Aran O’Grady awarded 2019/20 Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Composition

Irish Heritage is pleased to announce today (6th March) that Aran O’Grady, who is studying for a Masters in Opera Composition at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, is the recipient of the 2019/20 Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Composition.

The Bursary, which is worth £3,000, was open to young, first or second generation Irish composers studying at recognised music conservatoires and colleges in this country and Ireland. An encouraging number of entries was received in this the second year of the award indicating the growing awareness of the Bursary.

Twenty-six year-old Aran who is from Bray in County Wicklow, received a BA in Composition from the Royal Irish Academy of Music in 2016 and has already had compositions performed in Ireland, the Netherlands, France and Singapore.

The Bursary which is an important part of the performing arts organisation’s annual programme of collaborations, concerts and recitals, was made possible through the support of The Ireland Funds Great Britain. It complements the Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Performance that was launched in 2015 and the Brackaville Bursary for Vocal Studies introduced last year.

The theme for this year’s Bursary composition was “Changing Times” – a reflection on the changes taking place not just in an Ireland-Britain but also in a wider European and international context.

Entries were adjudicated by a panel chaired by Dr Seán Doherty, Assistant Professor of Music at Dublin City University.

Commenting on the entries Dr Doherty said, “The call for this generous bursary attracted a high standard of entries with the result that competition was tough. All entries demonstrated a mature style, a mastery of instrumental and notational techniques, and were ambitious in terms of compositional scope. These scores will demand a virtuosic level of technical ability and stamina from the performers.

“The high standard of these entries displays the confidence, diversity, and vibrancy of the upcoming generation of Irish composers,” Dr Doherty added. “Opportunities such as this bursary play an important role not only for the increased visibility of composition in Ireland but also in increasing the perception of the viability of a career in composition for young composers, essential if we are to encourage a new generation of creative artists for the future health of our culture.”

Commenting on receiving the Bursary, Aran O’Grady said, “I am overjoyed to have been awarded the Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Composition 2019/20 for my piece ‘Zeitgeist’, and am very excited to see it premiered in London.

“Having recently made the move from Ireland to Britain to further my musical development, it is very encouraging to receive such a wonderful prize at this crucial stage in my career. I am hugely grateful that Irish Heritage has recognised the importance of assisting young composers and I feel very lucky to have benefitted from this opportunity.

“There are countless talented Irish musicians working incredibly hard around the world and more initiatives like these will surely provide them with the support they deserve.”

The winning composition will receive its world premiere at Irish Heritage’s “Showcase Ireland 2” concert in the Princess Alexandra Hall of Over-Seas League House, St James, London SW1A 1LR on Wednesday 22nd April. For full details and tickets see news story on this website.

Picture caption: Irish Heritage’s Artistic Adviser, Audrey McKenna with Aran O’Grady