Recently in Manhattan not too far from its cultural mecca of Lincoln Center some of the magic that is regularly produced at the innovative Irish World Academyof Music and Dance along the banks of the Shannon on the campus of the University of Limerick was transported to the Big Apple. Under the guidance and inspiration of founding Director, Dr. Micheal O’Suilleabhain, a performance by Academos, the Irish World Academy Strings Ensemble with Cantoral, its Female Chant Ensemble was presented to an audience of six hundred people who came to the Ethical Culture Society Concert Hall on Thursday, Feb. 4.
It featured a varied musical program that included orchestral works by Felix Mendelssohn (String Symphony No. 10 in B Minor) and Bela Bartok (Divertimento Sx. 113) along with a newly arranged collaborative choral Kyrie (originally composed by O’Sulleabhain in 1994 as part of his Missa Gadelica), it showed off the talents of twenty-six artists and students (photos) that also included the Dublin-born and New York-based special guest Clarinetist Carol McGonnell. The stunning program of Latin and Celtic chanting by the six-woman ensemble (photo) under the direction of UL Chant Director Catherine Serent was especially note-worthy and timely given the celebration of St. Brigid’s Day on Feb. 1 a few days before, the most revered of women in Ireland with a resume akin to St. Patrick.
The concert was free thanks to the joint efforts of the University of Limerick (http://www.irishworldacademy.ie/
), the Irish Arts Center, Culture Ireland, the American Ireland Fund, Glucksman Ireland House and others. It was just a small sample of the cultural outreach set in motion over 15 years ago in Limerick, aided in large measure by the generosity of the Glucksmans (Loretta and the late Lew) and Chuck Feeney towards O’Suilleabhain’s global vision that will reach its pinnacle next month when a fantastic new home for the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance is opened across a “Living Bridge” oer the Shannon for the Irish World Academy.