Is Irish classical music marginalized in Ireland?

Posted on: March 17, 2015

Last year, “The Irish Times together with the Royal Irish Academy announced ‘Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks,’ a planned two-year survey of the country’s greatest artistic achievements,” reads a Tuesday (3/17) post at New York radio station WQXR. “Omitted from the list? Classical music. A group of 35 composers and academics sent a letter to the newspaper calling on the curators to add classical music to the project’s scope. ‘The absence of art music in this project provides further evidence of an ongoing exclusionary policy (conscious or unconscious) among prominent cultural curators in Ireland,’ the letter read in part. Among the letter’s signatories … was Benjamin Dwyer, the author of Different Voices, one of two new scholarly books that examine how classical music thrived in 18th century Dublin–where Handel’s Messiah premiered–but gradually fell off course. The other book is Music and Identity in Ireland and Beyond, edited by Mark Fitzgerald and John O’Flynn. Both books make a case for early Irish composers like John Field and Charles Villiers Stanford while lamenting their failure to generate a durable aesthetic comparable to the country’s literary greats.… Despite classical music’s fragmented history in Ireland, a number of composers have made their mark and there currently exists a vibrant contemporary music scene.”

Posted March 17, 2015

Pictured: Ireland’s RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, based in Dublin