Pianist & Featured Composer
Emeritus Chair of Music and Founding Director of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin (1950 – 2018) is noted for his development of a uniquely Irish traditional piano style. He has recorded extensively with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and has released some 15 recordings overall. His most recent recordings include PHOENIX RISING for symphony orchestra (Avolon 2015). ELVER GLEAMS: New and Selected Recordings (EMI 2010), and the DVD IRISH DESTINY: music for the historic 1925 silent movie of the same name (Irish Film Institute 2006).
In 2004 he was appointed inaugural Chair of Culture Ireland (the Irish governmental statutory body for promoting Irish arts worldwide) and was reappointed in 2008.
In 2005 he was awarded an Honorary D.Mus. from the National University of Ireland at University College Cork for his contribution to music in Ireland. Other awards include Ollamh na hÉigse (Professor of Arts) in 2005 by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Boston College Honorary Alumnus Award for contributions to Irish music in the USA (2006), and Gradam Cheoil (Irish language television award for contribution to Irish music) in 2011.
He studied composition with Irish composers Seán Ó Riada and Aloys Fleischmann, and his PhD from Queen’s University Belfast followed study with ethnomusicologists John Blacking and John Baily.
In May 2011, Mícheál performed with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland for The Queen’s Concert in the National Convention Centre, Dublin, marking the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Ireland. In December of the same year he performed at the Grand Canal Theatre with the RTE Concert Orchestra at the request of the newly appointed President of Ireland, Dr. Michael D. Higgins.
In 2013 he was appointed O’Donnell Visiting Professor of Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
As well as his extensive academic publications centered on Irish Music, he has given keynote addresses to such international bodies as the International Society for Music Education (ISME), the European Seminar in Ethnomusicology (ESE), and the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM).