Bill Whelan has been working as a composer and record producer in Dublin for over fifteen years. He has produced and arranged for many Irish and international artists including U2, Van Morrison, Kate Bush and Planxty.
He has also worked extensively in theatre, orchestrating the scores for Noel Pearson's productions of The Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore, at the Old Vic., the latter for which he received a Laurence Olivier Award Nomination.
For four consecutive years he has wrote the original music score for each of the Abbey Theatre's presentations in the annual W.B. Yeats International Festival.
In 1987, he wrote the orchestral suite commemorating the film music of the Irish composer, Séan O'Ríada which was conducted by Elmer Bernstein, and his composition, "Dance of the Morrigu" was performed by the National Symphony Orchestra in July 1990. His setting of "Mo Róisín Suas chun Dáta" by Núala Ní Dhomhnaill received its first performance early in 1991, and he has also composed the "Centre of the Universe" a musical setting for three poems by Paul Durcan which was first performed in 1988 by the London Chamber Orchestra.
His compositional work for film includes Colin Gregg's "Lamb" with Van Morrison.
He has worked extensively with traditional Irish music, having been a member of Planxty for two years. His recent productions include albums with Andy Irvine and Stockton's Wing and an album of Bulgarian music with Andy Irvine and Davy Spillane entitled "East Wind" (TARA 3027) incorporating Irish traditional and eastern European musicians. This album was the immediate forerunner to the Riverdance album.
He has presented and conducted the RTE television series "An Eye on the Music" which highlighted the work of composers in various fields of music, and incorporated the performance of ethnic musicians in an orchestral setting.
His stage scores include the stage presentation of Leon Uris's "Trinity" in New York.
Bill's first major orchestral work "The Seville Suite" (TARA 3030) was commissioned by The Department of the Taoiseach to commemorate Ireland's involvement in Expo '92 at Seville, was inspired by the exploits of 'Red' Hugh O'Donnell, The Earl of Tirconaill - from The Battle of Kinsale until his eventual arrival in Galicia to the celebratory welcome of The Spanish Earl of Caraçena. The Suite was first performed in The National Concert Hall Dublin in March 1992. It received its first Spanish performance on October 4th 1992 at the Maestranza in Seville. The occasion celebrated 'Ireland Day' for Expo, which was attended by Irelands Prime Minister Albert Reynolds. The soloists and the RTE concert orchestra flew to Seville where they performed the concert, conducted by Prionsías O'Duinn. The soloists who contribute invaluably to "The Seville Suite" are all outstanding musicians in their own field. Davy Spillane features on Uilleann Pipes, Máirtín O'Connor on Accordion, Mel Mercier on Bodhrán, Mairéad Nesbitt on Fiddle. Harp, Whistles and Galician Pipes are performed by the well-known Spanish traditional group Milladoiro.
The album also features a re-recording of 'Timedance' which was performed by Planxty (including Bill) for the interval of the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest which was staged in Dublin. This re-recording features Planxty musicians Liam O'Flynn, Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine as well as Nollaig Casey on fiddle.