- 17 Nov 23
"The contribution of Seóirse to music composition was of immense significance," President Michael D Higgins has stated. "I have no doubt whatever that his unique legacy will endure for generations to come..."
Tribute are being paid across the Irish music world and beyond to renowned Irish composer Seóirse Bodley, who has died, aged 90.
His remarkable career in music stretched over 70 years – with Bodley becoming the first composer to be honoured with the title of Saoi by Aosdána in 2008.
Lorraine Byrne Bodley, writing for the Contemporary Music Centre, has previously described him as "a chameleon composer because of his eclecticism and range of musical styles from the European avant-garde to Irish traditional music, through all of which can be heard his own distinctive voice."
Just last month, he was conferred with an honorary DLitt by the National University of Ireland. Dr Maurice Manning remarked on the day that Bodley's "commitment to preserving and advancing Irish musical traditions has enriched the country’s cultural heritage."
Following news of Bodley's passing this evening, the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, has shared a statement.
"The contribution of Seóirse to music composition was of immense significance and as a teacher he will be greatly missed," the President remarks. "I have no doubt whatever that his unique legacy will endure for generations to come. There are so many who recall his time as Professor of Music at University College Dublin for over four decades.
"That this was recognised by the conferring of an Honorary Doctorate on Seóirse by the National University of Ireland just a few weeks ago was warmly welcomed and so well earned," he continues. "Seóirse was the first composer to be accorded the distinguished title of Saoi of Aosdána and his work was rightly recognised at home and abroad. One of his many accomplishments was his commissioned work which opened our National Concert Hall in Dublin in 1981.
"All of us who had the privilege of knowing him recall also the warmth of his personality and the great affection, as well as respect, in which he was held by students and colleagues.
"Sabina joins me in sending our deepest condolences to his beloved and devoted wife, Professor Lorraine Byrne Bodley, and to his family and many friends and colleagues at this time of great loss. I hope that many happy memories, as well as the endurance of Seóirse’s exceptional legacy, will serve as a consolation now. It is one that will never be forgotten. Suaimhneas síoraí dá anam uasal."
The National Concert Hall have also paid tribute, noting that Bodley had "a monumental impact on the music and cultural life of Ireland." His Choral Symphony No.3 Ceol opened at the National Concert Hall in the early '80s – and more recently, in April 2023, two of his works were performed at the New Music Dublin festival.
"On behalf of everyone at the National Concert Hall, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to Seóirse’s family, friends and colleagues," commented Robert Read, CEO of the NCH. "We were honoured to work closely with Seóirse and he will forever be embedded in our history. As a composer, he was fearless in exploring new musical frontiers and pioneering in combining the traditional with the avant-garde, with extraordinary dexterity. He leaves an indelible impact on Irish music and his work will forever echo through the ages."
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dílis. 🕊️ pic.twitter.com/lri0X8IJKM
— National Concert Hall (@NCH_Music) November 17, 2023
See more tributes below:
RIP Seóirse Bodley (1933-2023) - composer and teacher.
— Raymond Deane (@merriman27) November 17, 2023
So sad to hear of the passing of Seoirse Bodley. He was a great composer and pedagogue whom I fondly remember from my college days @UCDSchoolMusic where he was such an inspiration in all his work and teaching. May he rest in peace https://t.co/8IRcOlul7f
— Gail Henry (@TheGailHenry) November 17, 2023
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