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RTE, 2022

"Between Worlds” explores the life and legacy of the pioneering Irish composer and academic Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin (1950-2018).

From his ground-breaking developments as a composer with a unique Irish piano style fusing classical, jazz and Irish traditional elements, to his creation of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin’s output undoubtedly changed the course of Irish music and musical education.

As well as maintaining a prolific career both performing and composing music, Mícheál was, at his core, an educationalist. He started lecturing in Music at University College Cork followed by a successful sabbatical at Boston College where he founded the renowned Irish Music Archives at the John J. Burns Library.


Mícheál dedicated his life to creating opportunities for Irish music and musicians on the world stage. He embraced the idea of the “global village” and became convinced that the Irish story, like any cultural story, had global resonance. He was an incredible ambassador for Ireland and the Irish people and used every available opportunity through his prolific playing and composing career, to showcase and promote Irish music on a global scale. He was the first Chairperson of Culture Ireland and until his death in 2018 he became instrumental in shaping how Ireland could best promote its arts and culture worldwide.

The soundscape of the documentary includes specially curated and recorded musical performances from the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Irish World Academy, and long-time musical colleagues and friends. Contributors include David Brophy, Mel Mercier, Neil Martin, Nóirín Ní Riain, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Vincent Woods, as well as his sons, brother, and wife, Helen Phelan, the current Director of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.


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