Darragh Kearns-Hayes was born in Cork, Ireland. He studied at the Cork School of Music from an early age and completed a Bachelors Degree in Music there in 2013. Although he enjoyed exploring a wide variety of roles within music, he became increasingly attracted to the immeasurable creative possibilities that composition provides and wanted to focus on it more acutely. He is currently finishing a masters degree in composition at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam where he has studied with Wim Henderickx and Richard Ayres.
Variety still proves to be something that attracts Darragh. Sometimes composing for large forces in a concert music setting and others performing his music himself with smaller ensembles. His passions for collaboration and in different media often drive his creative processes. In 2014 he was awarded the Skammdegi Air Award by Listhus residency centre and spent two months on an artistic residency in Ólafsfjörður, an isolated village in Northern Iceland. As well as composing and finding themes and subjects for future works, Darragh captured a series of photographs and time-lapse videos, which were exhibited in the village.
Over the past few years Darragh has become increasingly interested in Irish traditional music. He regularly performs all over Ireland with his trio Lyda, playing standard traditional repertoire, fusions and their own compositions influenced by the tradition. Darragh has experimented in his compositions, transferring traditional Irish forms into classical contexts with small ensembles all the way up to symphony orchestras. He is interested in utilising the aesthetics of traditional music, communicating his music to instrumentalists orally and work-shopping material.
His compositions have been recorded or performed by groups and soloists such as the RTÉ Irish National Symphony Orchestra, Nieuw Ensemble, Orkest de Ereprijs, Conservatorium van Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, Cork New Music Ensemble, Sarah Jeffery and Marja Gaynor amongst others as well as multiple bands and ensembles that he has assembled himself for different projects.