Niall Tormey awarded inaugural Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Composition

Niall Tormey, who is studying for a Masters in Composition at National University of Ireland - Maynooth, is the recipient of the inaugural Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Composition.

Twenty-seven year-old Niall who was born in Nottingham and moved to Ireland when he was 10, now lives in Killucan, County Westmeath.  He received a Batchelor of Music degree from NUI Maynooth and has already had compositions performed on two continents.

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

An important addition to the performing arts organisation’s annual programme of collaborations, concerts and recitals, the new Bursary, which was made possible through the support of The Ireland Funds Great Britain and a generous donor, complements the Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Performance that was launched in 2015 and which has already had a major impact.

Entries were adjudicated by a panel consisting of Dr Teresa O’Donnell, Professor John Buckley and Audrey McKenna, Irish Heritage’s Artistic Adviser-Ireland.

Commenting on the entries Dr Teresa O’Donnell said, “We were impressed with the standard of submissions for the inaugural Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Composition and would like to thank the young composers for their entries.  We would also like to congratulate Irish Heritage for its steadfast commitment to providing an invaluable platform for Irish musicians and composers through such bursaries.

“Niall Tormey's winning composition “Give me your hand and come what may”, captured the Bursary’s theme of peace and reconciliation. Tormey's treatment of the Irish harper, Ruaidhrí Dall Ó Catháin's air, “Tabhair dom do Láimh” marries elements of the rich Irish musical tradition with the art music tradition and contemporary currents. The composer's own experience of dual heritage inspired the work and that resonated in his composition.”

Professor John Buckley said, “Give me your hand and come what may' by Niall Tormey displays a characteristic and idiomatic approach to writing for flute and harp. The balance between the instruments is well judged with independent writing for both parts. An enjoyable piece for performers and listeners alike.”

Commenting on receiving the inaugural Bursary, Niall Tormey said, “It is an honour to have been awarded the first Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Composition, and I am very much looking forward to attending the premiere of the piece in London on 3rd April. It is wonderful that Irish Heritage has taken the initiative to support young composers and assist them early in their careers. I am thankful for the help this award will grant my career, not to mention the substantial monetary prize. I look forward to seeing Irish Heritage continue to support other, up and coming, composers in the future.”

The winning composition will receive its world premiere at Irish Heritage’s “Showcase Ireland” concert in the Princess Alexandra Hall of Over-Seas League House, St James, London SW1A 1LR on Wednesday 3rd April.  For full details and tickets visit