Born in Dublin, Donnacha Dennehy has had work featured in festivals and venues around the world, including the Edinburgh International Festival, Royal Opera House (London), Carnegie Hall, The Barbican, BAM, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, ISCM World Music Days, WNYC's New Sounds Live, Bang On A Can, Ultima Festival (Oslo), Musica Viva (Lisbon), the Saarbrucken Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, and the Gaudeamus Festival (Amsterdam).
Dennehy has been commissioned by Dawn Upshaw, the Kronos Quartet, Alarm Will Sound, Bang On A Can, Third Coast Percussion, Icebreaker (London), Contact (Toronto), Orkest de Ereprijs (Netherlands), Percussion Group of the Hague, RTE National Symphony Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, BBC Ulster Orchestra and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, among others. Collaborations include pieces with the writer Enda Walsh (including his recent opera The Last Hotel), the choreographers Yoshiko Chuma and Shobana Jeyasingh, and the visual artist John Gerrard. He founded Ireland's Crash Ensemble in 1997, whose Nonesuch release entitled Grá agus Bás was named one of NPR's "50 favorite albums" (in any genre) in 2011.
Dennehy's recent opera The Last Hotel, with a libretto by Enda Walsh, premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2015 and has since had runs at the Dublin Theatre Festival, the Royal Opera in London, and St Ann's Warehouse in New York. Other recent premieres include Surface Tension for Third Coast Percussion, and Tessellatum for violist Nadia Sirota, viol consort and electronics, scheduled for release by Bedroom Community. His new String Quartet for the Doric Quartet premieres in July 2016. He has been on the music faculty at Princeton University since 2014.