“One of the new works that left the strongest impression was Ailís Ní Ríain’s Eyeless, a kind of adoringly reverential altar to the voice of sean-nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, with backing from EnsemBéal.”

– Michael Dervan, The Irish Times, 2012

“Ní Ríain is certainly one of the most original and hardworking composers around today. Her output is considerable and each work of hers that I have experienced is tight and considered. Her composition for trumpet finds a great exponent in Brendan Ball. And as The Consequences Of Falling illustrates, Ní Ríain is not afraid to enter new territory.”

– The Manchester Salon, 2013

“Evocative and haunting, a beautiful sound installation.”
“Wonderful – incredibly moving.”
“Unusual, inspirational and sensitive.”
“It is a haunting piece…what an interesting way of interpreting the place, the landscape and historic episode – a tragic one – in Lancashire’s past.”
“Mesmerising mix of architecture, weather, extraneous sounds and engaging music, with haunting overtures of imprisonment.”

– Visitors responses to TAKEN, Clitheroe Castle, 2012

“This was the first time that I had heard any of Ríain’s music and I found the piece to be quite astonishing. Whilst Ailís Ní Ríain’s mastery over musical styles is obvious from this piece, it is not done for showiness. The approach captures the theme of the text very well and In Sleep… is one of the best pieces of contemporary music I have heard in a long while.”

– The Manchester Salon, 2012

“Beautiful Cracked Eyes, a series of unearthly scenes which surprise, move, stimulate and inspire, especially when plucked strings resound eerily from the piano sound-board. Ailis had undoubtedly set the scene here for a mysterious sound-scape – perhaps one of the most distinctive ever to grace the Purcell Room.”

– John Wheatley, Tempo Music Journal 2008

“The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s Brendan Ball performs the score – a lone trumpeter playing a discordant fanfare in a duet with the cathedral’s seven-second echo. Unexpected and disconcerting it’s a striking production that has much to recommend it.”

– The Liverpool Post ‘Treasured’, 2012

“Listening to it stops me in my tracks. This is a composer who can get right under the skin.”

– Bob Gilmore, The Journal of Music, 2006

”Beautiful Cracked Eyes by Ailis Ni Riain, a confrontational and aggressive piece, toccata-like, Riain’s ability to “challenge, provoke and engage” was here evinced and one wants to hear this piece again and, indeed, more of her music.”

– Colin Anderson, Classical Source, 2007

“Captivating with its icon-like sounds and musical form… Simplicity and intensity are married in a congenial way.”

– ISCM Jury World Music Days ‘Short Cuts’,Winner 1st Prize, 2006

“The Dead Live – a deeply impressive performance of an austere, well-written piece by the Irish composer Ailis Ni Riain conducted by James MacMillan.”

– Michael Tumelty, The Glasgow Herald, 2002

“Ni Ríain creates emotion and the music is given a poetic feel to it, where we place our own images. Throughout ‘chainstitchedembroidered’ it seemed as if we are at a poetry recital with two voices performing at once.”

–  The Manchester Salon (2012)

“One of the most thought provoking pieces I’ve seen in a show in a while, it provided a wonderful space for reflection”.
“Exquisite interpretation of journeys, paths and loss”
“An amazing concept-the feathers that could not fly anymore, maps that were obsolete and haunting music”
“The haunting strains of the ethereal music and the painstaking and patient efforts of some several million individual cuts made it well worth the effort to attend”.

– Visitor responses to DOWN 2010