I recently spoke to the artist, and as usual, I come away inspired. He called to say that he had some hopeful news coming from Iceland that some individuals are taking a keen interest in his work. He seemed optimistic that more and more people are beginning to understand his vision, “almost to a tee.” Personally speaking, in the 8+ years I’ve known Jóhann, I’ve seldom thought of him as being anything other than optimistic.
As always, he asked how I was faring, and how both my children were. He was especially interested in knowing how my own pursuit of a Master’s degree in Motion Picture & Television Directing was getting on. I told him I was inundated with the richness of academia. With regards to A Force in Nature, I told him we were in full post-production and we expect to be close to finishing.
He paused for a moment and then said the following: “Directing is understanding darkness, silence, and stillness.” At first, I did not get it, but he proceeded to elaborate and said that “light is a consequence of darkness, sound a consequence of silence, and movement a consequence of stillness.” Because light, sound and movement are so fundamental to the making of any movie, I was now re-engaged, thanks to Jóhann, as I reflect on the role I am playing as a director of our film, A Force in Nature. In short, I was re-ignited by a man almost twice my age as I step away from my own effortless tendency towards complacency.
The last part of our journey was no less amazing. Johann’s niece, Margret and her husband Kale invited us to stay in the northern territory of Iceland, in Akureyri, where we stayed for the next two nights. The flight north with Air Iceland was also a treat since we were invited to accompany and film the pilots in the cockpit, one of whom happened to be Margret and Kale’s son. Once on the ground, our guide Kale would drive us 100’s of kilometers through lava fields, along coastal roads, into volcanoes and finally to one of the largest waterfalls in Europe, Dettifoss , one of the most spectacular sites I’d ever experienced.
I want to take this opportunity to welcome an extremely talented and loyal friend, Ciaran Hope, to our team. Please take an opportunity to read about this man’s accomplishments and life.
Since first dipping his toes into the film mecca of Hollywood in the late 90’s, Irish composer Ciaran has diligently spent his time working for prestigious film and production companies, projects, and organizations. To this day, his original pieces are shaped from a rigorous, distinguished artistic training and strong affinity with the music.
As a former Fulbright Scholar in film music, Ciaran has been the recipient of awards such as the IMRO prize at the RTE Musician of the Future, the International Solstice Composition Prize, a National Training Commission for Film and Television Bursary, an Arts Council of Ireland Postgraduate Award and his music was a finalist at the International Clarinet Association Composition Contest and the International Song for Peace Contest, while his work on the Hollywood feature film The Insider was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.
Ciaran has been commissioned to create classical pieces for prestigious cultural groups and organizations such as the Czech Clarinet Quartet and the Latvian Ministry of Arts and Culture and the Solstice Arts Centre in Navan, where his new work will be the signature tune for the centre and will be played before performances, at launches, exhibition openings and other publicity events. His recent commission for children’s string orchestra, titled “A Spring Morning” premiered on the main concert stage at Euro Disney and the Church of Sainte-Merri in Paris during the summer of 2011 and the reaction from the performers, parents and audience was phenomenal.
Since being awarded an Arts Council of Ireland Project Bursary Award to write a new violin concerto for violinist Cora Venus Lunny, violinist and composer have been collaborating closely on the new concerto. Ciaran has also undertaken residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Artist’s retreat in Co. Monaghan and the Cill Rialaig Artist Retreat in remote Co. Kerry to work on the concerto, with the kind support of a 2011 Tyrone Guthrie Centre regional Bursary Award and a 2012 Cill Rialaig Residency Award.
Internationally, Ciaran’s music has been performed at showcases such as the Electro-acoustic music Festival of Cadiz, the Symposium of Brazilian Computer Music and the Logan Chamber Music Series in the famed Chautauqua Institute, New York. This year, his music was selected for performance at the second Beijing Irish Modern Music Festival of Beijing on March 18th 2012. He has also contributed music towards films that have been featured at over 40 film festivals around the world and have enjoyed commercial success in the U.S. entertainment industry as a composer for major entertainment companies, including Walt Disney, Trimark Pictures, Alcon Entertainment, TomandAndy, and Alliance Atlantis.
Commercially, his 2006 album, Etude in Film Score, was so successful that it made the top 40 sales at CDBaby.com in its first month. A track from the album, “Childhood Ends,” was selected for inclusion on an exclusive, limited release CDBaby promotional CD due to the album’s success.
Ciaran has also participated in BMI’s prestigious Conducting Workshop, where an elite group of 8 composers out of their 400,000 membership are chosen to spend two weeks working intensely with a conductor and live musicians at the musicians union in Los Angeles. His ‘classmates’ included World Soundtrack Award Winning and Golden Globe nominated composer Abel Korzeniowski, BMI Award winner Juan Carlos Rodriguez and Emmy nominated Annie winning composer Guy Moon.
As a speaker, Ciaran have given master classes on composing for film at a variety of venues including Trinity College Dublin, the Dundalk Institute of Technology, the University of Colorado at Denver and the Solstice Arts Centre in Navan. In December 2010, at the behest of the Provost Dr. John Hegarty, he organized a panel discussion that took place in the Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin which focused on music placement and scoring in film and TV and gave master classes on film composition to Trinity postgraduate and undergraduate music students. The panel sold out in 3 days.
With a Masters degree in audio acoustics and a keen interest in all things audio, Ciaran has also published several research papers in audio acoustics and is currently exploring a new research project into the sonic stimulation of cell cultures at the world famous Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Having completed writing and recording string arrangements for producer Noel Hogan of The Cranberries, his new score to the new Hollywood feature film Truth About Kerry starring Stana Katic(ABC’s CASTLE) is being very well received. It has just been announced that Ciaran was awarded the position of Composer in Residence for 2013 in the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, where he will work on a new opera on the life of Robert Emmet.