Before proceeding to the very pleasant task of formally launching the 37th Clifden Arts Festival, I would like to take a few minutes to reflect on the meaning of this festival within the context of what is happening in the wider world of the Arts today.
I don’t think that there has ever been a time in the history of civilization to compare with what we are experiencing today in terms of the rate of change as a result technological advances. When the first poem was printed by Johannes Gutenburg in 1450, we seemed to be at the doorstep of a Brave New World in terms of publishing and the widespread dissemination of ideas. And when the Industrial Revolution kicked off in the mid 1700s, it was to herald two centuries of massive upheaval, redefining our social and political structures, our methods of production, and how we used our leisure time. Those of us here in this hall who are old enough to remember the 1960s will recall the sense of heady excitement that surrounded the various Civil Rights movements, Flower Power and the Hippies, and the youthful challenge to authority, to censorship, to sexual mores which had been inherited from the great political and ecclesiastical institutions from Queen Victoria to the Church of Rome.
What strikes one today about all of these great changes was how long they took. The industrial revolution took centuries to take effect, as innovation led to further innovation and the associated ideas seeped into the fabric of society and slowly spawned further invention. Alvin Toffler, the great futurist, wrote a book in the late 1960’s called “Future Shock”. In it he drew attention to the acceleration of change that the 20th Century was living through and suggested that we were suffering from a condition where the future was arriving faster than we could cope with as humans. He prophesied that
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
There is much truth in this, and from our perspective here in 2014, the Industrial Revolution seems like a rather leisurely affair when measured against the velocity of change we are experiencing today. Even the relaxed and chilled hippy movement seems out of place in our world of turbulence, clamour and noise.
So, how does all this relate to the Arts, and in particular to the Clifden Arts Festival? The artist’s position in society has often been seen as prophetic. This might raise images of crystal ball gazing and mumbo-jumbo pronouncements about the future. I tend to see the role of the Arts as being a far more subtle and at the same time more practical one. It is our way of explaining ourselves to each other, of interpreting what is happening around us, of questioning our beliefs, and of presenting a visionary image of our future. The Arts is prophetic not insofar as it predicts the future, but more inasmuch as it can become the engine for that future. When it does its job well, it is essentially transformative.
There are a number challenges that face us in our technology-drenched world where I believe the Arts can deliver some solutions and perhaps give consolation to those who are suffering from our 21st century version of “future shock”.
The first relates to isolation. It is highly ironic in a world where we have created the most extraordinary tools of communication since the log-drum, that we often now increasingly speak of “isolation”. Those of us who have embraced the technology may on occasion find ourselves retreating into the ostrich world of our iPhones and Androids as we sit with our friends or family in restaurants or while watching TV. In an elevator or on the bus everybody reaches for their mobiles or tablets rather than engaging with those around them. Our “social media” might justifiably be seen as our “anti-social media”. The world of Facebook is filled with people posting “selfies” and Twittering on about what they had for breakfast. The whole thrust of it all is to tell the world what you feel about everything, rather than asking how they are feeling. All the traffic flow is outward with little time for either inward reflection or direct human engagement. It is hardly surprising then that we would start to speak of isolation. A world obsessed with “self” can hardly be expected to generate any real response from the “other”.
Let me pause here for a moment to stress that I feel extremely positive about all the technological advances to date and I am as excited about the future as I was when I bought my first computer and got my first Internet connection in the early 1990s. I do not have a dystopian or negative view of what is happening to us, but I do believe that we are living through a period where, simply put, we just haven’t had the time to get comfortable with all the changes and challenges being presented to us. We haven’t had the time to understand it all, to grow a set of responses to it, and we certainly have neither the time nor the energy to navigate through the Tower of Babel that is the Internet.
It is not surprising then that another challenge that faces us relates to how we value our artistic endeavours, or as the Internet calls it – our creative content. With so much of everything clamouring for our attention, it was perhaps inevitable that we would arrive at a stage where one of the greatest rock-acts in the world consented to having their music given away free. It was perhaps the logical endgame in the decay of the relationship between an artist and their audience. In U2s deal with Apple the audience were completely written out of the equation and it became about a deal between a wealthy corporation and a group of musicians. It affirmed that the value of recorded music had arrived at ground zero, and that its real worth was seen as a promotion for something else, in this case a mobile phone.
Astra Taylor has written the most incisive book on the current state of culture that I have read. It is called “The Peoples Platform” . In it she says
“wealth and power are shifting to those who control the platforms on which all of us create, consume, and connect. The companies that provide these and related services are quickly becoming the Disneys of the digital world—monoliths hungry for quarterly profits, answerable to their shareholders not us, their users, and more influential, more ubiquitous, and more insinuated into the fabric of our everyday lives than Mickey Mouse ever was. As such they pose a whole new set of challenges to the health of our culture.”
May I say that here in Clifden over the next 10 days and at over 100 wonderful events, we will see a series of powerful responses to all these challenges. Here we will see the Arts doing what they do best – engaging, informing, transforming, entertaining, relaxing, un-relaxing, bothering, consoling, evoking, comforting, discomforting, enlightening, interpreting, uplifting, reminding, confusing, confirming, but most of all bringing us together and requiring us to sit up, pay attention, and take note. It is time to put away our ear-pods, put our phones on silent, re-enter the world by leaving it, and look around, as Paul Simon says, all you’ll see is sympathetic eyes. This festival is 37 years a-growing in the heart of the community here, springing from and linked intimately in a very special way to the education of the young people of Clifden – those young people who will make the art of the future. It is an annually blooming and a precious flower. It is a gift to Clifden and it is a measure of how it is valued that it is a gift that keeps on giving.
