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Professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin RIP

8 Nov

It is with great sadness that University College Cork has learned of the death of Professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin.

A composer, performer and academic, Professor Ó Súilleabháin played a seminal role in the shaping of contemporary Irish culture and was honoured by UCC with an honorary Doctor of Music degree in 2005.

Through his distinctive compositional style, captivating concert performances, perceptive scholarly writing, and astute cultural analysis, he emerged as one of the most vital voices in Irish musical life in the second half of the 20th century.

Clonmel-born Ó Súilleabháin started his career in education as a lecturer in Music at his alma mater UCC in 1975, where he pioneered an approach to education that was to inform all his subsequent work.

Building on the foundations laid by Seán Ó Riada before him, Ó Súilleabháin articulated a philosophy of Music Education that located music-making itself, and dialogue between diverse traditions, at its core.

As a performer, Ó Súilleabháin is credited with the creation of an internationally recognised Irish piano style. His profound musicality, technical virtuosity, and deep understanding of Irish Traditional Music allowed him to unlock the potential of the piano to bridge the sonic worlds of traditional, classical and jazz music repertoires.

Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Limerick and founder/Director at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin shaped his sound and his history. A champion of the profound significance of cultural work, he believed in the positive, transformational potential of artistic expression.

A visionary and charismatic educator and artist, Professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin’s exceptional creative gifts set him apart as a remarkable Irish man who has left us with an enduring legacy.  

The University wishes to extend its deepest sympathy to Mícheál’s wife, Professor Helen Phelan and their son Luke; sons Eoin and Mícheál (Moley) and their mother Dr Nóirín Ní Riain; his brother John, his extended family and friends, and the UL community.

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF

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