top of page



(symphony orchestra)

Glisk logo 2.png

Duration: 4'


Forces: 3(pic).3.3(Ebcl+bcl).3(cbsn) - 4.3.3(b-trb).1 - timp.3perc - hp.pno - str (original)

Smaller orchestration available: 2(pic).2.2.2(cbsn) - 4.2.3(b-trb) - timp.2perc -string 


Commissioner: The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

About the work

Glisk is an old Scots word meaning a fleeting glint or flicker. It's often used to describe a gleam of sunlight coming through the clouds or figuratively, "a glimpse of the good" in Shetland. Often used to describe fleeting moments of good weather, (that probably won't last very long!)

Above the Stars
(chamber orchestra)

Above the Stars logo 3.png

Duration: 9'


Forces: 2(pic).2(ca).2(bcl).2(cbsn) - - 2perc - hp.pno -

Commissioner: The London Philharmonic Orchestra Young Composers' Scheme 2019/20

About the work

2020 is Beethoven's anniversary year but also the year that the UK left the EU. 'Ode to Joy' from Beethoven's 9th symphony has been used as the European anthem since 1972 and forms the basis to the final section to the piece. Despite Scotland voting with a 62% majority to remain, Scotland will leave with the rest of the UK. The title, is an extract from the Ode to Joy text which nods to the 12 stars of the European flag.

Winner of The PRS prize for Large Scale New Work at The Scottish Awards for New Music 2021.

(string orchestra)

Duration: 3' 30"


Forces: String Orchestra

Commissioner: Britten Sinfonia  (Magnum Opus Scheme)

About the work

'Rant' is a great word which has several meanings across Scotland. First and foremost, it is a type of traditional tune that is used in country dancing. However in the Scots language, ranting can also mean “to romp, roister, make merry or indulge in boisterous fun.” Although, perhaps more widely and more commonly, rant can also be used to describe speaking in a “bombastic and impassioned way.” With this piece, I wanted to squeeze as many notes and as much energy as possible into 3 minutes and ranting (in whatever sense of the word) seemed like the perfect way to do it!


(accordion concerto)

winter logo.png

Duration: 13'


Forces: Freebass accordion and strings

Commissioner: The Glasgow Barons

About the work: The piece is in three movements and each explores a different winter festival once celebrated by the Ancient Celts: Samhain, Yule and Imbolc.


Winner of The PRS prize for Large Scale New Works at The Scottish Awards for New Music 2023. 

Percussion Concerto

Percussion concerto - (Movement II)

Duration: 16'


Forces: Solo Percussionist - - str

Commissioner: Owen Gunnel and Britten Sinfonia (Magnum Opus Scheme)

About the work: Have you ever been in a restaurant, looked at the dessert menu and just can't decide what to have? But then, you realise you can order 3 little ones for the same price as a big one. I  love it when that happens. That's fantastic. When writing this concerto, I wanted to write lots of different things. Something with lopsided time signatures, something meditative and inward, something super rhythmic...I couldn’t pick - so I didn’t. So here’s the “three little puddings” on the menu for tonight. Do they compliment each other? I don’t know but hey; you’re getting three for the price of one...

"Aileen Sweeney's Percussion Concerto, made up of an elegiac lament between two succinct, highly rhythmical movement, made an idea start to the concert, skilfully played by Owen Gunnell." - The Financial Times


(percussion quartet)

Duration: 9'


Forces: Percussion Quartet (Tone Chimes, tom-toms x2, cowbell, rototoms, hi-hats x2, snare, kick drum, crash cymbal, vibraphone, marimba, synthesiser, crotales

Commissioner: Chamber Music Scotland and The Colin Currie Quartet

About the work: A 'starburst' is an astrophysical process in which stars are born at a particularly fast rate, which is particularly common when galaxies collide. Closer to home, 'starbursts' are a well-known brand of fruit-flavoured chewy sweets which I was often partial to on trips to the corner shop as a kid.

