Born in Dublin in 1974, she studied composition with John Maxwell Geddes at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Kevin Volans in Dublin, and graduated from Northwestern University in Chicago with a PhD in composition in 2002, having studied with Amnon Wolman and Michael Pisaro. In 2000 she won the Kranichsteiner Prize at the Summer Courses of New Music in Darmstadt. In 2003-4 she was a fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, and in 2004-5 she lived in Berlin on a DAAD scholarship residency. From 2006 to 2008 she was the composer-in-residence in South Dublin County for In Context 3. In 2007 she was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York. In 2008 she was awarded the Praetorius Music Prize for Composition by the government of Lower Saxony. In 2009 she lived in Venice as a guest of the Claudio Buziol Foundation. She is currently Reader in Music at Brunel University, London. She lives in London and Roscommon, Ireland. Her work has been performed and broadcast all over the world by ensembles such as Alter Ego, ensemble recherche, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Orchestra Sinfonica del Teatro La Fenice, Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop, Ensemble Resonanz, Apartment House, ensemble Intégrales, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Schlagquartett Köln, Crash Ensemble, Con Tempo Quartet, ensemble ascolta, Champ d'Action, ensemble laboratorium, ensemble ]h[iatus, ensemble surplus, trio nexus, Rilke Ensemble, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Irish Youth Wind Ensemble, Bozzini Quartet, Callino Quartet, Ensemble 2000, Concorde, Black Hair, Continuum, Ensemble Musica Nova, ensemble chronophonie, Scottish Chamber Orchestra Wind Quintet, Hebrides Ensemble, Psappha, and Q-02, among others.
In addition to her activities as a composer, she frequently performs as a vocalist, specialising in extended techniques. Many of her recent compositions were commissioned for her voice in conjunction with other instruments, and her works have been performed by her and others at festivals such as RTÉ Living Music (Dublin), Båstad Kammarmusik Festival (Sweden), MaerzMusik (Berlin), Ultraschall (Berlin), Transit (Leuven), Ars Musica (Brussels), Ultima (Oslo), Borealis (Norway), Experimental Intermedia (New York), November Music (Holland), All Tomorrow's Parties (UK), Steirischer Herbst, Wien Modern, Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Huddersfield, Late Music Festival (York), Hamburger Klangwerktage, Gaida (Lithuania), BMIC Cutting Edge, Composer's Choice (Dublin), SoundField (Chicago), Summer Courses of New Music in Darmstadt, Stockholm New Music, BELEF (Belgrade), Traiettorie (Parma), Cut & Splice (London), Lucerne, SPOR (Denmark), Frau Musica Nova (Cologne), Performa (New York), Electric Eclectics (Canada), Dresdener Contemporary Music Days, Reihe 0 (Austria), Stimme+ (ZKM, Karlsruhe), and Music at the Anthology (New York). She is also active as an improviser, performing regularly with musicians in Europe and the Unites States, and in her duo Ma La Pert with Tony Conrad.
Since 2007 Jennifer Walshe has developed Grúpat, a project in which she has assumed twelve different alter egos - all members of art collective Grúpat - and created compositions, installations, graphic scores, films, photography, sculptures and fashion under these alter egos. Pieces by Grúpat members have been performed and exhibited all over the world, most notably at the Dublin Electronic Arts Festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Museum of Arts and Design in New York, Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, New Langton Arts in San Francisco, Tmuna in Tel Aviv, Festival Rümlingen in Switzerland, Galway Arts Centre, and Chelsea Art Museum in New York. In 2009 Grúpat were the feature of a major retrospective at the Project Arts Centre, Dublin, which coincided with the launch of the book Grúpat by Project Press and the release of two CDs. This was followed in 2010 with a Grúpat solo exhibition titled NO IRISH NEED APPLY at Chelsea Art Museum in New York. In 2011 Grúpat were featured at the Cut & Splice Festival at the ICA London, where performances and exhibitions of their work took place.
Walshe's work is available on many labels including Mere Records, Interval Recordings, Farpoint Recordings, and Migro Sound.
© Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland
Selected works (since 2005): (your name here) for voice, violin and video (2005), a sensitive number for the laydeez for saxophone, viola, piano, percussion and video (2005), passenger for strings (2006), The Procedure for Smoothing Air for voice, trombone, piano and cello (2006), Physics for the Girl in the Street for voice and four percussionists (2007), Nature Data for voice and dictation machines (2007), My Extensive Relationship with Mr. Stephen Patrick M. for voice, ensemble and CD (2007), i: same person/ii: not the same person for voice, ensemble and electronics (2007), becher for piano (2008), Thelma Mansfield for flute, piano, percussion and CD/DVD (2008), Freya Birren's Libris Solar for voice and ensemble (2009), The Wasistas of ereswhere for voice and electronics (2009), MARLOWE S. for string quartet, tape recorder and CD (2009), Hotel Chelsea for organ and orchestra (2010), The So Menagerie for three voices (2010), METTA for voice and ensemble (2011), Julian & Kanye for three voices (2011), A Folk Song Collection for three voices (2011), Watched over Lovingly by Silent Machines for five voices and DVD (2011), HYGIENE for violin, viola and DVD (2011), Atlanta 2089 for voice, instruments and DVD (2011), Die Taktik for voice, instruments, electronics, video and dancers (2012), Silently & Very Fast for ensemble (2012), Historical Documents of the Irish Avantgarde Vol. 1: Dada for voice and electronics (2012), Duration & its Simple Modes for female voice and choir (2013), Everything you Own has been taken to a Depot Somewhere for three performers (2013), Wash Me Whiter than Snow for violin, cello and DVD (2013), Language Ruins Everything for countertenor, choir, piano and DVD (2013), DO RDÁN for instruments and electronics (2013), They Left Him in the Ocean for string quartet and DVD (2014), Training is the Opposite, chamber opera for soprano, string quartet, electronics and film (2014), The Singing, shadow opera for voice, violin, puppet shadows and film (with Tony Conrad, 2014), The Total Mountain for voice and film (2014), The Chimes Hour for four soloists, four improvisers, ensemble, installations and film (2014), Zusammen II for seven performers (2015), 13 Vices for string trio, three improvisers and voice (2015), 1984 It's O.K. for violin, cello and percussion (2015), Everything is Important for voice, string quartet and film (2016), A Girl's Book of Song for girls' choir (2016).