We begin the month with something we hope will be very special: New Music Dublin. The Arts Council has joined in partnership with RTÉ and the National Concert Hall to create a festival of contemporary music.
The festival has been planned in consultation with internationally-acclaimed composer, conductor and pianist Thomas Adès, and he will conduct the RTÉ Concert Orchestra for the Irish premiere of Alice’s Adventures Underground, a new opera by Gerald Barry. I expect this will be one of the highlights.
Our hope is that by harnessing the unique resources of the three organisations, we will deliver a major new music festival for Ireland at a level that would not be possible by any of the organisations acting alone. We want the festival to act as a platform for the very best of International and Irish contemporary music and music making, and as a focus of energy for the development of audiences for new music in Ireland.
March will also be made special by the formal honouring of film-maker and photographer George Morrison as a Saoi. In being elected a Saoi by his fellow members of Aosdána, he is acknowledged by his peers as having made a significant, remarkable and enduring contribution to his art. And when the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, presents George with the golden torc symbolising the honour, his will join a small number of extraordinary names, past and present, including Samuel Beckett, Imogen Stuart, Seamus Heaney, Edna O’Brien, Camille Souter and Seoirse Bodley.
Finally, I would like to encourage all artists and arts workers to keep a close eye on the Arts Council website. We use the web to keep stakeholders informed about how and why we develop the arts, and also list all deadlines for funding.