Bill Whelan, best known as the composer of Riverdance and Brendan Graham the co-author of the hugely successful song, ‘You Raise Me Up’ became the first inductees to the new IMRO Academy which was launched by the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) this week.
The IMRO Academy’s mission is to celebrate and mark the successes of Ireland’s iconic songwriters and composers who have made a very significant cultural and social impact in Ireland and/or internationally. Two IMRO members will be inducted into the Academy each year.
Victor Finn, CEO, IMRO, said: “Both Bill and Brendan have contributed enormously to the recognition of Ireland across the Globe and their extensive work more than merits them being inducted into the new IMRO Academy.”
Commenting, Bill Whelan, said: ”It is a double honor for me to be inducted into this new Irish Academy of Composers – not alone because I share it with my long-time friend and colleague, Brendan Graham – both founder- members of IMRO, but also because I look forward in the coming years to the growth of this Academy into an association of Irish talent, as yet unimagined. ”
Brendan Graham, said: ”Through the years of scratching out songs and hoping to find a listening ear, you never expect to be the recipient of such an acknowledgement as this, and in the company of a friend of long standing, such as Bill, whose work you admire and have been inspired by. Surprised and grateful are words that spring to mind.”
Victor Finn, CEO, IMRO, added: “As a country we have real diversity and quality of music. It is the most important ingredient in fostering our reputation of being a dynamic and culturally rich nation. No creator goes out with the expressed intention of being a flag bearer for Ireland but nonetheless this is the inevitable consequence when their work resonates so powerfully with overseas audiences. We believe that the IMRO Academy will celebrate Ireland’s creatives.”
The induction ceremony coincided with the IMRO sponsored Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) annual conference dinner which took place in Dublin on Monday evening. Following the ceremony, Brendan and Bill presented a very special world premiere performance of their new composition, ‘The High Line’, written together in New York recently. In addition, there were guest performances of songs/compositions from the extensive catalogues of both music creators. Among those who performed were Brian Kennedy, Secret Garden, Zoe Conway, The Discovery Gospel Choir, Morgan Crowley, Bill Whelan, An Ceolfhoireann na hÉireann (conducted by David Brophy), Charlie McGettigan, Paul Harrington, Mick Donegan and Mick O’Brien.