Re:Work – RCC & Glebe Gallery Commission New Electronic Music Work

Thursday July 15, 2021

The Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny and the Glebe House and Gallery, Gartan are delighted to announce the commissioning of a new musical work by electronica artist and composer Ryan Vail.

The piece of music will re-imagine Benjamin Britton’s 1962 Donegal inspired ‘A Hymn for St. Columba’, originally commissioned and dedicated to Glebe Gallery founder Derek Hill.

1500 years ago, one of Ireland’s most famous sons was born in Gartan, Co. Donegal. With strong roots in the North West of Ireland, Colmcille (or St. Columba) went on to blaze a trail of cultural and social change around the world. He became one of Ireland’s three patron saints, the patron saint of Derry and his influence extends to this day.

The original composition was premiered outdoors in Churchill, where Columba is said to have preached, but was not easily audible due to the strong wind. This new work will use Benjamin Britton’s piece as a ‘jumping off point’ and present a complete reinterpretation in a contemporary style using a mix of electronic and traditional instrumentation.


Benjamin Britton pictured in the mid-1960s


RCC Acting Manager Jeremy Fitz Howard said “We’re absolutely delighted to commission someone of Ryan Vail’s talent and stature and very excited see how this project progresses. Donegal is lucky to have one of Ireland and the UK’s leading neo-classical contemporary composers living so close by and this is a brilliant opportunity for us to further our relationship with Ryan and assist in the creation of something beautiful that will have deep connections with the landscape of Colmcille’s birthplace.”

This commission is funded through the Arts Council of Ireland.


Ryan Vail


Ryan Vail blends the worlds of electronica, folk and classical, always experimenting combining classical instruments with unique methods of recording and composition.

“A minimalistic, electronic dream” -Nylon

“Vail Combines modern classical music and electronic sonics for a sound all of his own” – Stereogum

“Daring and emotionally affecting work and deserves your full attention” – The Independent

Most recent album ‘Borders’ was a collaborative project with Elma Orkestra which won the 2019 ‘Album Of The Year’ category at the Northern Irish Music Prize.

A symphony of electronic and analogue components combine and enhance the live ‘Borders’ show beyond its natural boundary. Cinematic drone footage of the Irish border and countryside is accompanied by string players, classical composition and vocal appearances from Moya Brennan and Stephen James Smith for a full on assault of the senses which has taken them from deepest Mexico to the Berlin Wall.

Ryan has had radio play or performed live Sessions with BBC Introducing, Other Voices, Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamauq, Annie Mac, Tom Ravenscroft, Across The Line, Tom Robinson, Phillip Taggart and Zane Lowe.

Ryan has supported many international live acts such as Nils Frahm, Jamie XX, Jon Hopkins, Tycho, David Kitt, Todd Terje, Phil Kieran, Luke Vibert and Orbital. Radio support includes BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music, KEXP & RTE to name a few.




Find out more about Ryan Vail here:



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