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Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin - Musician and Composer

Thursday 8th November 2018 at 4pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has learned with regret of the death of renowned Irish musician, composer, academic, writer and broadcaster, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, who has died following a prolonged illness, at the age of 67.

Born in Clonmel, Co Tipperary in 1950, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin studied at University College Cork, before taking his PhD at Queens University Belfast in 1987. The late Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Limerick would go on to found and direct the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in 1994, attracting students from across the world, and was instrumental in the relocation of the Irish Chamber Orchestra from Dublin to its current home at the University of Limerick.

As a musician and composer, he was renowned for his unique piano style and for bringing together various strands of Irish traditional music with classical music. He recorded a series of pioneering solo recordings which repositioned his chosen instrument at the heart of Irish traditional music.

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, paid tribute, saying: “Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin's rich artistic legacy and significant contribution to Irish cultural life was characterised by a great body of distinctive work full of vision, imagination and creativity, and by a warmth of character and an unfathomable ability to bring people together. Our thoughts are with Mícheál’s family at this sad time.” 

President Michael D Higgins expressed his regrets: "His music and outstanding work will for ever be enjoyed by countless people, celebrating his humour, his fearless sense of exploration and his talent for harmony, joy and mobilising the peerless power of music."

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