2005 got off to an excellent start for five Irish music students who became the first recipients of the Bill Whelan International Music Bursary.
Administered with the assistance of the Irish Music Rights Organisation, the bursary programme will run for five years and assist young players studying at third-level institutions in the UK and America.
"It's 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," enthuses the Riverdance man. "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."
Benefiting this year are Solfa Carlile (Cork), Robert Allen (Cork), Breifne Holohan (Louth), Benedict Schlepper Connolly (Dublin) and Michael Doherty (Derry).