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2017 Awards

Composer of the Year

Michael Rooney grew up in Scotstown, Co Monaghan and now lives in Sligo where he has become part of the musical and cultural bedrock of the region. He is recognised as one of the most influential and innovative stylists on the harp, and his virtuosic technique as well as his approach to rhythm and harmony have helped to reposition it as a popular and integral part of the living tradition.

Michael Rooney

Citation

The recipient of the Composer Gradam Ceoil  is one of our leading performers on the harp who is also established as a significant composer of music for the harp both as a solo instrument and also in small and large-scale ensembles.  His ensemble work in particular shines a light on how he uses new compositions to explore new contexts for the harp.
 

He has created an important body of new music through his work as Director of the National Folk Orchestra of Ireland.  His deep knowledge of harp culture within the living tradition means that he can draw on the iconic status of the instrument to act as a creative catalyst in his compositions which often involve community musicians alongside established high-profile players.
 

His output is impressive and includes his 2006 collection Harp Tunes as well as nine major suites for harp and ensemble or orchestra. Among the highlights of his recent orchestral and ensemble compositions are the De Cuellar Suite (2011), the Reconciliation Suite (2015) and Macalla 2016 (2016).

The Gradam Cumadóir na Bliana goes to MICHAEL ROONEY
 

Biog

Michael Rooney grew up in Scotstown, Co. Monaghan and now lives in Sligo where he has become part of the musical and cultural bedrock of the region. He is recognised as one of the most influential and innovative stylists on the harp, and his virtuosic technique as well as his approach to rhythm and harmony have helped to reposition it as a popular and integral part of the living tradition.
 

However there’s much more to the man than this: he is also a significant composer and arranger of new music for the harp, including impressive large-scale orchestral works that have ambitiously combined traditional musicians with professional classical players.
 

He has composed nine major suites including the De Cuellar Suite (2011), the Reconciliation Suite (2015) and Macalla 2016 (2016), works inspired by significant moments in Ireland’s cultural history and the impact that they continue to have on our people.
 

He has also composed for solo harp and in 2006 he published Harp Tunes, a collection of 23 new pieces.
 

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