Originally from Cork, Solfa Carlile is a twice recipient of the Bill Whelan/IMRO Music Bursary. In 2009 she graduated with a Bachelor of Music from the Royal College of Music with first class honours, having studied with Joseph Horovitz and Alison Kay. She was also awarded a Masters in Advanced Composition (MMus) from the RCM in July 2011. She is also an accomplished flautist and pianist.
Her music has been performed by London Chamber Orchestra, Okeanos and the Composers Ensemble, among others. Solfa won the prestigious Jerome Hynes Commission Award at the Irish National Concert Hall in 2009, and was given a patron's award by the London Chamber Orchestra in 2010. She was one of three young composers chosen to work with Harrison Birtwistle at Dartington in 2010, for a collaborative project entitled Theatre of Illusion. In May 2013 she was awarded the Sean O'Riada prize at the Cork International Choral Festival, and her piece Upon The Rose was performed by the National Chamber Choir of Ireland, conducted by Paul Hillier.
Commissions have included a symphonic work, Deirdre and Naoise, for the London Irish Symphony Orchestra, The Silkie Wife, a flute concerto for flautist James Strauss, premiered in Brazil (2008), and Phantom Isle Suite, for the Aldworth Philharmonic (2010).
Her association with OSP began in 2011 when she won the innaugural OSP Composition Competition, judged by composers Judith Bingham and David Matthews, and OSP's Artistic Director, Ben Palmer. Following the successful performance of her prize-winning piece, The Copper Faye, she was invited to become the orchestra's first ever Composer-in-Residence. Since then OSP has commissioned and performed three further works; Vienna Vignettes, for a Haydn-sized chamber orchestra, Ecce: Fanfare, which was performed at St John’s, Smith Square in 2012, and Dagda's Harp, a fairy-tale inspired work for small chamber orchestra in 2014.
Carlile draws on a broad spectrum of influences, ranging from traditional folk music and film music, to specialised concert music. Her music has been described as ‘quasi-modal’ (The Irish Times), and ‘adept at conjuring up an instant atmophere’ (Tempo).