"What the young composer has done with her new work starburst is well worth a mention. This was the subtlest music-making of the evening, opening with the gentle unfolding of a basic motif on delicate tone chimes, reaching its highpoint with a hypnotising rock groove, before unwinding to a hushed conclusion." - Vox Carnynx

Cosmic Dawn
(string quartet + sop sax)

Duration: 8' 30"


Forces: String Quartet and Soprano Saxophone in Bb

Commissioner: Presteigne Festival for Amy Dickson and The Carducci Quartet

About the work

The most distant star ever seen has been captured by the Hubble telescope. Light from this single star has travelled an estimated 12.9 billion years to reach Earth. It is estimated to be at least 50 times the size of our sun and millions of times as bright. Although scientists on Earth can now see its light, the star itself certainly no longer exists.
The star has been named Earendel which comes from Old English meaning “the morning star.” Earendel emitted its light remarkably close to the cosmic dawn - the epoch when the first stars ignited and galaxies began to form. It may be the only star from this epoch that we will ever see.

(string quartet)

Duration: 3' 30"


Forces: String Quartet

Commissioner: The Red Note Ensemble

About the work

Commissioned for the ensemble's Scottish tour of schools and community centres, performed live here on BBC Radio Scotland's 'Classics Unwrapped'.

"There's also a terrific piece by up-and-coming young Scottish composer Aileen Sweeney which is loads of fun."

-  Robert Irvine - Shetland News

The Wooden Web

Duration: 6' 30"


Forces: Flute (doubling alto), viola and cello.

Commissioner: The Red Note Ensemble and Sound Festival

About the work

Trees appear silent, but scientists have discovered they are communicating closely with each other. This all happens underground through a fungal network growing around and inside their roots which scientists have coined "The Wood Wide Web." 

"The glowing harmonics 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

As the Gloaming Falls
(flute and piano)

Duration: 6' 30"


Forces: Flute and Piano

Commissioner: Westbourne Music

About the work

This piece is a little musical postcard, from a summer spent camping in Kintyre, on the West Coast of Scotland where we would spend our evenings on a small hill just above the campsite, watching the sun slowly dip below The Paps of Jura across the water.


Play from 23' 27"

(large chamber ensemble)

Duration: 10'


Forces: - hp. -

Commissioner: Red Note Ensemble and Sound Festival

About the work

In early medieval times, trees played an important role in Irish and Scottish Celtic culture and traditions. Trees were also used to form an alphabet and calendar known as Ogham. The alphabet contained twenty distinct characters called Feda meaning trees. The letters of the alphabet corresponded with a particular tree, the characteristics of which symbolised a certain attribute of human existence. 

Fede logo 3.png

Play from 6' 50"

'Inspired by an ancient Celtic alphabet of trees, it was 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.'


- The Scotsman

Pale Blue Dot
(accordion and violin)

Duration: 4' 30"


Forces: Freebass accordion and violin

Commissioner: Neil Sutcliffe and Sarah Wagner

About the work

2020 is the 30th anniversary of one of the most iconic photographs in recent history. On 14th February 1990, NASA’s voyager mission was speeding out of our solar system, at a distance of 3.7 billion miles from the sun when it was instructed to turn around and take a photograph of our planet before zooming out into interstellar space. 

The photo was orchestrated by Carl Sagan which became known as the “Pale Blue Dot.” Sagan remarked that “to me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we have ever known.  

Pale Blue Dot logo 2.png

The Mirrie Dancers
(accordion and sop sax)

Mirrie Logo.png

Duration: 8'


Forces: Freebass accordion and soprano saxophone in Bb

Commissioner: Mikeleiz-Zucchi Duo

About the work

The 'Mirrie Dancers' is a poetic name for The Northern Lights from Shetland which dates back hundreds of years. The word 'mirr' is specific to the former Norn speaking areas and means 'to shimmer,' describing the phenomenon beautifully.