I am proud to formally ignite the fuse under the next two weeks of fun and enlightenment and I have great pleasure in declaring the Clifden Arts Festival 2014 well and truly launched.
BILL WHELAN'S RIVERDANCE
BBC Proms 51 - Monday 25th August
Bill Whelan's "Riverdance" Suite will be performed by the Ulster Orchestra in the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms. The matinee concert will be broadcast live on BBC Radio . Tune in at 4.20pm to listen.
WHELAN IN THE YEARS
On the 20th anniversary of Riverdance, composer Bill Whelan looks back at the phenomenon he gave birth to, recalls the fateful decision to sack Michael Flatley, discusses the Limerick City of Culture controversy and shares his thoughts on the future of music in an era when fewer and fewer people pay for records.
Niall Stokes, 23 June 2014
Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Sir James Galway to perform US premiere of Linen and Lace, RTÉ lyric fm’s new commission from Bill Whelan at Ravinia Festival following world premiere performances with RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and Sir James Galway in Dublin and Limerick in June.
The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Sir James Galway and conductor Gavin Maloney will give the world premiere performances of the RTÉ lyric fm commissioned Linen and Lace in Dublin and Limerick at the Bill Whelan Gala concerts this June. Two weeks later, one of the world’s leading orchestras, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sir James Galway and conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya will give the US premiere of the piece at the renowned Ravinia Festival in Illinois on Tuesday 8 July.
In Dublin and Limerick Linen and Lace will be heard as part of an evening which brings star performers from the worlds of classical and traditional music — Sir James Galway flute, Zoë Conway fiddle, Catherine Leonard violin and Colin Dunne dancer — together with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and Gavin Maloney to perform some of Whelan’s best known music: the colourful Riverdance Symphonic Suite, the evocative Inishlacken and the exhilarating An Chistín from the Connemara Suite, Whelan’s playful interaction between fiddle, feet and orchestra. The Bill Whelan Gala concerts will take place in Dublin on Friday 20 June as part of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Season and, in association with Limerick City of Culture 2014, in Limerick on Saturday 21 June.
With Bill Whelan’s wish to create a piece linking his native city of Limerick with James Galway’s home city of Belfast, Bill took as his starting point what he describes as ‘a beautiful image’ in ‘An Unborn Child’ by the Belfast Poet Derek Mahon. ‘With the image of ‘the child awaiting its birth, and the mother sewing in expectation of the infant arrival, I pictured the mother fingering the filigree of Limerick Lace and grasping the supple strength of Belfast Linen. Somehow this image, and the anticipatory life of the womb, became the affirmative force which inspired this piece.’
Having recently completed the work, Bill says: ‘While writing Linen and Lace, I was constantly conscious of that powerful human force that drives the cities of Belfast and Limerick - the working men and women. Growing up in Limerick, I was very aware of this internal engine as the citizens went about their daily lives in the factories, around the docklands, in the shops and the offices. With its massive shipbuilding and other industries, Belfast shared this kind of pulsing life with Limerick, and it is no accident that a kind of wry humour is common to both locations. In Linen and Lace, I have tried to celebrate this urban life and I am honoured that a son of Belfast, the legendary James Galway, will give this piece its premiere performances.’
News of the US premiere has been greeted warmly by both Bill Whelan and RTÉ Lyric fm Head, Aodán Ó Dubhghaill:
‘I am delighted, of course, that Linen and Lace will receive its premiere performances in Limerick and Dublin with our superb RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, but it is an unexpected pleasure for me as composer that the Chicago Symphony will also perform it in July at the Ravinia Festival. I am greatly appreciative of RTÉ Lyric fm's role in bringing this piece into being.’
Aodán Ó Dubhghaill, Head of RTÉ lyric fm:
‘In 1999 RTÉ made the decision to base Ireland's National Music and Arts radio station, RTÉ lyric fm, in Limerick, named City of Culture for 2014. To mark the City of Culture designation and to celebrate the city's rich musical heritage, RTÉ lyric fm commissioned renowned composer and proud Limerick man Bill Whelan to write a flute concerto for the combined forces of Sir James Galway and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. We are delighted that Linen and Lace, Bill’s major new work, will be premiered in Dublin and Limerick – and that audiences around the world will be able to watch and hear the Limerick concert live through a live broadcast and web-stream on rte.ie/lyricfm. The importance of this RTÉ lyric fm commission is confirmed by the fact that the world famous Chicago Symphony Orchestra will premiere the work in the US at the renowned Ravinia Festival, Illinois within a couple of weeks of its Irish premiere.’
Detailed listings information:
Friday 20 June 2014, 8pm: Dublin National Concert Hall
Saturday 21 June 2014, 8pm: Limerick University Concert Hall*
Bill Whelan Gala with
RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
Sir James Galway, flute
Zoë Conway, fiddle
Catherine Leonard, violin
Colin Dunne, dancer
Gavin Maloney, conductor
Presented by RTÉ lyric fm and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
An Chistín from the Connemara Suite
Riverdance Symphonic Suite
Linen and Lace World premiere performances. RTÉ lyric fm commission
Saturday 21 June: Limerick: University Concert Hall, 8pm
in association with Limerick City of Culture
Tickets: €35 (concession €32.50) €30, €20
Booking: University Concert Hall | www.uch.ie | 061 331549
RTÉ lyric fm and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra present
A Bill Whelan Gala with Sir James Galway, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and star performers in Dublin and Limerick
Saturday 21 June
Star performers from the worlds of classical and traditional music, Sir James Galway flute, Zoë Conway fiddle, Catherine Leonard violin and Colin Dunne dancer, join the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Gavin Maloney to celebrate the music of Grammy-winning Riverdance composer Bill Whelan with concerts in Dublin and Limerick in June. The Bill Whelan Gala concerts will take place in Dublin on Friday 20 June as part of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Season and, celebrating Limerick City of Culture 2014, in Limerick on Saturday 21 June.
