The Journal Of Music In Ireland: Ireland's Bi-Monthly Music Magazine
JMI Cover Image, January/February 2007
The Contemporary Music Centre
The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Eala&iacuteon
Traditional Music and the Avant-Garde
Toner Quinn
<< January/February 2007 : Volume 7, Number 1 >>

The idea of an avant-garde wing in Irish traditional music may seem a contradiction in terms, but it shouldn’t be, argues Toner Quinn.

During last year’s RTÉ Living Music Festival, a questionnaire was handed out. One of the questions was whether or not the audience would like to see genres other than contemporary classical music covered in future festivals. I ticked the ‘no’ box because I thought there was plenty of contemporary music that I hadn’t heard that would fill the event for years to come. However, the appointment of jazz bassist Ronan Guilfoyle as Artistic Director of this year’s festival – and the subsequent inclusion of jazz programming – naturally raises the possibility of the future inclusion of other genres, traditional Irish music for example.

That, however, would be an indulgence. Traditional music is already catered for in the many...

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