This piece is inspired by folk styles from both Scotland and Norway, in particular, The Halling (hallingdansen) a folk dance traditionally performed in rural Norway, where the accompanying music is made from short melodic fragments which are repeated and varied, to give a feeling of improvisation and creating a hypnotic like sound-world. 

Three Pieces from the East End
(violin and cello)

Duration: 13'


Forces: Violin and Cello

Commissioner: The University of Glasgow McEwan Commission

About the work

This pieces explores a sense of nostalgia that I experienced as I followed the route of the Molendinar, a culverted burn in Glasgow. The path of the burn travels through areas in the East End of Glasgow where I have strong connections to my maternal grandparents. They lived in these parts of town most of their lives and raised my own mum her as well. Since their passing, I haven't ventured to these parts of town until now. Following the path of the burn has taken my mind back to my childhood and the times I spent in these places or the stories I remember my Grandparents telling me about them. The piece has three movements: Alexandra Parade, Wishart Street and Hogganfield Loch.

Three pieces from the East End LOGO.png


(solo cello)

Duration: 5' 30"


Forces: Solo Cello

Commissioner: St. Andrew's University

About the work

Siku meaning 'Sea-Ice' in Greenlandic was written in collaboration with a glaciologist at The University of St. Andrew's and was written in response to the glaciers and surrounding landscapes that are being studied. 


Breathing Place
(SATB Choir)

Duration: 11' 30"


Forces: SATB Choir (with divisions)

Commissioner: Adopt a Composer scheme, Making Music UK.

About the work

Through getting to know the Helensburgh Oratorio Choir, it became clear that Helensburgh and the surrounding area of Loch Lomond is very important to the members and that this love for the area should be the main focus of the piece whilst examining the effect of climate change on the area.

We Will No Longer Sing into the Silence
(SATB Choir)

Duration: 4' 30"


Forces: SATB Choir (with divisions)

Commissioner: The Edinburgh Singers

About the work

Through getting to know the choir, it became very clear that the theme of community, reconnection and togetherness post-covid was really important to the group and should be the main focus of the piece. I spent a great deal of time looking for text that related to the theme before thinking, who better to write text about coming together as a choir, than The Edinburgh Singers themselves! So, I invited the choir to send me as many quotes as they liked from their favourite poems and songs as well as writing lines themselves which I could then collage into the one piece of text, written by the choir collectively. 

Eilean a' Cheò
(Tenor and Piano)

Eilean a ceho logo 2.png

Duration: 3'' 30"


Forces: Tenor and Piano (can be adapted for other voice types)

Commissioner: St. Andrew's Voices

About the work

A reimagining of the traditional Gaelic song  (The Misty Isle)  which speaks of a woman's longing to return to the Isle of Skye after fleeing during the highland clearances.



The Corryvreckan

Corryvreckan Logo.png

Duration: 4''


Forces: Flexible, ranging from string orchestra and body percussion to orchestra.

Commissioner: Music Masters UK

About the work

The Corryvreckan whirlpool can be found off the West Coast of Scotland and is the third largest in the entire world! In Scotland there is believed to be a mythical creature known as The Cailleach, the Goddess of Winter. She's so huge she's believed to have created the mountains in Scotland by striding across the land. She uses the whirlpool to have a bath and wash her giant tartan kilt and as she does so, you can hear the roar of the seasons changing from autumn to winter. When she is finished, her cloth is pure white and becomes a blanket of snow that covers the land. 

'We really enjoyed playing The Corryvreckan Whirlpool at our Overture day! It worked really well for our ensemble and the full orchestration sounded great. The LPO players were really complimentary about it too, saying it was fun to play, wasn't too hard but offered plenty of breadth of different techniques and things to focus on for our 11-14 year old musicians"


- Talia Lash - Education & Community Director at The London Philharmonic Orchestra

bottom of page