Oscar winning film composer Dario Marianelli scored his first two films in Ireland and told RTÉ TEN that he’s looking forward to returning for JDIFF.

The Italian composer who won an Oscar for his work on Atonement and has been nominated for Anna Karenina will be in Dublin for a special concert where the National Concert Hall and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra will celebrate his music, as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

"I never really thought of becoming a film composer", he said, "Until I found myself doing it, almost by accident. Scoring my first movie in Dublin was a great experience, and made me seriously consider it as a possible career."

When asked about working in Ireland on I Went Down, he said: "I Went Down was my second movie with Paddy Breathnach: we had previously worked together on his first feature film, Ailsa, about three years earlier, in 1994. He had found a tape of my theatre music in a friend's house, and liked it so much he offered me to score his film. Three years later he came back for more!

"I have wonderful memories of working with him and with his Irish crew, and found the energy of those days unforgettable. Walking through Temple Bar you could feel something was happening in Dublin, and there was a great desire to make things happen.

"On Ailsa there was very little money to spend, but it would go a long way, out of sheer goodwill of making things happen."

Speaking about what he is most looking forward to when he returns, he said: "Just to have a great evening with my friends in Dublin and bring some of my more recent music.

"A fair bit of water has flown under several bridges since I last worked in Ireland."

Marianelli’s Irish concert will take place on February 19 and the Oscars are on February 24, so it’ll be a busy few days if he is planning on attending the ceremony: "I will, of course! I am going over with my oldest daughter, who is about to explode with excitement.

"I am looking forward to see some of my fellow composers, who I admire very much, and spend a crazy weekend trying to stay sober at least some of the time!"

How has your Oscar success to date affected a) you and b) your work? "Not sure: mainly the Oscar has been a huge pat on the back from my colleagues for past work, which is very nice, but it only partially helps writing the next tune... Looks great on my shelf though!"

Are there Irish musicians and composers whom you admire? "I have to confess my encyclopaedic ignorance: I am well aware that Ireland has produced an astonishing amount of brilliant musicians in recent times, but as this has mainly been in pop and rock field, it has somewhat bypassed my classically centred and skewed perception of the world...

"However, although I am probably more familiar with the sound of John Field, I have of course heard and admired U2, Bob Geldof, The Divine Comedy, Sinead O'Connor..."

What can film and music fans expect from your concert with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra on February 19?

"I hope an enjoyable evening with a great orchestra playing suites from my three Oscar-nominated scores (Pride and Prejudice, Atonement and Anna Karenina) plus a suite from The Brothers Grimm, perhaps the craziest movie I have ever worked on.

"I will introduce each piece, trying to put them in the context of my career, and I have dug out of my archives two or three little excerpts from my Irish movies, including the very first piece of music I have ever written for a film.

"I am looking forward to it!"

For further information on the concert with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in the National Concert Hall to celebrate the music of Dario Marianelli on February 19 or to book tickets, click here

Taragh Loughrey-Grant