Ailís Ní Ríain is an Irish contemporary classical composer and published writer for stage who aims to produce work that challenges, provokes and engages. In 2020 Ailís was elected to the Ivors Academy Classical Committee.

Ailís composes concert music, site­-specific music installations, opera, music­-theatre and often collaborates with artists working in other forms such as visual art, text, photography and illustration.

A regular collaborator with artists in other art-forms, her artistic interests are diverse and combined with an unwavering desire to push and develop her artistic practice through each new project or commission.

There have been performances of her work at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, The National Concert Hall of Ireland and Carnegie Hall, New York, throughout Europe and on BBC Radio and RTE Radio.

In 2016 Ailís was awarded the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Award for Composers. She was made a member of the Ivors Academy Classical Committee in 2020.

She has been awarded international fellowships, associate artist positions and residences at Yaddo, USA, the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, The Irish Cultural Centre in Paris, the Ragdale Foundation in Illinois and at ArtOMI in New York State.

Ailis is/has been an artistic assessor for the PRS Foundation, the Irish Arts Council, Sound and Music, Art & Disability Ireland and Arts Council England.

Ailís is represented by The Contemporary Music Centre of Ireland. 

Awards & Prizes

The PRS for Music Foundation Open Fund for Music Creators

The Arts Council of Ireland Commissions Award
Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust
Hinrichsen Foundation Award

National Endowment for the Arts [USA] Yaddo Residency Fellowship
PRS for Music Foundation Women Make Music Award
The Arts Council of Ireland Music Bursary Award
Unlimited/Shape Arts/ArtsAdmin Commission

Shortlisted ISCM World New Music Days Tallin
Culture Ireland Grant
Arts Council England Project Grant
Finalist Annelie de Man Prix

Shortlisted ISCM World New Music Days Beijing
Travel & Training award Arts Council Ireland

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Composers
Spitalfields Music Festival Project Award
Travel & Training Award from The Irish Arts Council
Irish Arts Council Commissions Award

Britten Pears Foundation Bursary
Arts Council England Grants for the Arts Award
PRS Foundation for Music Award

Culture Ireland Travel Award
Travel & Training Award, Irish Arts Council
Sound & Music Composer­ Curator Award
Unlimited R & D Bursary
ACE/British Council International Artist Development Award
PRS Foundation for New Music Award

Finzi Trust Travel & Research Scholarship

Arts Council England Grants for the Arts Award

Abandon Normal Devices/DaDaFest Research Award

Arts Council England Grants for the Arts Award

Music Bursary from The Irish Arts Council
RVW Trust Grant Award

Vienna Modern Masters Nancy Van De Vate Prize for Opera
First Prize ISCM World Music Days Short Cuts competition

First prize SPNM/Brass in Association competition

First prize, RTÉ Composer of the Future competition



Yaddo Artist Colony, Saratoga Springs, USA
Ragdale Foundation Residency, Illinois, USA


MAKE Residency, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Ireland
Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Virginia, USA


Fellowship – Omi International Arts Center, New York
Residency at Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris, France


Associate Artist Residency Atlantic Center for the Arts, Florida


Residency at METALCulture, Southend on Sea, UK
Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship, Italy


Aldeburgh Artist Residency, Aldeburgh Productions, UK


Interact Roskilde, Denmark


THREAD Residency, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Ireland

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