Irish composers don’t just skim the surface

I WISH to complain about André Jute’s remarks regarding the general state of composition in Ireland in his article headlined ‘Boredom and brilliance’ (Irish Examiner, June 29).

The article's focus was on the premiere performance of Jane O'Leary's third string quartet, but he made his review a vehicle for an attack on Irish academic and bureaucratic structures related to composition, and composers themselves.

He remarked: "She (O'Leary) is the product of the academic-bureaucratic musical establishment's futile desire to promote Irish composers."

Organisations like the Contemporary Music Centre, Opera Theatre Company and The Crash Ensemble, for example, make valiant, useful efforts to promote music by Irish composers, but I agree that there are many flaws in our bureaucratic structures.

However, having studied composition in Ireland and America, I believe that our Irish academic structures are of quite a high standard and certainly do not create an end product of composers who produce nothing more than "skimmed milk".

Has Mr Jute listened to the music of the Irish composers Jürgen Simpson, Roger Doyle, Donnacha Dennehy, John Buckley, Michael Alcorn and Kevin Volans, or the English composer John Godfrey all of them excellent and involved in music education on this island? Given the high calibre of the work of these individuals, who are but examples of Irish composers capable of producing exciting and intense music, it is disgraceful to describe the output of all but one Irish composer as "state-sponsored skimmed milk".

I also found it quite annoying and elitist that Mr Jute did not bother to name the individual he describes as "the single truly first-class Irish composer".

I have my suspicious about who he means, but given the subjective nature of his article I could easily be wrong.

Sarah O'Halloran,



Co Kerry.

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