Professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin (Founding Director)

Professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin

In January 1994, he established the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in the University of Limerick, where he took up position as the first holder of a new Chair of Music. The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance initially concernedwith research and innovation in Irish and Irish-related music world wide. These interests have now expanded to form a central ring of nine MA programmes with associated doctorate research.

The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance is also the home of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, which relocated from Dublin to University of Limerick in January ’95, with the generous support of The Arts Council. Since his initial recording on the Gael Linn label in 1975 (re-issued in CD format in 1991), Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin’s main recordings have been Cry of the Mountain (Gael Linn 1982), and four recordings in a projected series with Virgin/Venture – The Dolphin’s Way (1987), Oileán/Island (1989), and Casadh/Turning (1990), and Gaiseadh/Flowing (1992 – with the Irish Chamber Orchestra). Along with the development of a uniquely Irish piano style, much of his composition to date has explored the diametrically opposed sounds of traditional and classical music: ‘Oileán/Island’ for Irish traditional flute and strings (1989(, ‘flowansionnamare’ for Irish pipes, piano, strings, and percussion (1991), ‘Session*1′ for strings, piano, and Irish traditional percussion (1992). In 1993 he founded an ensemble, Hiberno-Jazz, which explores the confluence of Irish, Classical, Jazz and World Music. Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin’s composition and music performance activity is mirrored in his work as an Ethnomusicologist.

From 1975 to 1993, he worked in the Music Department of University College Cork with young traditional and classical musicians from Ireland, the U.K. and North America. In that time he established UCC Music Department as the first such educational body to work towards the integration of traditional and classical musicians, within a shared curriculum. In January, 1994, he continued this work at postgraduate level in the University of Limerick, where he was the first holder of a new Chair of Music. In 1990, he was Visiting Professor at Boston College for a semester, during which, he founded an Archive for Irish Traditional Music in America. The Archive, which is housed in the Burns Library on the campus, is partially funded by a CD recording of a Fiddle Festival held in Boston College in 1990, entitled ‘My Love is in America’, which he produced. The CD, which was released in 1991, was honoured by an award from The Library of Congress, Washington.

Mícheál ÓSúilleabháin produced a series of five CD recordings of live traditional music events held in Cork University from 1991 to 1995. The first four of the series were released internationally by Nimbus Records (UK) and featured Donegal and Shetland Fiddle Music (released in 1991 as ‘Fiddlesticks’), Irish Traditional Music from America (entitled ‘Dear Old Erin’s Isle released in 1992), ‘Music from Cape Breton Island’, Canada (released in 1993 under the title ‘Cape Breton Island’) and ‘Irish Traditional Music from England’ in 1994. The fifth in the series, ‘The Gathering – A World of Irish Music’ was directed by Mel Mercier, was released in 1995 on the ‘Real World’ label.

The royalities from all these recordings benifit various archives of Irish Traditional music in Ireland, UK, USA and Canada.

MÍCHEÁL Ó SÚILLEABHÁIN DISCOGRAPHY

1976 MÍCHEÁL Ó SÚILLEABHÁIN (GAEL LINN)

Solo performances on piano, harpsichord, clavichord, pedal organ/harmonium, and Moog-Synthesiser.
(Re-released on CD in 1992).

1977 ÓRÓ DAMHNAIGH (GAEL LINN)

Traditional ensemble from Co. Waterford

1981 CRY OF THE MOUNTAIN (GAEL LINN)

Film music and music for radio, performed by various traditional ensembles.

1987 THE DOLPHIN’S WAY (VENTURE/VIRGIN)

Solo piano with traditional percussion

1989 OILEÁN/ISLAND (VENTURE/VIRGIN)

With the Irish Chamber Orchestra and traditional musicians.

1990 CASADH/TURNING (VENTURE/VIRGIN)

Solo piano with traditional percussion; chamber ensemble with traditional flute.

1992 GAISEADH/FLOWING (VENTURE/VIRGIN)

With the Irish Chamber Orchestra and traditional musicians.

1995 A RIVER OF SOUND (VIRGIN)

With a variety of musicians.

LUMEN (VIRGIN)

CD single of the Eurovision piece.

BETWEEN WORLDS (VIRGIN)

A compilation album.

1998 BECOMMING

With the Irish Chamber Orchestra includiing music for the 1925 silent firm, Irish Resting.

2000 TEMPLUM (VIRGIN)

With the Irish Chamber Orchestra and the National Chamber Choir of Ireland.

SEE ALSO:

Arrangements/compositions/performances/production on recordings by Nóirín Ní Riain (1978/1980/1982/1989/1990/1993), Paddy Glackin (1977), Tommy Hayes (1991), Liam O’Flynn (1988), Aíne Uí Cheallaigh (1992).

A River of Sound, a series of seven 40mt television programmes, produced by Hummingbird Productions in association with BBC and RTE, was devised, scripted, and presented by Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin. It received it’s first broadcast in February/March 1995 on RTE and BBC Northern Ireland. It will be broadcast in December 1995 on BBC2. The CD recording of the same title contained several performances and compositions by him.

In May, 1995 he directed the first performance of Lumen, specially commissioned by RTE as the interval music for Eurovision ’95. With a viewing audience of 300,000,000, Eurovision is the biggest music television show in the world. The CD Lumen was releaded in Ireland in May ’95 and in the UK in July ’95. His first compilation album, Between Worlds, was due for released in September ’95.

His most recent composition, MARANATA (for S.A.T.B. choir) was commisioned by the Cork International Choral Festival and received it’s first performance by the National Chamber Choir in May 2000.

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