Opinion & Book Reviews

Catherine Martin's New Opportunity to Protect Irish Music
Appointing a board member to RTÉ who has musical expertise is crucial to try and safeguard the Irish music scene, writes Toner Quinn.
The Forgotten Influences on Pianists and Composers of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
A new book by Gabriela Mayer, 'The Art of the Unspoken', explores how rhetoric, linguistic parallels and the singing voice were understood by pianists and composers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and how performers can interpret these aspects today. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
'There are no good – even tolerable – musicians coming from Ireland anymore and we don’t expect them': Francis O'Neill Letters Published Online
The five letters, written between 1906 and 1914, provide an insight into O'Neill's perspective during his seminal publishing and collecting work.
Shane MacGowan’s Crusading Ideas on Irish Music
Tributes to the late Shane MacGowan emphasise his songwriting, but his vision for Irish music was much broader than that, writes Toner Quinn.
If RTÉ Won’t Speak Up About Its Importance to Irish Music, Who Will?
RTÉ has just published its document 'A New Direction for RTÉ', but where is the renewed vision for music, asks Toner Quinn.
Exploring the Rich Musical World of Céilí Band Competition
Fiddle player Philip Duffy has recently published a substantial volume on the history of senior céilí band winners at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann from the beginnings in 1951 right up to recent times. Méabh Ní Fhuartháin reviews.
Opening Up Music, History and Creativity
Composer Benjamin Dwyer's new book, 'Music Autopsies: Essays and Interviews (1999–2022)' is a collection of sixteen essays exploring many aspects of creativity, from the impact of Ireland's historical traumas to the work of Beckett, Volans, Crumb, Ligeti and Bernstein. Deirdre Gribbin reviews.
When it Comes to New Music, the NSO Needs to Get a Move On
The National Symphony Orchestra's new season begins on Friday 8 September, the second full season since it moved to the NCH. Adrian Smith looks ahead to some of the highlights and also considers the orchestra's programming of new music.
How Ireland Treats Its Free Thinkers – The Life and Death of Sinéad O'Connor
The great Sinéad O'Connor has left Ireland with a lot to think about with regard to how we deal with dissent, writes Toner Quinn.
Widening the Cracks in the Edifice of Neoliberalism
Are contemporary music groups falling prey to 'the experience economy'? Or are they challenging the neoliberal consensus? Sebastian Adams, composer and Artistic Director of Kirkos, responds to a recent discussion on the Contemporary Music Centre’s Amplify podcast.