"It's as if I were a screenwriter watching incredibly gifted actors become the characters I created." That’s how I responded when an interviewer asked what it's like when I hear an outstanding performance of one of my compositions. I write so that when performers recreate my work, they can convey something compelling to the listeners.
The first time I put down my instrument to pick up a pencil was in seventh grade band. A friend had a B-flat trumpet, a melody written for voice, and a confused look because his instrument wasn't producing the correct sounds. I had never heard the word, "transpose" and had never written notes on a music staff, but with trial-and-error and a little luck, I wrote out the trumpet part for him. I liked figuring that out. After that, in every high school music ensemble, rock band, choir, and college jazz band I was in, I joined to perform but ultimately started writing.
Some of my music has been inspired by special places I've visited, such as At Milsons Point (Sydney) and Snoqualmie Passages (Cascade Mountains). I also like writing for a variety of settings. Most of my works are for concerts and recitals, but some of my commissioned pieces have been for worship services, and I've completed museum installations, such as Ancestry, an electro-acoustic work composed in collaboration with sculptor Wallace Mallette.
I'm a native of New Orleans. My degrees are from the University of Mississippi and Florida State University. I love teaching, and I've taught music theory, composition, and music industry at Mississippi Valley State University and Ouachita Baptist University.
My wife, Jill, and I currently reside in Arkansas.
“Patrick Houlihan Music” was already taken. And because a certain performing rights organization that shall remain nameless has gotten records for the multiple Patrick Houlihans confused, it was essential to use a new business name.
Inis — my mother’s name and our daughter’s middle name — is Irish for “from the river island." Credit goes to my wife, Jill, for naming our business. (Every name I had thought of was either taken or awful.)