Kevin commenced conducting musical theatre in 1981. Since then he has amassed a wealth of experience. This experience is all the more valuable as he brings his stage experience as a chorus member, and a principal performer to the podium. In addition, his thousands of performances as a member of a theatre orchestra mean that he has a thorough understanding of the needs of the various elements of a musical theatre production – Drama, Dance, Chorus, Soloist and Orchestra. A multiple award winner in the sphere of Musical Theatre, he has been called upon (more than once) at 24 hours notice to conduct shows where the musical director has become indisposed.
He is currently Musical Director of the Waterford International Festival of Music which incorporates the Waterford International Festival of Light Opera.
Kevin’s primary orchestral instrument is French Horn. He has worked as a freelance professional for many years and is available for tours or extended performance runs. Most recently Kevin has performed in Wexford Opera House for Wexford Festival Opera and in the Grand Canal Theatre for Tristen & Isolde. He has also worked with the the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and the RTE Concert Orchestra.
Providing specialist lectures to DCU, St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, Kevin has spoken on diverse topics – from Renaissance Music to Twentieth Century Notation and from New Notation devices for use with Polyphonic Music to Score Preparation. Other specialised topics can be researched and delivered as requested.
- A Handbook for Irish Choral Conductors
If you have ever read the books on Choral Conducting currently available, you will probably have been struck by how difficult it is to translate the material in the book into your own situation. Whereas the US colleges have third level courses to qualify individuals specifically in the art of choral conducting (especially when linked to music education) and the UK generally has a high level of music literacy, these situations simply do not exist here in Ireland.
This new book is aimed specifically at the eager but largely untrained choral conductor. For many, conducting is about waving arms around and hoping the music comes out! In reality there is much more to it. In this book many of the other elements are touched on in an accessible style.
In addition to the expected chapter on gesture, there is an extended chapter on score preparation which aims to prepare the conductor to take rehearsals in a more efficient and effective manner. A further chapter on rehearsal technique provides a template for more effective time management in rehearsals. The chapter on Warm Ups encourages inventiveness and fun as a way to settle the choir into what should be an entertaining evening for all concerned.
For some conductors of amateur groups the prospect of working with professional instrumentalists is a scary prospect. The book contains a chapter dealing specifically with what you can expect from an instrumentalist and also what an instrumentalist will expect from you, the conductor.
The following is a list of chapter titles:
About the Author
Chapter 1 - A Choral Philosophy
Chapter 2 - Planning a programme
General, Challenge/Entertain, Variety, Purpose, Themed, Tempo, Vocal Health, More Technical Issues, Presentation Issues, Stagecraft, Choir Performance, Gesture, More staging issues, Acoustics, Other Resources, Afterthoughts, A Personal Concert Plan
Chapter 3 - Background research, Score preparation
Text, General Form, Meters/Time Signatures, Key Signatures, Repeat Signs, Dynamics, Articulation, Tempo, Next Steps, Phrasing, Breathing, Pronunciation, Differences Between Verses, Precise Placement of Word Endings, Personal Rehearsal.
Chapter 4 - Warm Ups
Chapter 5 - Rehearsal Technique
Structure, Accompaniment/ A Capella, Breaking Down the Piece, Text & Rhythm, Pitches, Count Singing, Breathing, Phrasing, Individual Lines, Pairings, Building Towards the Full Sound, Balance & Intonation Considerations, Performance Quartets
Chapter 6 - Choir Voicing - A technique to improve the blend and timbre of your choir
Chapter 7 - Gesture
Relax, Hand Positions, The Beat, Left Hand Usage (Mirroring), More Effective Left Hand Use, Facial Expression, The Up Beat, Awkward Starts, A Final Tip
Chapter 8 - Writing Programme Notes
Chapter 9 - Auditions – who needs them?
