Kirk O'Riordan’s music has been referred to as “unapologetically beautiful” and is often praised for its uniquely “visual” qualities that depict a wide range of striking moods. His music has been performed in Canada, China, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Finland, Italy, and Russia; and in thirty of the fifty United States. Recordings of his works appear on the Ravello, Centaur, ERM-Media and EnF labels, and feature performances by Lawrence Stomberg, Marianne Gythfeldt, Holly Roadfeldt, and Frederick L. Hemke. In 2009 Dr. O'Riordan joined the faculty of Lafayette College where he serves as Associate Professor of Music and Director of Bands, teaching courses in music theory, and composition and conducts The Lafayette College Concert Band. Kirk studied composition with Rodney Rogers, Randall Shinn, James De Mars, Glenn Hackbarth, Burton Beerman, and Marilyn Shrude. He has studied saxophone with Frederick L. Hemke, John Sampen, and Eugene Rousseau.


Attention Saxophonists: consider joining the consortium that is commissioning a new saxophone and piano sonata.

The new work will be a three-movement sonata with an approximate duration of 12-15 minutes. The commission will be open to 30 saxophonists and/or studios. The anticipated date of completion is June, 2019. My initial sketches are in a language that is not too distantly related to that of Copland. Much of my music has a strong Debussy influence as well, and I imagine that this will be evident here as well. I anticipate a difficulty level that is appropriate for an advanced upper-division undergraduate student saxophonist. The piano part will be of similar difficulty.

Update 1: I have a good chunk of the first movement finished, as well as some sketches for the second movement. So far, the first movement is kind of in the sound world of a Lowell Lieberman. There is some lyrical altissimo up to the D-ish range and some vibrant rhythmic energy. The second movement is developing an Arvo Part-ian quality.

Update 2:I now have a complete first draft of movement II. There is a lot powerful, lyrical altissimo (up to Eb),with some nice cascading piano lines to support them. The Arvo Part-like quality is still there, and there is a hint of Albright in there too. With two completed movements, the total duration is about 11 minutes...we are on pace for about 16 or so for the full work.

Follow this link to download more details.

  • E-mail Kirk

  • I have made some of my piano music available at Sheet Music Plus.com. Follow this link to see everything SMP carries...this includes Strange Flowers and as well.

    The pieces that are currently available are: Water Lilies, Lacrimosa, Twenty-Six Preludes, and Humming Spheres. Links to the individual pieces can be found in the Piano Music page.

    Superconductor is now available from Bandcamp.com. Go here to download the album!

    Maestro is the pop music voice of classical composer Kirk O’Riordan. The music combines contemporary classical composition techniques and styles (minimalism, serialism, etc.) with elements of 80’s -era synth pop. Imagine Kraftwork, Depeche Mode, Steve Reich, and Debussy in a blender, poured over 70’s-style Yes.
    The debut release, Superconductor, is comprised of seven long-form (7-10 minute) songs that reflect these various influences. The album blurs the lines between classical and popular music in brand new ways.




    I was recently a guest on Anthony Lanman's 1 Track Podcast This is a tremendous podcast...check out my episode and episodes with a lot of other great composers and performers (Holly Roadfeldt has one too...check that one out!)

    Sky Fires will be premiered by the Brecksville-Broadview Hts. High School Chamber Orchestra, Steve Cocchiola, conductor, on May 17. This is the orchestra's first commissioned work! This was my high school orchestra, so I am especially happy to have written the work for them. Check back soon for more info.

Kirk's Compositions

“The Six works on ‘Strange Flowers’ reveal a composer for whom imagery is a defining inspiration. Each of the pieces -- beautifully played -- has a title that establishes a mood or a particular emotional world. O’Riordan is a deeply sensitive composer who savours going gently into the night.”

--Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone Magazine (April 2014)

"Kirk O’Riordan’s Twenty-six Preludes for Piano composed for his wife and pianist, Holly Roadfeldt, are similarly atmospheric and proceed to unfold like a magical tapestry. Each of the 26 Preludes seemingly comprising of warp and weft forming a myriad of pixels of little pictures that ultimately combines to form a moveable feast for both eye and inner ear. O’Riordan’s miniatures are informed by languorous beauty and profundity, the lyrical variations of each often feature elaborate embellishments, as well as sudden dissonant figurations that seem to mimic the gravity-defying leaps of the gazelle, and even – in No. 21, a certain darkness. However, a gossamer-like filament links each of the preludes and O’Riordan seems to revel in boundless invention, wide expressive range, technical challenges and intellectual cachet."

--Raul da Gama, World Music Report (March 2017)

Upcoming Performances

Where to hear Kirk's music performed.


Where to purchase recordings.