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Dónal at his studio in Los Angeles

BIOGRAPHY

Dónal Rafferty was born in Dublin Ireland and has been obsessed with music ever since hearing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony on his grandfather’s stereo when he was 6 years old! His earliest formal musical education was singing with The Palestrina Choir from age 7, at which time he also commenced studying piano, clarinet, and music theory.

Dónal first completed a Mechanical Engineering Degree at Trinity College Dublin (graduated '04) before pursuing a Music Degree at the National University of Ireland Maynooth (graduated '07), where he quickly uncovered his passion for composition that led him on to pursue a Master's Degree at King’s College London (graduated '09). He is an alumnus of the IMRO Irish Composition Summer School (2007) and holds diplomas in piano performance and music theory from London College of Music and Trinity College London respectively.

Dónal composes music for all kinds of musical ensembles - including symphony orchestra, chamber ensembles, and choir - and his music demonstrates clear command of a range of idioms. His string + wind quintet ​Aquastrata (2005) was awarded the 2010 IMRO Award for Chamber Ensemble composition. His music has been performed by ensembles such as Lontano, Concorde, The Penbridge Trio, the Taylor Festival Choir, and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.  His music has been performed in Europe and the USA and used in commercial content by Google. Dónal has also composed for theatre, for the amateur production The Queen Who Cancelled Christmas​, which premiéred at the Whale Theatre in Greystones, Ireland in December 2018.  Dónal's musical style is well-informed by his classical training, and enhanced by an awareness and understanding of contemporary musical styles.  He has been funded by Culture Ireland and The Arts Council of Ireland.

As a film music composer, Dónal constantly seeks to explore new artistic territory.  His score for I Am (2022) explored darker themes in a story influence by isolation and self-doubt. His score for The Merger (2022) channeled primal and primitive influences to support the film’s humorous look at toxic masculinity. His score for the upcoming Room 107 (2023) encapsulates the fragility and vulnerability of a youth suffering through depression and unable to connect with family.

Dónal has been a featured composer at Film Independent and SAGIndie's IndieLink: Composers workshop. He is a prize-winner of the 2020 Indie Film Music Contest and a Fellow of the Los Angeles Film Conducting Intensive (2021-22) where he trained with Angel VelezConrad PopeLeonard Slatkin, and William Ross. He was part of the prestigious Society of Composers & Lyricists Los Angeles Mentor Program during 2022-23, during which time he also trained with award-winning composer Edward Shearmur as his studio assistant. Dónal was a prize-winner of the 2024 Oticons International Film Music Competition.  He is now focused on his own music and scoring projects, and is based in Los Angeles, California. .

 

Dónal is a member of ASCAP and The SCL.  He is a dual citizen of Ireland and the USA and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Read more about Dónal in VoyageLA Magazine's interview

CREDITS

Title
Type
Year
Client Name
Role
The Queen Who Cancelled Christmas
Theatre
2018
Dry Rain Theatre Company (Ireland)
Composer
Source Naturals
Advertising Music Ident
2020
Threshold Enterprises
Composer
Through The Maelstrom
Album
2021
EX1MUS
Composer & Producer
The Merger
Short Film
2022
Bright Coast Productions
Composer
I Am
Short Film
2022
Rubén Navarro
Composer
Rumblers
Video Game
2024
Kindred
Composer
The Invisible Homeless
Documentary
2022
Bright Coast Productions
Composer
Tilly & Wink's Magical Adventure
Theatre
2022
Dry Rain Theatre Company (Ireland)
Composer
Room 107
Short Film
2023
Room 213 Productions
Composer
Fast Charlie
Feature Film
2023
Fil Eisler
Music preparation for composer Fil Eisler.
Uglies
Feature Film
2024
Anonymous Content for Netflix
Composer assistant to Edward Shearmur
Dónal Rafferty Music Composer logo
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