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Wicklow County Council under the Per Cent for Art Scheme and on behalf of Music Generation Wicklow has commissioned composer Vincent Kennedy to engage with four schools across County Wicklow, resulting in The Wicklow Ways – a newly written work for Orchestra comprising 73 young Wicklow musicians performing on violin, recorder, ukulele, guitar, piano and a whole host of drums and tuned percussion instruments.
Vincent Kennedy first visited the four schools: Scoil Chaoimhin Naofa, Gleann da Loch, Co. Chill Mhantain; St Laurences National School, Kindlestown, Greystones, Co. Wicklow; Lacken National School, Blessington, Co.Wicklow; St Cronans National School, Vevay Road, Bray, Co.Wicklow, in May 2014 and carried out 4 workshops in each school since September 2014. The workshop process engaged the young musicians in fun and challenging ways inspiring them to perform to the best of their abilities and reach new heights in their musical development.
The Wicklow Ways is interspersed with moments where the professional tutors of the young musicians perform specially composed solos that demonstrate their individual virtuosity and put a context to what can be achieved from a music education. The Orchestra comprises violins, recorders, ukuleles, guitar, piano and a whole host of drums and tuned percussion instruments withEamon Sweeney (Classical Guitar, ukulele, Bass Guitar), Aisling Seery (recorders), Sinead Finegan (violin), Terry Clancy (Saxophone, Clarinet, recorder), Rama Block (percussion), James Dunne (percussion) and Svetlana Rudenko (piano).
Writing about the commission process Kennedy says “This experience has been very important to me because as a seven year old in CBS Westland Row I got the chance to take up music and it changed my life. So be involved with Music Generation Wicklow and these wonderful young people at the beginning of their music education is wonderful. To experience their enthusiasm, their sense of fun in learning, their kindnesses, their beautiful smiles and laughs, and to see how they have grown musically through the process has been inspiring. I have also experienced some of why they are doing so well and that is down to their brilliant and enthusiastic music teachers, their class teachers and assistants, the support and enthusiasm of the school principals, the assistance of the school secretaries and the support of their families and Wicklow Music Generation. I hope the process we have engaged in together will lead to lovely performances on 22nd March and will remain a lasting inspiration to all who take part. The music itself, in 11 movements is inspired by the beauty and heritage of Wicklow and my own life long experiences of the Garden of Ireland.
Vincent Kennedy was born in Dublin and studied trumpet winning many prizes and performing with orchestras and ensembles before establishing himself as a composer. He has written for orchestral, chamber, instrumental and vocal combinations. His music has been performed by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra, Antipodes Ensemble, Concorde, Donegal Camerata, Cantando, the Rathfarnham Concert Band Society, the Band of An Garda Siochána, the combined bands of the Irish Army and many symphonic wind ensembles, brass and pipe bands throughout Ireland, Europe, USA and Canada. In the past year along with “The Wicklow Ways” he completed and performed the stage production of “The Torch Still Burns Brightly” based on the words and episodes in the life of John F. Kennedy and will shortly begin recording this work. He conducted a brilliant performance of his music “The Chronicles of Meath” at the World Harp Festival in Sydney Australia. A recording of that work with the Meath Harp Ensemble will be released shortly. He wrote music for a new stage musical about the journey and plight of Irish women who journey to Australia pre and post famine and will be the music director when this premiers in Australia in the near future. Vincent is also engaged on a music work to celebrate 1916. Throughout his career Vincent has had a passion for musical education and working with young people and this is manifest by being musical director ot the Rathfarnham Concert Band Society, conductor of the Donegal Youth Orchestra and to have been the first conductor to be asked to direct the Wexford Fest of Youth Orchestras in the Opera House in Wexford.
The Wicklow Ways is one of four new music works commissioned by Wicklow County Council and produced by the Contemporary Music Centre under the Per Cent for Art Scheme on behalf of Music Generation Wicklow. These commissions have involved some 300 children and young people between the ages of 6 and 16 across County Wicklow.
Music Generation Wicklow is a partnership between Music Generation, Kildare & Wicklow Education & Training Board and Wicklow County Council. It is managed and administered by partner Kildare & Wicklow Education & Training Board and its Steering Committee, Wicklow Music Education Partnership. Music Generation Wicklow is also supported by U2, The Ireland Funds and the Department of Education and Skills. Music Generation is Ireland’s National Music Education Programme, a Music Network initiative co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and local Music Education Partnerships.
For further information on the above commission and the Contemporary Music Centre, please contact: