Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Funding and Development Agency
for The Arts in Northern Ireland

028 9262 3555

Latest News
Browse Archive

Chieftains fiddler, Tara Breen, set for Belfast’s inaugural Summer School of Traditional Music

Friday 19th May 2017 at 11am 0 Comments Music & Opera , Traditional Arts

Young musicians launch the inaugural Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music which will celebrate both Irish and Ulster-Scots musical traditions later this summer. Image: Young musicians launch the inaugural Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music which will celebrate both Irish and Ulster-Scots musical traditions later this summer.

Chieftains fiddler, Tara Breen, is set to tutor and perform at the inaugural Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music, 31 July - 4 August 2017, alongside of wealth of famous names from the world of traditional music.  

Bringing together and celebrating both the Irish and Ulster-Scots musical traditions, the unique festival includes performances, recitals, masterclasses, lectures, talks and sessions across Belfast, supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and the Ulster University.

Traditional music is going to provide the effervescent soundtrack to this summer as the first-ever Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music (BSSoTM) brings jigs and reels to all four corners of Belfast city - but with its heart beating in the culturally rich Cathedral Quarter.  For five days, hundreds of budding traditional musicians, young and old (6+), will get the chance to learn from the finest performers around in what is sure to be one of those "I was there" events.

With the burgeoning number of traditional musicians and venues across the city plus the incredible quality and creativity amongst young players of all instruments, Belfast is aiming for the title of traditional musical capital of Ireland.

The new cutting-edge Ulster University building in York Street will be the venue for the series of masterclasses across 18 instruments which will see young musicians no longer having to travel to get tuition from traditional music royalty. 

"Every year, hundreds of traditional musicians from the North travel West to attend traditional music summer schools such as The Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay, County Clare or The South Sligo Summer School in Tubbercurry, County Sligo. Demand is always high and these summer schools attract thousands of participants and audiences from across the country and internationally. But at present, no similar summer schools exist in the North and our aim is to create the unique experience of these summer schools right here in the heart of Belfast," says co- founder and Musical Director of the Summer School, renowned traditional musician and producer, Dónal O’Connor.

"Not only has it been proven that musical ability soars following attendance at a summer school, but life-long friendships are made and old friendships renewed” adding “while unforgettable experiences are had by all who attend."

The Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music is also breaking new ground with the Ulster-Scots community. Pipers, drummers and fifers will have a chance to learn and perform without having to travel to the Republic of Ireland, Scotland of further for access to world-class tutors.

"Pipe Band musicians have never been involved directly in Traditional Irish Music Summer Schools and to this end the involvement of Highland Bagpipers, Fife players and Snare Drummers in a trailblazing new initiative that will provide fun as well as meaningful interaction between cultural traditions. One of our aims is to encourage and build tolerance, trust, respect and understanding among all cultural communities while having a whale of a time!" says co- founder Ray Morgan.

Maria McAlister, Arts Development Officer for Traditional Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,

“The Arts Council is delighted to support this terrific school of music which shines a light on and celebrates the shared rich tapestry of musical traditions we are fortunate to have in Northern Ireland.  This is truly an international line-up of tutors with wonderfully curated festival and I would encourage everyone to get involved.”

As well as musical masterclasses, there is a feast of ways to get involved including lectures, talks, workshops, performances, demonstrations, recitals, sessions and showcase concerts. 

The festival is open to players of all levels as well as listeners, visit for full details and to register for classes.



Comments (0)

Add Your Comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.