Aileen (b.1994) is a Scottish composer, accordionist and arranger based in Glasgow and enjoys a varied career as a freelance musician. Her music is cross-genre, infused with the ornamentation, energy and colours of the Scottish folk music she grew up playing learning the accordion. Her music is often influenced by nature and folklore, as well as finding inspiration in current social and political affairs she is passionate about such as climate change, equality and politics.
In 2021, Aileen's piece 'Above the Stars' performed by The London Philharmonic Orchestra won the award for 'Large Scale New Work' sponsored by PRS at The Scottish Awards for New Music. Aileen has worked with and been commissioned by many of the UK’s ensembles such as The Red Note Ensemble, The Nevis Ensemble, The Michael Cuddigan Trust, The Edinburgh Quartet, The Brodick Quartet, The Hebrides Ensemble, The Carice Singers and The Psappha Ensemble.
Aileen loves a natter and co-hosts the Ear to the Ground podcast with Ben Eames, talking to Scottish/Scottish based composers about their work and promoting their music in partnership with New Music Scotland. In 2021, the podcast won the RCS Making it Happen Award at The Scottish Awards for New Music.
In 2017, Aileen graduated from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a Bachelor of Music Degree with First Class Honours and subsequently a Master of Music Degree in 2021 with scholarships awarded by The Dewar Arts Award, The Cross Trust, The Countess of Munster Musical Trust and The North Lanarkshire Musical Trust.
"The darkly glowing harmonies and rapturously intertwining tendrils of melody in Aileen Sweeney’s nature-inspired The Wooden Web stood out among a strong clutch of new works." - The Scotsman (2018)
"Aileen Sweeney’s piece 'Feda' was all the more powerful: inspired by an ancient Celtic alphabet of trees, it was an exquisitely scored, persuasively played trio of movements, with a gentle breeze stirring the aspen leaves, and a gnomic harp solo representing the stand-alone rowan. Poignant, thoughtful and bracingly fresh, it proved the ideal piece to mark a somewhat cautious return to live music." - The Scotsman - 2021
During Aileen's undergraduate degree, she was awarded first place for the Tony and Tania Prize for Solo Rare Russian Music and the Dunbar-Gerber prize for chamber music prize. During this time, she was also a finalist of the Edinburgh Concerto Competition where she performed Piazzolla’s Bandoneon Concerto, conducted by David Watkin.
Aileen has performed with some of the leading contemporary music ensembles in Scotland such as The Glasgow New Music Expedition, Ensemble Thing and NOISE Opera.
Aileen has experience arranging for a variety of ensembles ranging from chamber groups to orchestra. The examples below show arrangements created for a recording session with The Nevis Ensemble as part of their 'Amplify' project. If you would like to discuss an arranging/orchestration project, please get in touch via the contact form.