Fergus O’Carroll completed his secondary education at the noted musical college and home of the Schola Cantorum, Saint Finian’s College, Mullingar. In 1975, a week after completing his schooling, he was appointed French Horn player with the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra as 4th Horn, thus beginning a long career with the National Symphony Orchestra from which he retired in 2016. In 1992 he was invited to become the first musical director of Ulysses Choir, Dublin, thus beginning his association with choral music. He has since been Musical Director of Dun Laoghaire Choral Society, Dublin Chamber Choir and guest conductor of the Dublin County Choir and of the Tallaght Choral Society. He was assistant to conductor Franz Paul Decker of the Annalivia Festival of Opera from 2000 to 2007. Fergus has been Musical Director of Mullingar Choral Society since 1999.
On leaving the RTE NSO, Fergus was appointed Head of Faculty Woodwind, Brass and Percussion at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin where he is Director of Bands, French Horn teacher and Co-ordinator of the Doctoral programme. He holds a Masters degree in Music from CIT Cork School of Music. He recently retired as Musical Director of the Irish National Band Champions, Dublin Concert Band after fifteen years at the helm.
In his spare time Fergus publishes Irish concert band music and is recognised as one of the premier music typesetters in the country. His orchestration of Donal Lunny’s Dúiseacht (Awakening) was performed in Hanover and his composition Capricious Celts was recorded by the Band of the Garda Síochána, and performed by the National Symphony Orchestra as well as by Army bands and many of Ireland’s wind ensembles. Mullingar Choral Society performed his Requiem Aeternam during its 2014 Spring Concert in Mullingar. In 2019 Fergus composed a short piece for Mullingar Choral Society’s golden jubilee concert entitled Slane.
Fergus acted as Chair of the Organising Committee of the Annual Conference of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE). This conference presented thirteen major public concerts in one week including the World Premier of Shostakovich’s The Priest and his Servant, Balda. His composition Celtic Prayers received its World Premiere in Utrecht during the WASBE conference in 2017.
He has a daughter living and working in Dublin and a son who is following in his footsteps and is a freelance French Horn player and music typesetter. Fergus lives in Dublin with his wife Antoinette.
The 2019/2020 season marked Fergus’ 20th anniversary as conductor of Mullingar Choral Society and this special anniversary was celebrated by reprising the piece performed both for his inaugural concert in 2000, and on his 10th anniversary in 2010, Handel’s Messiah.