The first of Shaun Davey's concert works, 'The Brendan Voyage', made its debut in 1980. Since that time, Shaun Davey has been recognised as one of Ireland's leading composers of music that combines popular appeal with genuine cultural significance. In a parallel career, he is in demand both at home and abroad to produce scores for theatre, film and television.
Whether written for the concert hall, the screen or stage, Shaun's music has the power to move audiences deeply. Its emotional impact is accompanied by a dramatic visual quality, strong melody and a sometimes surprising fusion of differing musical styles and traditions.
Born in Belfast and living in Dublin, it is perhaps part of Shaun's persona to cross boundaries. He has chosen, in his concert works, to explore the turning points in Irish History, celebrating that which unites rather than divides the Celtic people. Large numbers of the music loving public are prepared to take this journey with him. Standing ovations at sell-out concerts are a commonplace reaction to The Brendan Voyage, The Pilgrim, Granuaile, 'Concerto for Uilleann Pipes and Orchestra', The Relief of Derry Symphony, the 'Concerto for Two Harps ' and Gulliver, A Choral Symphony .
Shaun Davey's works have been performed at the Sydney Opera House; with the English Chamber Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, London; the Albert Hall, London; The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall; with the Munich Rundfunk Orchestra at the Munich Gasteig; with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra at the Quebec Tercentenary Festival; at the New York Arts Festival; with the Ulster Orchestra at the Queen's Festival in Belfast; with the Scottish chamber Orchestra at the Edinburgh Folk festival; at music festivals in Lorient and Rennes in Brittany, St. Chartier and Romans in France and at Expo '92 in Seville Spain.
Performances by Ireland's National Symphony Orchestra and the RTE Concert Orchestra have filled concert halls all around Ireland. At Dublin's National Concert Hall, programmes of Shaun's work have on occasion, played for three consecutive nights.
In theatre, Shaun Davey has worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the Royal National Theatre, The Abbey Theatre and the Gate Theatre. Credits include: Fair Maid Of The West, A Winter's Tale, King Lear, Troilus And Cressida, The Tempest, The Silver Tassie, Observe The Sons Of Ulster Marching Towards The Somme, The Well Of The Saints, Prayers Of Sherkin, The Steward Of Christendom.
More recent theatre scores include: 'The Lion,The Witch And The Wardrobe' (RST); James Joyce's 'The Dead' (Belasco Theatre, Broadway), 'The Lady From The Sea' (Almeida Theatre) directed by Trevor Nunn, 'Angels in America' (Abbey Theatre).
During the 1990's much of Shaun's work was in television and film, where his credits include, Catchpenny Twist (BBC), Pentecost (BBC), The Hanging Gale (BBC), Ballykissangel (BBC 1995-97), Loving (BBC), Trevor Nunn's Twelfth Night (Renaissance/Fineline), Waking Ned Devine (Tomboy/Fox Searchlight), The Tailor of Panama (John Boorman and Sony) and The Abduction Club (Gruber Brothers/Pathe).
Shaun also composed the scores for, 'David Copperfield' (Hallmark) and film documentary scores for Tim Severin's 'The Spice Islands Voyage' and 'In Search Of Moby Dick'.
As a record producer for other artists he has worked with, Sonny Condell (1976), Midnight Well (1977), Liam O'Flynn (1992 and 1995), Stockton's Wing (1995) and Rita Connolly (1991 and 1994).
Shaun received a People of the Year Award for his contribution to Irish culture, an Ivor Novello Award for his score for 'The Hanging Gale', an Ivor nomination for his music for 'Twelfth Night',two Bafta nominations ('The Hanging Gale' and 'Ballykissangel') and, recently, a Tric Award for best UK TV theme ('Ballykissangel'). This year Shaun has been nominated for a Tony Award for the his music for the hit Broadway version of James Joyce's 'The Dead'.
"One of Ireland’s foremost composers, Shaun Davey has composed original music for the Ceremony, the centrepiece of which will be the Athlete’s Song, May We Never Have to Say Goodbye. The song, which will be released as a single in June, will be performed by Rita Connolly, Ronan Tynan, the National Symphony Orchestra, many of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians, a pipe band and a choir of 500. "
In 2003 Shaun has composed the music for the opening ceremony for the Special Olympics World Games 2003 which took place in Dublin's Croke Park on June 21st 2003. The Special Olympics World Games 2003 is reputed to be the largest sporting event in the world in 2003. The opening ceremony concert included performance by Liam O'Flynn, Nollaig Casey and Rita Connolly Seamus & Brendan Begley, amongst many others. The song reached number 1 in the Irish singles chart in June 2003.
In the years that followed performances of Shaun's concert works included four sell-out concerts with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra at Dublin's National Concert Hall, annual concerts in the Symphony Hall, Chicago, as well as concerts with the Ulster Orchestra and the highly-regarded Orchestra of Scottish Opera.
In 2007 Shaun, along with his wife Rita, got together with a group of Kerry musicians including Séamus Begley, Lawrence Courtney, Eilís Kennedy, Jim Murray, Eoin Ó'Beaglaoí, Shaun and Daithí Ó'Sé, to form the group Béal Tuinne (pronounced 'Beel-thinneh). Béal Tuinne formed in order to perform a collection of new songs in Irish with music by Shaun and the lyrics based on the poems of the late Caoimhín O Cinnéide. The album 'Beal Tuinne Live at St James' Church' was recently released on the Tara Music label to much acclaim.
2009 saw more live performances from Shaun with Béal Tuinne and a variety of line-ups with his wife Rita Connolly, and old friends Liam O'Flynn, Sean Keane, Noel Eccles and many more, culminating in a sold-out concert 'The Music of Shaun Davey' in Dublin's National Concert Hall in July.
2010 saw the release of VOICES FROM THE MERRY CEMETERY a highly unusual collaboration between Irish and Romanian musicians; it takes the form of a collection of thirteen songs, composed by Shaun, based on grave inscriptions from The Merry Cemetery in the village of Sapânta on Romania’s border with Ukraine.
In the years 2010 to Present Shaun's works have received a number of high-profile performances to mostly sold-out venues.