Bill Whelan bursary launched

Selected Irish musicians are set to benefit from the scheme, set up by the composer of Riverdance

The internationally acclaimed Irish composer Bill Whelan announced today the foundation of the Bill Whelan International Music Bursary, which has been set up to assist Irish music students studying abroad.

The purpose of the music bursary is to help gifted Irish students to further their studies at participating third level institutes, primarily in the United States and United Kingdom. The renowned Berklee School of Music in Boston and the University of Southern California (USC) are amongst a number of colleges identified for inclusion in the scheme for 2003.

The Bursary programme will run for five years and it is anticipated that a wide number of selected students from different disciplines – ranging from film scoring and orchestration to conducting and music composition – will be able to avail of the bursary scheme over the coming years.

Speaking at the launch of the bursary Bill commented, "It is a great honour for me to be in a position to contribute to the Irish Music Industry in such a way as to help emerging composers gain access to some of the foremost music institutions in the world. Education is so vital in developing one's own musical expression, and I have no doubt that there are many young Irish composers ready to seize upon such an opportunity."

Bursary grants will range from •4,000 to •7,000 and the bursary programme will be administered with the assistance of The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO).

Bill Whelan, best known as composer of Riverdance The Show, a Grammy Award winner for 'Best Musical Show Album', has worked extensively in theatre, television and film. His orchestral works include the specially commissioned piece, The Seville Suite (1992) and The Spirit Of Mayo (1993).

His work in international film includes Lamb which he co-composed with Van Morrison, his emotive score for the Jim Sheridan/Terry George film Some Mother's Son and the original score for the film version of Brian Friel's award winning Dancing At Lughnasa, which starred Meryl Streep. His production and arranging credits include U2, Van Morrison, Kate Bush,

Richard Harris and The Dubliners. He has also served on the IMRO board from 1989 to 1997.

Bill was a recipient of the prestigious IMRO Award, presented to him in 2001 in recognition of the exceptional contribution that he has made to Irish music and the Irish Music Industry.

 

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