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UCC honours renowned traditional musician

24 Oct 2023
UCC presented Bobby Gardiner with an Honorary Masters Degree in recognition of his immense contribution in the field of music. Image: Provision
  • Bobby Gardiner presented with Honorary Masters Degree in Music.

University College Cork (UCC) has presented Bobby Gardiner with an Honorary Masters Degree in recognition of his immense contribution in the field of music. Bobby is an internationally renowned traditional music educator, composer, lilter and performer of Irish Traditional Music on button accordion and melodeon.

A self-taught musician, Bobby was one of the first traditional musicians to take a teaching position at a third-level institution in Ireland. In the 1980’s, in recognition of his skill and reputation as an educator, Professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin invited Bobby to UCC where he worked as Button Accordion and Melodeon Tutor at the Department of Music at for 40 years. His teaching at UCC and beyond has inspired successive generations of students to pursue Irish traditional music performance in professional, semi-professional, and avocational contexts.

Bobby has released eight critically acclaimed albums and appeared as a guest on several commercial recordings. He has toured extensively all over the world, performing on stages throughout China, Japan, Europe, Canada, and the United States. In 2018, Waltons Music published the pioneering A Complete Guide to the Irish Button Accordion by Bobby Gardiner.

The international Irish Traditional Music community respect and hold Bobby in high esteem. He has received many accolades for his contribution to traditional music including a TG4 Gradam Saoil lifetime achievement award at the Gradam Ceoil, TG4 and Bobby’s life and music were celebrated in the Sé Mo Laoch documentary broadcast on TG4. In 2022 a Tribute Concert to Bobby Gardiner was held at the Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy / Willie Clancy Summer School, presented by Dr. Ciarán Ó Gealbháin, lecturer in the Department of Folklore and Ethnology at UCC. Founded in 1973, the Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy / Willie Clancy Summer School is the pre-eminent community-based Irish traditional music festival and music school.

Speaking about the honorary conferring, Professor Chris Williams, Head of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences said: “We are very fortunate to count Bobby Gardiner, artist, composer and educator of exceptional talent and renown as a member of the UCC community.”

“Since the 1980s, generations of UCC students have benefitted from Bobby’s expertise in accordion and melodeon and have been inspired by his enthusiastic commitment to Irish traditional music.His contribution to Irish traditional music education and performance within UCC and beyond has been of immeasurable importance. I am delighted that we celebrate Bobby’s long record of achievement and I offer him my warm congratulations on his award of Honorary Master.”

Bobby was delighted to accept the honour. Reflecting on the conferring, he said: “I am humbled, honoured, excited and extremely grateful to UCC for granting me this unexpected award here today and for friends and colleagues who got together to make it all happen.”

Bobby has great memories of his time tutoring at UCC, supporting and helping students develop their traditional musicianship. “I had 40 very happy years in the Department of Music, UCC, tutoring students on the accordion and melodeon, watching their progress and eventually setting them on the road to making their own contribution to Irish music. With positivity, curiosity, and dedication, every student in UCC can realise their dream.”

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF