Best known for her unconventional scores, radical approaches to instruments and the body and the self-assembling and self-disassembling events she calls “decompositions,” Flor Hartigan channels a fierce experimental aesthetic through the rigorous discipline of a concert pianist to create striking, moving and sometimes shocking musical works. She is internationally lauded for both her scores and her music, and has also earned respect in the new music community as a conductor. Hartigan brings a passionate drive to whatever she does, and her forceful will shows in both her music and her performance.
Born in Mullingar in 1977, Flor Hartigan was trained as a concert pianist at the Royal College of Music in London, receiving her BMus(Hons) there in 1999. Hartigan’s promising career as a classical performer was tragically cut short in 2000, however, while she was in Sydney, Australia, competing in the 7th Sydney International Piano Competition. A car accident the night before her first performance resulted in Hartigan breaking both her wrists and her left arm and losing three fingers on her left hand. After recuperating, Hartigan took up teaching piano and composition, and began experimenting with extended techniques and prepared instruments. In 2001 she wrote her first “deconstruction”, Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in c Minor, which many consider her breakthrough work, a piece for prepared piano that centres on a melody written specifically for two-fingered left-handed playing. Since then she has worked with microtones, noise, unconventional scoring, multimedia and various forms of conducted improvisation (“deconduction”) in addition to her explorations with prepared piano, “deconstruction” and “decomposition”.
Hartigan’s pieces have been performed by Nora Mulder, Ernst Surberg, Alter Ego, Q-02, Listenspace, the Crash Ensemble, Vox21 and Ensemble Click. Her scores have been exhibited at Sirius Arts Centre (Cobh, Ireland), Tulca Festival of Art (Galway, Ireland), Arcatel (London, UK), The Block Gallery (Chicago, USA) and The Houston Contemporary Arts Museum (Houston, USA), among others. As a pianist she was awarded the RTÉ Musician of the Future Award in 1998 and was second runner-up in the 1999 International Russian Music Piano Competition. She has received grants and commissions from RTÉ, the Arts Council of Ireland, Culture Ireland and elsewhere.
In addition to Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in c Minor, some of Hartigan’s most notable works include My Fair Gob, re(Cycling), PhrEeeek!, The Many Faces of Hermann Görtz, Conturador, Suite, Telegraph, Sonatine Épileptique, Piano Concerto No. 0 in E-Flat Major and Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major: “Technical Approaches to the Orchestra.” Flor Hartigan currently lives in Dublin, where she teaches piano, conducts the Dublin Orchestral Players and writes music.