After leaving school Roger Doyle attended the Royal Irish Academy of Music for 3 years studying composing, during which time he was awarded 2 composition scholarships. 'I am a composer', he thought. His works '4 Sketches' and 'All the Rage' won respectively second and first prizes in the Dublin Symphony Orchestra's composition competition, receiving performances when Roger was in his early 20s. Around this time he was also teaching piano (composing '6 Pieces for Pupils who Don't Like Exams'), and being a drummer in jazz/rock and experimental improvisation groups.
He hung up his drumsticks when he was awarded a Dutch Government Scholarship to study electronic music at the Institute of Sonology, then in Utrecht. By saving his scholarship living expenses money Roger financed and came back from Holland with his first LP under his arm OIZZO NO (1975), a mixture of acoustic and electronic pieces. A further scholarship took him to the Finnish Radio Experimental Music Studio for a year. CBS Records released a second LP THALIA in 1978. A third LP was released in 1981 on the London United Dairies label RAPID EYE MOVEMENTS, his 'masterpiece before the age of 30'
Since then Roger has worked extensively in theatre, film and dance in particular with the music-theatre company Operating Theatre which he co-founded with actress Olwen Fouere. Operating Theatre released singles with CBS and Mother Records in the 80s - the latter produced by Bono of U2 - and also mounted several theatre productions integating music as an equal partner. In his 30s he worked in many styles, allowing the influences of pop music to filter through. He was one of the first people in Ireland to work on a Fairlight Computer Music Instrument.
In 1990, at the age of 40 he began his life's work BABEL which would occupy him for 10 years. In 1999 Operating Theatre produced a one-woman multimedia show 'Angel/Babel' performed by Olwen Fouere, using customised realtime interactive sensor software. Later that year he set up the Silverdoor label and released 'Babel' as a 5-CD set, where each track corresponds to a room or place within a giant tower city. It is a celebration of the multiplicity of musical language.
In 2000 the CD UNDER THE GREEN TIME was released, a collaboration with the Netherlands Wind Ensemble; as was a CD of the music which Doyle composed for the Steven Berkoff production of SALOME, which played in Dublin's Gate Theatre, in London's West End and on three world tours.
From 2002-07 he worked on a new large-scale work PASSADES,
released on 3 CDs. 'Passades' was also the title of an Operating Theatre
production performed in an abandoned warehouse in the Digital Hub in Dublin
in 2004, using some of the PASSADE music as its 'text' (there were no words).
In 1997 he won the Programme Music Prize (with Spirit Levels I-IV from Babel) and in 2007 the Magisterium Award (with The Ninth Set from Passades) at the Bourges International Electro-acoustic Music Competition, in France.
Roger Doyle is a member of Aosdana, Ireland's state-sponsored academy of creative artists and is constantly surprised that he is a composer.
background photos © Tim Redfern