre Examinations (Irish National Grade Examination System) included ‘Anastasia’ in their Grade 4 examination collection.
In addition to piano and cello, Ailbhe studied composition at university in Ireland. Following that, she took classes in composition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester NY while studying for her Master’s Degree in Performance on cello.
Ailbhe composes for all instruments and ensembles. As a cellist, she performs worldwide as a soloist and chamber musician and performs contemporary music regularly. Most well-known for her compositions for piano for children, Ailbhe has had numerous compositions published by the RIAM Examinations System resulting in her pieces being performed nationally by thousands of children in Ireland.
Chamber music commissions include works for the Great Music in Irish Houses Festival, Hamburg Chamber Music Festival, Calary Music Festival and the Appalachian Chamber Music Festival, USA.
In 2017, Ailbhe released two books of piano compositions for the beginner pianist called ‘It’s a Piano Thing’ Books 1 & 2 which were published by Boosey&Hawkes. Since then, Ailbhe has been commissioned by performing artists and festivals worldwide.
In 2021, Ailbhe released two books of cello compositions for the young cellist with Boosey&Hawkes called ‘It’s a Cello Thing’ Books 1 & 2. Other publications for Boosey&Hawkes include works for violin, viola and double bass. She has also been published by LCM, Hal Leonard and on the ABRSM piano syllabus.
How to pronounce Ailbhe
Ailbhe is pronounced AL-vah. In the Irish language the letters bh are pronounced like a v.