Colman Pearce

Born: September 22nd, 1938, Dublin (Ireland)
Nationality: Irish

Colman Pearce was educated at University College Dublin; he studied conducting in Hilversum and Vienna. He was principal conductor of the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra from 1981 to 1983 and principal guest conductor of the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra from 1984 to 1987. Until 1999, he was principal conductor and music director of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and, in his final year, was the recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in the State of Mississippi. He was also made a Freeman of the City of New Orleans. As a conductor, Colman Pearce’s repertoire embraces not only the main works in the symphonic field but also opera and oratorio. He has directed the first performances of many contemporary Irish works and, with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, has recorded CDs with works of classical composers. As a composer, his song cycle ‘Summerfest’ was commissioned by RTÉ and premiered in 1993 with the composer as pianist.

Colman Pearce made his debut in the Eurovision Song Contest as the musical director of the 1971 edition, held in Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre; that year’s Irish entry, however, was conducted by Noel Kelehan. In the early 1970s, Pearce took over from Kelehan as the regular Irish Eurovision conductor, accompanying Sandie Jones with ‘Ceol an ghrá’ in 1972, Maxi with ‘Do I dream?’ in 1973, Tina (Reynolds) with ‘Cross your heart’ in 1974, and The Swarbriggs with ‘That’s what friends are for’ in 1975.

In due course, a more extensive biography of Colman Pearce will be published on this website


Songs conducted
1972: Ceol an ghrá
1973: Do I dream?
1974: Cross your heart
1975: That's what friends are for

Musical director
1971: Dublin