The piece I most want to hear again is Perkin’s.
— Michael Dervan, The Irish Times
This is a piece I want to hear again and again.
— Declan Townsend, The Irish Examiner

Photo: Aisling McCoy

Sam Perkin (b.1985) is a composer of new orchestral, chamber, instrumental and choral music.

'Waves' is an attempted self-cure for tinnitus and is the fruit of a bountiful collaboration between The Irish Chamber Orchestra and the composer over the last few years, supported by The Arts Council of Ireland. 'Grey Area' blends the worlds of Street Skateboarding with Contemporary Music and was commissioned by Crash Ensemble/Engage Arts Festival with its world première taking place at Musica Nova Festival, Helsinki. 'Language', a substantial work for Solo Violin, was commissioned by West Cork Chamber Music Festival for American contemporary violin specialist Miranda Cuckson. His latest commission was for La Côte Flûte Festival, Switzerland, entitled 'Twitter', for Flute Choir and Smartphones. He is currently composing a new work for Orchestra and Sine Tones for The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.

Sam Perkin is composer-in-residence with Crash Ensemble in 2018/19. As part of his residency he will compose a set of pieces inspired by his love of linguistics, including a piece for cellist Kate Ellis based on the Cork Accent. He has enjoyed collaborations with musicians and festivals such as Finghin Collins, The Irish Chamber Orchestra, Miranda Cuckson, Alex Petcu, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Nathalia Milstein, Music For Galway, ConTempo Quartet, The New Ross Piano Festival, ConCorda Chamber Music, The Irish Association of Youth Orchestras, Ortús Chamber Music Festival, Engage Arts Festival, Spotlight Chamber Music Series, Co-Orch Dublin, Fidelio Trio, Killaloe Chamber Music Festival, West Wicklow Festival, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Gregynog Festival in Wales, Musica Nova Festival in Finland, and La Côte Festival in Switzerland.

Sam Perkin holds degrees in Composition from CIT Cork School of Music, Ireland, and an Artist Diploma from Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Lyon, France. In 2016 he was awarded the prestigious Prix Salabert for Composition from Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Lyon, France, and in 2017 he was awarded The Next Generation Bursary from The Arts Council of Ireland.


Waves (2016-18)

Instrumentation: Solo Percussionist and String Orchestra

Duration: 18 min

Commissioned byThe Irish Chamber Orchestra

SoloistAlex Petcu

ConductorGábor Takács-Nagy

Programme Note: Tinnitus is the hearing of sound when no sound is present.  As a composer, hearing these phantom sounds, which started a year ago for me, can be frustrating. They can make composing, conversing, and sleeping quite difficult. Some people find that white noise, rainfall or ocean waves can help to mask these sound mirages. The ocean wave sounds worked for me, and I listened to them a lot. Over 365 days, while I had them flowing through my mind, I took these sounds from nature, that I cherish so much, and composed a work that is entirely made up of these beautiful patterns, in essence, 365 variations on a wave gesture. The ebb and flow in the music comes from the true rhythm of nature, and in the way it mysteriously varies itself. I attempted to harness these natural forces to create a work in which we can be in awe of nature’s secrets, but also a work that, who knows, can maybe cure tinnitus.  Funded by The Arts Council of Ireland