The Arts Council and the National Concert Hall are delighted to announce that the recipient of the inaugural Liam O’Flynn Award is musician and composer Úna Monaghan.
Úna works mainly with traditional Irish harp and electronics. She is regarded as one of the leading exponents of the traditional harp in Ireland while her adoption of digital technology and experimental techniques explores the possibilities for connection between performer and audience.
After studying Astrophysics in Cambridge University, Úna gained a PhD in Music from Queen’s University, Belfast in 2015. She currently holds the Rosamund Harding Research Fellow in Music, Newnham College, University of Cambridge. Previously Úna was Studio Engineer at Queen’s University’s Sonic Arts Research Centre.
Úna is in demand internationally as a musician and sound engineer; she has written extensively on her specialist practices and has published several works. Úna is a founding member of Fair Plé –a group recently established to promote gender balance in Irish Traditional and Folk Music. Úna is also currently on the board of the Irish Traditional Music Archive.
Accepting the award, Úna said: “I am very happy and honoured to receive this award to support my composition work. It will enable me to progress my collection Aonaracht for solo traditional musicians and electronics. I look forward to working with the National Concert Hall, being a part of its creative ecosystem, and collaborating with brilliant traditional musicians to produce new work.
This kind of opportunity, of time to experiment, to fail, and to make, of resources and infrastructure to build on, is invaluable to every artist, and is a rare thing. I am especially happy to be supported by funding in honour of Liam O’Flynn, a musician I have listened to, admired, and mixed. Táim ar bís le háthas; go raibh céad maith agaibh.”
Orlaith Mc Bride, Director of the Arts Council said: “The Arts Council is delighted to honour the artistry and legacy of Liam O’ Flynn – a pioneer of traditional music who brought the artform in new and exciting paths without losing sight of where the music came from. Úna Monaghan, herself an accomplished traditional harper, is also exploring the reaches of traditional music and she is undoubtedly a worthy recipient of the inaugural Liam O’Flynn Award.”
Simon Taylor, CEO of the National Concert Hall added: “Liam’s position in Irish music was very special in that he was both the custodian of a great tradition and an imaginative innovator. With that in mind, it is a particular honour to announce Úna Monaghan as the inaugural recipient of the Liam O’Flynn Award. Her work combining traditional music and electronics poses new and exciting questions about this unique art-form and how we connect with it.”
In memory of Liam O’Flynn, the Liam O’Flynn Award celebrates the role of the individual creative traditional artist in the creation of new works, the inception of unique artistic collaborations and innovations, and in the transmission of traditional arts for future generations to enjoy and practice.
The purpose of the Liam O’Flynn Award is to provide a traditional artist with a period of artistic reflection, inspiration and creation in residence in the National Concert Hall and to enhance appreciation, knowledge and enjoyment of the traditional arts across the rich milieu of the National Concert Hall.
For the Liam O’Flynn Award recipients, it will provide career-changing artistic opportunities, including the chance to work with a wide range of artistic collaborators in a supportive and professional environment where they will be positioned alongside high-performing artists from other genres and where there is high expectation of creative outputs.
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