The concerts will see the world premiere performances of Linen and Lace, Whelan’s new flute concerto for the internationally renowned flautist, Sir James Galway and symphony orchestra, commissioned by RTÉ lyric fm to mark Limerick City of Culture, and will feature some of Whelan’s most popular music:the colourful and dynamic Riverdance Symphonic Suite, the evocative Inishlacken and the exhilarating An Chistín from the Connemara Suite, Whelan’s playful interaction between fiddle, feet and orchestra.
On his new composition Linen and Lace, Bill Whelan says: “When Sir James Galway and I first spoke of working together towards the birth of a new flute concerto, we wanted to link our two native cities. Belfast and Limerick are renowned respectively for their linen and lace and it was a beautiful image in "An Unborn Child" by the Belfast poet Derek Mahon which lubricated my imagination. The child, awaiting its birth, muses on the mysteries relayed "through the dark network" of its mother's body as she sews in expectation of the infant arrival. I pictured her fingering the filigree of Limerick Lace and grasping the supple strength of Belfast Linen. Somehow this image, and the anticipatory life of the womb, became the affirmative force which inspired this piece.
It has been over 20 years since I have had the opportunity to premiere a new piece with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, so it is a particular honour to bring this new concerto for James Galway to life for the first time with this orchestra. I am grateful to RTÉ lyric fm for making this happen, and I am especially delighted that it will form part of the programme of the Limerick City of Culture 2014.”
The performance in the University Concert Hall, Limerick will be broadcast live on RTÉ lyric fm and webcast on www.rte.ie/lyricfm as part of the Limerick’s City of Culture 2014 celebrations.
Booking is now open for both concerts. Full details below:
Friday 20 June: Dublin: National Concert Hall, 8pm
Tickets: €20, €28, €38, €45 (concessions €18, €25.20, €34.20, €40.50
Booking (no fees): 01 417 0000 | www.nch.ie | www.rte.ie/nso
Saturday 21 June: Limerick: University Concert Hall, 8pm
Tickets: €35 (concession €32.50) €30, €20
Booking: University Concert Hall | www.uch.ie | 061 331549
Music by Percy French in new arrangements by Bill Whelan
Room: Kevin Barry Room
Prices: €12 (concessions €10)
Music by Percy French in New Arrangements by Bill Whelan
Directed by Gerry Stembridge
Cast Includes: Brenda Brooks, Emmet Cahill, Mark O’Regan, Kate Stanley Brennan
A special showcase performance of the music of Percy French including the work of ten of Ireland’s most prominent writers. Songs include:
The Mountains of Mourne
Phil the Fluter’s Ball
Are Ye Right There, Michael?
Come Back Paddy Reilly
The Emigrant’s Letter
Abdul Abulbul Amir
During his lifetime, Percy French achieved great fame both as songwriter and painter and his most famous songs - including The Mountains of Mourne, Gortnamona, Phil the Fluter’s Ball and Are Ye Right There, Michael? – are still known all over the world.
Many of his songs gently satirised the world around him and it is tempting to wonder what Percy would make of Ireland and the world today. In bringing his music to a twenty-first century audience, ten internationally renowned Irish writers have been asked to respond to ten of French’s most famous songs. The writers include: John Butler, Paddy & Tom Cullivan, Barry Devlin, Declan Lynch, Pat McCabe, Belinda McKeon, Pauline McLynn, Paul Muldoon, Arthur Riordan, Gerry Stembridge.
Composer Bill Whelan has created new arrangements for each of these songs and this performance gives audiences an exclusive first glimpse of this work in progress. This workshop is directed byGerry Stembridge.
Presented by Barry Devlin, Brian Palfrey & Bill Whelan
Sponsored by The Bailey Bar & Café VAYU
THE HANDPRINT COLLECTION
Saturday 8th March, 3.00pm
Room: Kevin Barry Room
Therese Fahy, piano
Raymond Deane – Legerdemain
Benjamin Dwyer – Étude
Michael Holohan – The Forge
Grainne Mulvey – Calorescence
Bill Whelan – Waiting for Riad
Siobhán Cleary – Leda and the Swan
Handprint is an exciting recital programme by Irish pianist Therese Fahy, born of the realisation that much contemporary piano music seems to be composed for pianists with large hands. Therese has commissioned six major Irish composers to write new works for her, enriching the musical landscape by enhancing the piano repertoire with a highly innovative collection of piano pieces, the Handprint Collection, specifically designed for smaller hands - something which has never been done before.
RIVERDANCE - LIMERICK CITY OF CULTURE
16th-19th January 2014
To mark the 20th Anniversary of this incredible production, Riverdance comes to Limerick from 16th-19th January 2014!
Of all the performances to emerge from ireland - in rock, music, theatre, film - nothing has carried the energy, the sensuality and the spectacle of Riverdance.
20 years ago in May 1994 Riverdance was first performed as the interval act in the eurovision Song Contest in Dublin before being developed into a full length stage show.
With its fusion of Irish and International music and dance, the show broke all box office records during its world premiere run in Dublin in early 1995 and has since become a global phenomenon, being performed over 12,000 times to a live audience in excess of 23 million and with three companies on tour at any one time.
