1. How and when did you get interested in composing?
It started when I began learning the violin at seven, though I didn't write anything down until I was ten. My first piece was called This Great Would. This sounds very philosophical but I couldn't spell the word 'world'.
2. Is composing your 'day job' or do you do something else as well?
It is at the moment thanks to the Macaulay Fellowship from the Arts Council.
3. Where do you mostly get your ideas?
Bashing the piano, stealing, looking, reading, listening.
4. What are you working on at the moment?
A piece for Orkest de Volharding.
5. Describe your typical working day.
This depends on how far into a piece I am. At the beginning it can go very, very slowly but once a piece is on its way most of the day is taken up.
6. What is it like hearing a new piece played for the first time?
You feel many emotions -- fear, excitement, joy, despair!!
7. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Finishing a piece is a highlight.
8. What has been the lowlight of your career so far?
Coming across people in new music who don't seem to listen or think for themselves.
9. What is your greatest ambition?
To write good music.
10. Which musician in history do you most admire and why?
This can depend on the day of the week so today I'll say J. S. Bach as I am listening to his viola da gamba sonatas and they are beautiful.
11. Which present-day musician do you most admire and why?
Rufus Wainwright, because he could teach us 'serious composers' how to say things clearly.
12. Which period of history would you most like to have lived in and why?
I used to think it would have been hilarious fun to have been a musician at the French court during the time of Lully. Then I realised that it would all have got a bit too much so I am fine with living now.
13. What is the best thing about being a composer?
14. What is the worst thing about being a composer?
15. If you weren't a composer, what other career might you have chosen?
A national school teacher. As Flann O' Brien said 'there is nothing like a sound national school education.'
16. What is your concept of heaven?
17. What is your concept of hell?
18. What is your favourite food?
This is a tie between my lovely Mother's potato apple bread and my lovely friend Amber's enchiladas.
19. If someone gave you three months off with unlimited travel and living expenses, what would you do?
I would like to do what all the hippies did in the sixties and travel around India and Thailand.
20. If you could have one thing in the world that would really help you as a composer, what would it be?
My own opera house with full orchestra and large chorus attached, and lots of money to build pointlessly extravagant sets. I would build it in Ballinteer where I grew up.