Meet the Soprano-Composer: Siobhra Quinlan on her Live Debut

Photo by Tara Thomas

SIOBHRA QUINLAN’s taken the long road to launching her first single, released earlier this month. She trained as an operatic soprano, studying an MPhil in composition at Trinity College and broadening her musical education in Berlin. That led – eventually – to a conceptual new composition that’s being self-funded by working with and teaching her art.

Along the way, Quinlan was also a part of the highly successful Trinity College Orchestra, where she combined a more classical bent with reproductions of contemporary classics like Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ and covers of Daft Punk and Arcade Fire. Stepping into her solo guise for the first time, Quinlan’s new output can be broadly described as chamber pop.

“I started out with pure, straight music and nearly dropped out about three times in first year,” she recalls of her early days studying music at Trinity. “You go from being ‘oh it’s music, it’ll be fine’, to doing this really theoretical stuff. I’d actually made a plan to go to jazz college at the end of the first year, and I’d done the audition and got in. Then I decided I wanted to stay, as it clicked that I could pass the exams and there was something I can really take from it all.”

“I started doing a lot of the opera training, and working with a teacher called Veronica Dunne. She’s a complete opera legend, and I was fascinated by what she could do. She trains the voice as an instrument, and can do amazing things with it. Opera’s very technical, but it teaches you so many ways to use the voice.”

Quinlan later branched into jazz and wrote a dissertation on how opera can be incorporated into different styles, before using a period of more casual training in Berlin to work on her style and explore the city’s expansive performance offerings.