Donna McKevitt is an English composer based in London. She studied voice with Linda Hirst and was a member of Miranda Sex Garden between 1991 and 1994. She recorded Iris, Suspiria and Fairytales of Slavery with them for Mute Records.
After contributing to the soundtrack of Derek Jarman’s last film Blue, she began work on Translucence. These settings of Jarman’s poems were recorded for Warner Classics in 1997 by Andrew Keener and featured the voices of Michael Chance and Melanie Pappenheim. “A work of haunting and unpretentious beauty”, Translucence has been performed by the original ensemble at Columbia University (broadcast live on WNYC Radio), at The City of London Festival and at Tate Modern. It has also been performed at The Edinburgh Festival and in Boston, Tokyo, Sydney and Zurich by other ensembles.
In 2000 Donna moved to Sarajevo where she continued writing, producing settings of poetry by Paul Celan, e.e cummings, Ben Okri and later, in collaboration with film maker Chris Briggs, work by Pablo Neruda. Love Songs for Michael, the settings of three Michelangelo sonnets for Michael Chance and lutist Nigel North, were commissioned and performed at The Radovljica Festival in Slovenia in 2000.
Donna is a member of the band The Mabuses and composer for the photographer Emma Summerton contributing film scores and soundtracks for the fashion house Bodyamr, London and Paris Fashion Week, Jaeger and Italian Vogue.
2010 saw the release of This is what I wanted to give you, a collaboration with poet Jan Noble and the beginning of a new song cycle from McKevitt. A live preview of the forthcoming debut album from ‘McKevitt & Noble’, showcased at the East End Film Festival in May 2011, was McKevitt’s first live performance in nearly 10 years.
A one hour retrospective of her work broadcast on WNYC in December 2011 included a live studio session with trumpeter Lew Soloff and double bassist Francois Mouton as well as recordings of her work with Miranda Sex Garden, songs from ‘Translucence’ and new tracks from McKevitt & Noble. Listen to Catching up with Donna McKevitt on WNYC
Compass, a work commissioned by Sadler’s Wells was performed at the theatre in 2012. The film score for the The Fold (2014) is her first full-length feature soundtrack since working on The Child, a short for the BBC.