Portraits of Seán Ó Riada Part I on September 25th at 2pm will see the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Brophy, explore Ó Riada’s landmark orchestral output. Ó Riada’s ambition was to create orchestral music in the European tradition. As he said himself, “it is my composition that gives meaning to my existence”. The programme includes his landmark ‘Hercules Dux Ferrariae’, the evocative ‘Banks of the Sullane’ and ‘Ceol na Laoi’ as well as his famous film scores for ‘Mise Éire’ and ‘Saoirse’. This performance includes contributions from fiddler Aoife Ní Bhríain and uilleann piper Mick O’Brien.
Portraits of Seán Ó Riada Part II on September 25th at 8pm features Peadar Ó Riada with Ceoltóirí Chualann and a host of the country's finest musicians and singers. This portrait shines a light on Ó Riada’s extraordinary legacy, one that has helped shape the national psyche. His diverse and influential canon will be celebrated by acclaimed artists such as traditional singer Seán Ó Sé, fiddler Sean Keane, concertina player Cormac Begley, composer and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Molloy, Sibéal Ní Chasaide and Ó Riada’s granddaughters Doireann and Siún Ní Ghlacáin. Also performing on the night are Mick O’Brien, Michael Tubridy, John Kelly, Kevin Glackin, Seán Potts and Eamonn McGiveney and Mel Mercier.
Elsewhere in the programme Crash Ensemble will interpret his landmark ‘Hercules Dux Ferrariae : Nomos 1’ with single-strings. Ó Riada also had a considerable impact on the world of poetry, for this celebratory event Stephen Rea will explore the effect he had on the writings of poets like Seamus Heaney and Thomas Kinsella. In addition, a curated soundscape contextualises Ó Riada’s disparate musical life.
Ó Riada is one of the most important figures in the history of Irish music. Over the course of his life, which included time as Music Director at Radio Éireann and The Abbey, founder and director of Ceoltóirí Chualann, a lecturer in music in UCC as well as extensive performance, composition and broadcasting work, he changed forever the evolution and perception of Irish traditional music. His soundtrack for ‘Mise Eire’ and the album ‘O Riada Sa Gaiety’ are two of Ireland’s most culturally significant artefacts.