To mark the Anniversary of this incredible production, Riverdance comes to Limerick before embarking on its 20th Anniversary tour.
It will be Limerick City of Culture’s inaugural flagship event and the homecoming for Limerick born composer, Bill Whelan.
The production will take place from the 16th-19th January 2014 at the Sport Arena in the University of Limerick and tickets can be obtained from the University Concert Hall Box Office on 061 331 549.
Irish Composer Bill Whelan in the MCC's Agora Series: 'Navigating A Music Career - No Map, No Route, No Destination'
Date: Wednesday 27th November at 6.30pm Venue: Boydell Room, House 5, Trinity College, Dublin 2 Tickets: Free and open to the public. If you wish to reserve a seat, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Music Composition Centre is delighted to welcome acclaimed Irish composer and Trinity Music Department Adjunct Professor Bill Whelan to the Agora Series. This event will be a talk by the composer of approximately 20 mins to include one or two pieces of music (on CD) followed by a Q&A with Evangelia Rigaki and then a Q&A session with the audience.
As a composer, Bill Whelan has written extensively for theatre, dance, film and the concert stage. His film work includes'Dancing at Lughnasa' starring Meryl Streep, 'Some Mother's Son' featuring Helen Mirren and 'Lamb' with Liam Neeson. Music for television includes The Seven Ages, Sean Ó Mordha's history of the Irish State. He was appointed composer to the W.B. Yeats International Theatre Festival at Dublin's Abbey Theatre in 1989, writing original music for 15 Yeats plays. His adaptation of HMS Pinafore received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination.
The Seville Suite was commissioned for Ireland's National Day at Expo '92 and was performed at the Maestranza in Seville. It has since received performances around the world including La Coruna, Shanghai, Caracas and New York. The Spirit Of Mayo followed in 1993 and was performed by an 85-piece orchestra and chorus in Dublin's National Concert Hall. The Connemara Suite, a trilogy of pieces written for chamber orchestra, premiered in Carnegie Hall in March 2005. Bill Whelan'sSymphonic Suite from Riverdance has just received its first performance in 2013. He is currently writing a flute concerto for performance in 2014 with Sir James Galway and is completing the recording of an album of choral music.
Bill's production and arranging credits include U2, Van Morrison, Kate Bush, Richard Harris, Planxty, The Dubliners and many traditional world musicians and performers. He was honoured with the 1997 Grammy Award for 'Best Musical Show Album' for the lyrics and music of Riverdance. The album is a certified Platinum record in the US, Ireland and Australia. Riverdance The Show has been seen live by more than 22 million people and by a television audience of nearly 2 billion.
Bill is a member of the Boards of Berklee College of Music in Boston, The University of Limerick, Crash Ensemble and Music Generation, the newly established music education body for Ireland. He has completed a co-teaching course with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Paul Muldoon at Princeton University and was recently appointed adjunct Professor to Trinity College Dublin's School of Drama, Film and Music. Bill Whelan is a Fellow of the Royal College of Music and is the recipient of many International Awards including the Spirit of Ireland Award in New York.
This public event in the Music Composition Centre’s Agora Series is presented in association with RTÉ Lyric FM.
Kaleidoscope Camino - CLIFDEN ARTS WEEK
Station House Theatre, Clifden
Thursday, 26 September 2013, 8pm
Tickets €10 from www.clifdenartsweek.ie and 091-442730
The Kaleidoscope Camino, curated by musicians Clíodhna Ryan and Kate Ellis, continues this September and October after unforgettable recent performances to enthusiastic capacity audiences at Galway Arts Festival and Kilkenny Arts Festival. Catch up with the tour in Clifden, Cork and Waterford for a taste of this beautiful blend of music from ancient to contemporary and experimental — all presented in relaxed, intimate and beautiful settings.
Our first stop is the Station House Theatre, Clifden (Thursday, 26 September), as part of Clifden Arts Week. A world premiere features prominently, with local composer Bill Whelan(best known for his work on Riverdance) teaming up with poet Micheal Coady to explore the magical Connemara landscape, performed by the soprano Deirdre Moynihan and a host of Ireland's finest string players. Continuing the literary theme, clarinettist Paul Roe performs a setting of Tim Burton's The Melancholy Death of the Oyster Boy as well as Tom Johnson'sBedtime Stories, while Moynihan performs John Cage's charming Experiences #2, a setting of an e.e. cummings poem. The programme also looks back to the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with music by Gabrielli, Biber and Beethoven, among others, performed by Anita Vedres (Baroque violin), Clíodhna Ryan (violin), Cian Ó Dúill (viola) and Aoife Nic Athlaoich (cello).
Kaleidoscope Camino — A night of music devised by violinist Cliodhna Ryan and cellist Kate Ellis
‘A life-saving,spirit-lifting, pioneering cultural venture’ –Irish Times.
Anita Vedres (baroque violin) and Aoife NicAthlaoith (cello)
Thomas Balthzar, Division on ‘John Come Kiss Me Now’
Domenico Gabrielli, Ricercar No. 7 for Solo Cello
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, Sonata No. 1 from the Mystery Sonatas
Paul Roe (clarinet) and Nuala Hayes (voice)
Tim Burton/Paul Roe, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy
Tom Johnson, Bedtime Stories
Deirdre Moynihan (soprano), Clíodhna Ryan (violin), Anita Vedres (violins), Cian Ó Dúill (viola), Aoife NicAthlaoich (cello)
Jean Sibelius, Arioso Op. 3
John Cage, Experiences No. 2 (Text by ee cummings)
Clíodhna Ryan (violin), Cian Ó Dúill (viola), Aoife NicAthlaoich (cello)
Ludwig van Beethoven, String Trio in C Minor Op. 9 No. 3
Deirdre Moynihan (soprano), Clíodhna Ryan (violin), Anita Vedres (violin), Cian Ó Dúill (viola), Aoife NicAthlaoich (cello)
Michael Coady/Bill Whelan, A State of Light (world premiere)
Date 26/09/2013 Time 8:00pm Venue Station House Theatre Tickets €10
Mike Murphy interviews Bill Whelan
This is a new and expanded Public Interview: Mike Murphy interviews renowned musician, composer, producer, arranger (Riverdance, the Seville Suite, the Connemara Suite) and neighbour Bill Whelan. Mike, 4 times Jacob Award winner for Live Mike..12 years as presenter of Arts Show on RT radio and recently presented Ireland’s Favourite Painting. (RTE TV)
This public interview is being recorded by Arts on Air and will be broadcast at 6pm this evening on Connemara Community Radio on 87.8 and 106.1 fm or www.connemarafm.com. Thanks to Mary
Date 21 Sept Time 2:30pm Venue Station House Theatre Tickets €10
Top Irish Songwriters / Composers Paul Brady / Phil Coulter / Pete St. John / Ray Harman / Shay Healy / Jimmy MacCarthy To Be Inducted into the IMRO Academy
Monday 29th April 2013: Tonight The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) will honour 6 songwriters and composers by inducting them into the IMRO Academy.
Paul Brady, Phil Coulter, Pete St. John, Ray Harman, Shay Healy and Jimmy MacCarthy will have their contribution to Irish music acknowledged at a ceremony in Dublin’s Conrad Hotel.
The IMRO Academy’s mission is to celebrate and mark the successes of Ireland’s iconic songwriters and composers who have made a very significant cultural and social impact in Ireland and/or internationally.
Launched in 2011, Bill Whelan, best known as the composer of Riverdance and Brendan Graham, co-author of the hugely successful song, ‘You Raise Me Up’ became the first inductees to the Academy. Both have contributed enormously to the recognition of Ireland across the world through their extensive music repertoire
Of the awards Keith Donald, IMRO Chairman, states, “Once again the IMRO Academy is honouring songwriters and composers who are at the forefront of Ireland's great tradition of creativity. It is a very important ingredient in fostering our reputation of being a dynamic and culturally rich nation. The IMRO Academy shines a light on these iconic music creators who continue to inspire, entertain and make sense of the world in which we live.
“I am delighted to be part of this induction ceremony for some of Ireland's most successful and revered composers and I welcome this talented expansion of the IMRO Academy” added Bill Whelan.
''The songs and music of these six Irish songwriters have sailed far beyond the shores of Ireland. They have touched hearts, engaged emotions, and brought joy to people everywhere. Recorded by some of the greatest artistes of our times, they have been heard - and sung along to - by millions of people. They have climbed the pop charts, rocked stadia and brought Eurovision victory to Ireland. On our TV screens they have had us at the edge of our seats and they have become anthems helping us to win many a football and rugby match! They have also given us moments of reflection, of spiritual understanding, of insight into ourselves. By reaching into their own hearts these six, gifted crafters of song have touched our hearts. Ireland and the world are the richer for what they have given us and tonight we, their fellow songwriters, salute and honour their gift... and its gifting'' added Brendan Graham.
The induction ceremony will coincide with the IMRO sponsored Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) annual conference dinner which takes place tonight, 29th April in the Conrad Hotel. Following the ceremony, all 6 will perform a selection of their iconic hit songs live.
Bill Whelan - Publish and Perish, Music and creativity at the gateway to Babylon
RDS Speaker Series
Wednesday, February 13th @ 6pm
In a wide ranging talk, Bill Whelan will explore the influence that the internet has had on music creativity and particularly how audiences experience music since the recent technological revolution began.
DIGITAL BISCUIT - Friday 25th January
This is a free public event with ticketed events, talks and open exhibitions throughout the Science Gallery. digitalbiscuit.ie/?page_id=123
Cox to head up Limerick City of Culture in 2014
LIMERICK LEADER - 08.01.13
Pat Cox, Paul O'Connell & Bill Whelan to join governing group to drive Limerick City of Culture 2014
By Alan Owens
Published on Monday 7 January 2013 13:20
Pat Cox and Bill Whelan at the announcement of the group to chair Limerick City of Culture in 2014. Picture: Sean Curtin
FORMER European Parliament president and Freeman of Limerick Pat Cox is to chair the governing group that will drive the Limerick City of Culture initiative for 2014.
Mr Cox has gladly accepted the invitation to chair the group and was unveiled in the city this Monday morning, where it was also revealed that Munster and Irish rugby legend Paul O’Connell and Riverdance composer Bill Whelan - both Freemen of the city - will join him on the governing body.
City manager Conn Murray personally selected the trio to manage the programme for 2014, declaring that they were “chosen to represent the areas within which they have excelled nationally and internationally that symbolise a broad approach to the understanding of culture, not just of Limerick, but of Ireland”.
A draft programme of events for the year long City of Culture initiative is expected to be announced this June, with a definite programme in place by late Autumn, Mr Cox explained.
The former TD and MEP said he was “delighted and honoured” to chair the 2014 Limerick National City of Culture group.
“The aim of the National City of Culture initiative is to deliver a programme of cultural events and engagement in Limerick for 2014, but also a programme which has a longer term positive impact,” he explained.
“The designation is also an opportunity to showcase what we know to be the real Limerick in terms of its personality. Such a designation by Government for the city is historic, it will provide a new direction for Limerick more than 800 years after its original charter to embody the potential of a city of culture encompassing Art, Design, Technology and Sport in all their myriad interacting and creative forms.
“The delivery of a National City of Culture within a year planning window is demanding but achievable. Part of my role as chair will be to listen to the wider community and develop from the ground up a programme of international significance for Limerick, for Munster and for Ireland.”
Mr. Cox also confirmed that the Director of the Arts Council, Orlaith McBride, has also accepted a position on the driving group.
A large number of people working in the arts community in Limerick - and other areas of business - will be appointed to the governing group to advise the trio and the programme of events for 2014.
For more on this story see tomorrow’s Limerick Chronicle newspaper, and our weekend editions.
LIMERICK ON RECORD CD launch In Aid of Milford Hospice
‘Trojan effort’ to get Limerick On Record
By Alan Owens
Published on Monday 3 December 2012 06:06
On record: Paddy and Geraldine Brennan with Mayor of Limerick Cllr Gerry McLoughlin and Bill Whelan at the launch and, below, The John Steele Band performing at the launch in Thomond Park. Pictures: Dave Gaynor
RIVERDANCE composer Bill Whelan has hailed the endeavour in assembling a compilation of Limerick music as “an extraordinary achievement”.
Limerick On Record, a stunning compilation that features the best of Limerick music from a 50-odd year period, painstakingly assembled by Corbally man Paddy Brennan, is a limited edition collection that aims to raise €20,000 for Milford Hospice.
The 62-track collection spans from 1965 right up to the present day and contains Whelan’s Riverdance, Richard Harris’ MacArthur Park, Grannies Intentions’ Sandy’s On The Phone, The Cranberries’ Dreams, Reform’s You Gotta Get Up and more from Limerick’s musical history.
“It is a stunning collection, an extraordinary project,” said Bill Whelan, speaking to the Limerick Leader at the launch in Thomond Park last Wednesday night, attended by many of the greats assembled on this definitive collection.
“I know myself because I have been involved in trying to clear music for use. What has happened here has just been unbelievable. The job of putting this together has been absolutely Trojan and it is an extraordinary achievement,” he explained.
The three CD collection is the result of over two years work by Corbally man Paddy and his wife Geraldine, with all of the artists and record companies - eventually - donating the use of their tracks in aid of Milford.
“When I got permission from the Limerick artists I had to contact all the record companies then. Lots of the recordings were not owned by the artists, rather the companies, licensing companies,” explained Paddy.
“It wasn’t easy because lots of them had been dissolved, taken over, amalgamated - it was a maze. I persisted and searched out the copyright - and got a lot of help from Jim Liddane, of the International Songwriters Association, a friend of mine all my life.”
Just 1000 copies of the album are available for sale, making it already a rarity. Places stocking Limerick On Record include: Savins, O’Mahony’s, Euro Empire, Milford and UCH.
Zoë Conway and John McIntyre new album launch. Go Mairir i bhFad – Long Life to You
Whelan's, Monday 26th @ 8pm
The stunning new album by Zoë Conway and John McIntyre will be launched tonight in Whelan's at 8pm.
Their first album as a duo has already received excellent reviews, with the Irish Times 5 Star review saying "Conway and McIntyre are taking those same instruments (fiddle & guitar) around a series of hairpin bends, they’re acquainting us with a patchwork quilt woven from traditional, classical, jazz and Latin influences." While The Journal of Music tells readers "this is an artistically powerful album, and includes many superb pieces of music that will undoubtedly live on long beyond this project."
AN EVENING WITH BILL WHELAN & FRIENDSCLIFDEN ARTS FESTIVAL
September 28th, 2012
Bill Whelan will be performing at the Station House Theatre on Friday 28th September as part of the 35th Clifden Arts Festival. An Evening with Bill Whelan and friends will feature some of Ireland's most talented and exciting performers. Joining Bill on the night will be, Zoë Conway on fiddle, John McIntyre on guitar, Robbie Harris playing bodhrán, uilleann piper Declan Masterson, dancer Mick Donegan and members of the Crash Ensemble Orchestra. Bill will be at the piano, playing some songs written over the years while also introducing his orchestral pieces. All in the intimate setting of the Station House Theatre.
RIVERDANCE - FINAL US PERFORMANCES THIS WEEKEND
Wolftrap, Filene Center, Vienna, VA
June 15, 16 & 17
They conquered North America in hard-soled shoes, short black skirts or slim black pants, this troupe of Irish dancers and musicians. Sweeping the continent by storm with jigs, reels and hornpipes, “Riverdance” grew into a millions-served phenomenon, resuscitating an interest in Irish culture and big, flashy arena-style shows showcasing dance and music. In its wake, it has left millions dazzled by heartbeat-quickening, Irish step-dance rhythms performed with the precision of a military drill team.
It started as a bit of a lark: In 1994, the producers of Eurovision Song Contest needed a seven-minute filler to bide time while judges deliberated. A composer, choreographer and producer came up with “Riverdance,” a music-and-dance number. It combined the pinpoint accuracy of a Radio City Music Hall Rockettes line with the heartfelt ballads and spritely jigs of Irish folk music, featuring Bill Whelan’s compositions.
Win Tickets to see the World Premiere of Riverdance Symphonic Performance with the RTE Concert Orchestra www.yay.ie
LYRIC FM THIS WEEK - MARTY IN THE MORNING
Bill Whelan is joining Marty Whelan each day this week at 9.40am for conversation and favourite music selections.
Listen here on www.rte.ie/lyricfm/marty/
Riverdance: The Music of Bill Whelan
Featuring the WORLD PREMIERE of the RIVERDANCE SYMPHONIC SUITE
RTÉ Concert Orchestra
David Brophy conductor
Thursday 17 May, 8pm
National Concert Hall
With guests Bill Whelan, fiddle player Zoë Conway, accordionist Máirtín O’Connor, vocalist Eleanor McEvoy, uilleann piper Maitiú Ó Casaide, dancers Yolanda Gonzalez Sobrado and Mick Donegan, Crash Ensemble and UCD Choral Scholars
Programme includes the world premiere of the Symphonic Suite from Riverdance,Caracena from The Seville Suite, The Currach and Evening Céilí from Inishlacken, An Chistin from Carna, Jazzical Cyclebike, Seabird, Flying Blind, Lift the Wings, Shivnaand The Heart’s Cry
Following the sell-out success of A Celebration of Bill Whelan in 2010, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra returns with what is sure to be another spectacular collaboration with Grammy Award-winning composer Bill Whelan.
The RTÉ CO gave the electrifying first performance of Riverdance as the interval act in the 1994 Eurovision and went on to record the phenomenally successful CD of the entire show. Now, as part of a wide-ranging programme of his music, the orchestra has the honour of giving the world premiere of Bill’s Symphonic Suite from Riverdance. This promises to be not only a highlight of the evening’s celebration but a highlight of Irish musical life this year.
Bill Whelan writes:
‘The idea for a Riverdance Symphonic Suite has been on my radar for some time. Over the years I have often had requests from foreign orchestras for a full-length concert piece containing the music from the show. As my original score incorporated traditional instruments, it was not always easy to assemble the various ethnic elements for a concert in say, Japan. So what I have done with this new score is to present all the themes fromRiverdance in a way that is playable by a full symphony orchestra anywhere in the world, without the traditional musicians. There were two principal challenges - the first was to arrange the themes and melodies as a colourful and dynamic concert piece. The second was to choose the instruments from within the orchestra to appropriately replace the original ethnic instruments and voices. As this will be its first performance, I look forward with anticipation as this augmented RTÉ CO under David Brophy brings the work of the last few years to life.’
Tickets: €11-€38 (conc. €10-€35)
10% group discount available
Booking: 01 417 0000 or www.rte.ie/co
For further information please contact
Angela Rohan, PR Executive, RTÉ Concert Orchestra
Tel: 01 208 2493 | Mobile: 087 617 2531 | Email: email@example.com
Guarding copyright on the Internet
Bill Whelan letter to the Irish Times 26.04.12
Bill Whelan joined Chris Donohue and Shane Coleman in studio on their Newstalk Breakfast Show. If you missed their wide ranging interview check out their Media Player (Archive, Breakfast - Part 4 of Thursday 26th April) www.newstalk.ie
WORLD PREMIERE OF BILL WHELAN'S RIVERDANCE SYMPHONIC SUITE
National Concert Hall, Thursday 17th May, 8pm The Music Of Bill Whelan.
Following the sell out success of A Celebration of Bill Whelan in 2010, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra return with what is sure to be another spectacular collaboration with the Grammy Award-winning composer Bill Whelan. Presenting a wide range of his music, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra will also perform the world premiere of Bill Whelan’s Symphonic Suite from Riverdance.
Presented by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and conducted by David Brophy.
THE UNIVERSITY of Limerick is hoping to raise tens of thousands of euro this May after scooping Riverdance to entertain guests at their annual gala dinner in May.
The Irish dance phenomenon will give their first performance in Limerick at the UL president's gala dinner in the Strand Hotel on May 11.
Guest of honour at the event will be renowned composer and producer, Dr Bill Whelan, a native of Limerick, who composed the music for the internationally famed Riverdance show and who is a director of the UL Foundation.
"It has always been an ambition of mine to bring Riverdance to my home City of Limerick, so it gives me great pleasure to finally see this dream come true. To be able to do so in a way which helps raise funds for the university's charitable activities makes it all the more pleasurable," said Dr Whelan.
Tickets for the event are priced at €180 per person, and tickets will be served on a first come basis as the capacity may be limited to some 200 people. Riverdance's Irish tour this year includes concerts in Dublin only at present.
The president's dinner is an annual fundraising event which supports a different project each year.
This year's event is a celebration of UL's ties with the city and will raise funds for expansion of the president's volunteer award programme which is run by the university. The programme was established two years ago to support the contribution that students at UL make to volunteering activities outside of their academic studies.
For queries about tickets for the event, please contact Sarah Hartnett, UL Foundation on 061-234240 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rolling Wave - Our Musical Heritage, RTE Radio 1
RTE Radio 1 is rebroadcasting a historic 1963 radio series "Our Musical Heritage" by Sean O Riada. Episode 13, broadcast on 26th February, explores traditional dance music as played on the accordion and concertina with a contemporary view from composer and musician Bill Whelan.
ALEXEJ GORLATCH PERFORMS IN DUBLIN AT MUSIC NETWORK END OF YEAR GALA CONCERT
Saturday 3rd December @ 8pm
George's Hall, Dublin Castle
"This remarkably talented pianist... played with finesse and maturity."
The New York Times
"Awe-inspiringly confident and assured... with a perfection which apparently effortlessly sets him apart from everyone else... Alexej Gorlatch is one of those players who can take you into areas that others just can't reach. "
Michael Dervan, Irish Times
By any standards, the young Ukrainian pianist Alexej Gorlatch is something of a phenomenon. Entering the University of Arts in Berlin at the age of twelve, within a decade he had a trophy cabinet jam-packed with awards, including First Prize at the prestigious Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in Japan, First Prize at the Dublin International Piano competition and Silver Medal at the Leeds Piano competition, in a performance described by The Guardian as 'immaculate in its poetry and aggression'.
A prize-winning technique is one thing, but Gorlatch has poise, power and passion in equal measure, entrancing audiences from Carnegie Hall to the Salle Cortot in Paris with his relaxed stage manner, singing lines and soulful performances. Add to this an exceptional repertoire spanning everything from Mozart to Britten, and you have the all the ingredients of a terrific solo concert. Prepare to be spellbound!
UCD FOUNDATION DAY MEDAL FOR GRAMMY AWARD WINNER, BILL WHELAN
Bill Whelan, best known for composing the original seven minute orchestral piece for Riverdance was awarded the UCD Foundation Day Medal in recognition of his outstanding achievements and his contribution to Irish music worldwide.
Each year the UCD Foundation Day Medal is awarded to a UCD graduate who demonstrates great achievement.
At the event held in O'Reilly Hall in Belfield, Bill gave a special performance along side the UCD Ad Astra Scholars, UCD Choral Scholars and UCD Orchestral Scholars. Noel Pearson was there to give the evening's Citation and Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn TD gave the keynote speech.
To view a video clip of the evening and for more details please visit
SUNDAY MISCELLANY's visit to Clifden Arts Week is broadcast this Sunday, 23rd October, 2011.
Featuring Bill Whelan, Zoe Conway and Morgan Crowley
Sunday Miscellany is one of Irish radio's longest running shows presenting a weekly selection of new short writing read on the air by it's authors and interspersed with complementing music and occasional songs. In recent years it has introduced new innovations to its radio experience that have proved very popular with its growing fan base at home and internationally. One has been its live events for audiences, and frequently produced in association with particular venues and cultural festivals.
Recently, on 23 September 2011 the programme presented a live audience event in The Station House Theatre in the town as part of Clifden Arts Week 2011.
The event, hosted by the programme's producer Clíodhna Ní Anluain was very well received by the audience who lapped up the selection of new short essays and poetry, as well as the wonderful music and song. The selection of voices included Gerard Smyth, Siobhan Mannion, Denise Blake, Geraldine Mills and Bill Whelan. Bill, who made his debut on the programme with a short piece of writing called 'The Cresent Church', humorously and affectionately recalled characters and experiences of the church in Limerick city he attended as a boy.
Cliodhna Ní Anluain was delighted to introduce particularly special contribution to this Sunday Miscellany from Clifden. This was the first performance of a brand new music composition by Bill Whelan for Derek Mahon's marvellous poem - 'After TheTitanic'. As Bill in his introduction to the performance said '... this is a poem that Derek Mahon wrote about Bruce Ismay who was a rather senior person in the Cunard Line when the Titanic went down. He was on board the ship and he survived. In the enquiry that happened afterwards he wasn't exactly showered with laurel wreaths or heroism. The story has it that he eventually moved to Connemara and lived on his own with his guilt. Whether exactly true or not - there has been some recent re-writing of the story - I just love this poem because it's a tremendous imagined condition of the human mind faced with this cataclysmic experiences and then the guilt that flows from it. So this is brand new - I wrote it this week'.
For this contribution to Sunday Miscellany Bill Whelan on piano was accompanied on violin by Zoe Conway and Morgan Crowley sang Derek Mahon's words to Bill new composition.
The edition of Sunday Miscellany will be broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1on Sunday morning 23 October 2011 at 9.30am.
Liam Neeson and Gabriel Byrne present Irish Arts Center Award to Bill Whelan
Grammy award-winner and Riverdance composer Bill Whelan and philanthropist Dolores McCall were Friday night's guests of honor at the Irish Arts Center's 12th annual Spirit of Ireland gala at the New York Athletic Club.
An Evening with Bill Whelan and Orchestra Featuring Athena Tergis and Special Guest Mick Donegan with a Nine-Piece Orchestra
and Special Guests
Live Concert Performances
October 29 - November 1 | 7:30 pm
In an encore presentation of one of our most exhilarating concert series, Grammy-winning Riverdance composer Bill Whelan and world-renowned fiddler Athena Tergis return for four unforgettable performances with a nine-piece orchestra and surprise special guests. Lucky audiences experienced this musical partnership when it first took flight in last season's Masters in Collaboration series. We are thrilled to welcome Bill and Athena and an extraordinary ensemble back to the Donaghy Theatre to electrify us once again.
If you need assistance placing your order, call 866-811-4111.
This performance is certain to sell out quickly, so we encourage you to book early.
MIC6 + Bill Whelan & Athena Tergis Combo
Admission: $60 general / $50 members
A Special Treat for Music Lovers: save over 20% on both MIC6 and Bill Whelan and Athena Tergis in Concert when you book together.
Great new things grow from our individual Masters in Collaboration series - from the Paul Brady/Sarah Siskind European tour that evolved following their Masters performance at IAC in 2008, to the Bill Whelan and Athena Tergis orchestral tour and triumphant return to the Donaghy stage this fall. We have a great deal for music lovers who won't want to miss our newest collaboration between Iarla Ó Lionáird and Ivan Goff, and experience Bill Whelan and Athena Tergis' inspiring concert with a 9-piece orchestra.
$75 gets you a ticket to both shows (reg $95 combined). Click here to purchase this combo deal.
A preview of Bill Whelan and Athena Tergis from their time as artists-in-residence at Masters in Collaboration IV.
CLIFDEN ARTS FESTIVAL 2014
Opening address by Bill Whelan..[more]