Voice Classification, Range, Tessitura, Transition Points, Holding an Inner Line, Timbre, Speech Levels, Physical Charactaristics, The Audition
Chapter 10 - Performance Practice
Chapter 11 - Non-standard 20th Century Notation
Chapter 12 - Working with Instruments
The orchestra and the use of Text, What does an instrumentalist expect?, A Down Beat in Every bar, Knowledge of Instruments (Strings, Woodwind, Brass, Percussion), Orchestral Layout, Cueing, Managing the Rehearsal.
Chapter 13 - Conductor Vs Instrumentalist Vs Chorister
Priced €15 +P&P this 133 page book is an excellent investment in your future as a progressive Choral Conductor.
Order your copy by contacting email@example.com
The Collected Masses of Fintan O'Carroll
Fintan O'Carroll wrote a total of five masses between 1969 and 1980. One of these masses was originally written for SSA with Congregation (Men) but was arranged for SATB by the composer. with the changes in the Roman Missal, all of these masses were deemed no longer appropriate fir use in church. In order to keep one of these masses alive, Dr. John O'Keeffe adapted the Mass of the Immaculate Conception in 2011. This adaptation was included in the Veritas publication Sing the Mass. In 2012, Kevin O'Carroll, Fintan's son, decided to adapt all the other masses so that they corresponded with the third edition of the Roman Missal. The collection, again published by Veritas, was launched on July 2,2012.
The picture shows Kevin O'Carroll with the Director of Veritas Publications, Maura Hyland.
Phrased notation is a modified form of notation for use with Renaissance Polyphonic Music by amateur choirs. Kevin has been working on this subject for a number of years and the notation system is currently undergoing Doctoral research in the USA (Alexa Vogelzang, ABD). The system seeks to reintroduce Renaissance conventions and historic performance techniques (insofar as can be established) into modern amateur performances while at the same time minimising the impact of modern notation conventions. The system seeks to avoid the pitfalls and difficulties experienced when using other modified notation systems aimed at achieving a similar result.
Kevin O'Carroll is an occasional composer whose compositions arise from a specific need rather than any deeply felt need to compose. While working as Organist and Choirmaster in the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity in Waterford he composed a number of masses and several psalms. Since leaving the church music scene he has done a number of pieces which usually have a detailed story attached.
Kyrie (after Rug Muire mac do dhia)
This piece was written as part of the requirements for Kevin's Diploma in Conducting from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. The piece is a reaction against sectarianism as displayed between Christiand (Catholic Vs Protestant) or Muslims (Sunni Vs Shiite). The melody is representative of a basic tenet of faith which develops over time - plainchant - organum - chorale. Through the passage of time, individual interpretations of the melody develop so that a cacophony of sound is created where no strand of the faith system is listening to any other. Rather, each strain is struggeling to be heard. Beneath all of this noise is the original tenet of faith. It is only by returning to the original context that we can re-discover the real meaning of that faith.
Anach Cuan tells the story of a drowning tragedy in Co Galway. It is a hauntingly beautiful melody and I long wanted to set it in some way. Outside of music, my pastime is scuba diving and I have, on more than one occasion, been involved in searching for people lost at sea. This brought home to me the two very different faces of the sea - one which revealed the sea as a playground and one which revealed it as a dangerous place. In my setting of Anach Cuan I have brought in another Irish song of the sea - Baidín Fheidhlimidh. This latter song is, on the surface of it, a happy song of the sea but in the last verse the fisherman's boat founders on the rocks. By juxtaposing the happy song with the tragic lament I tried to capture the two faces of the sea. In the early part of the piece, one sone goes into a "freeze" while the other is heard. Towards the end of the piece the two melodies are heard together but don't really seem to "work". It is only in the last phrase that the two melodies fit together in a conventional harmonic sense. In this way we see that whatever the contrast between the playful and the dangerous sea, they are part of the same creation.
Brothers in concert!
RIAM Wind Band - National Concert hall 2009
Primary Schools Concert rehearsal 2010
Recital Choir 2008