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June 23rd – July 4th, 2008
Blas International Summer School of Irish Traditional Music and Dance 2008 runs from Monday June 23rd until Friday July 4th.

The Blas Summer School at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance (formerly the Irish World Music Centre) took place for the first time in 1997, under the directorship of Dr Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, Professor of Music. Now in its 12th year, the summer school has gone from strength to strength, attracting students from Britain, Europe, the United States and Japan, as well as local, national and international media attention.

What sets Blas apart from other traditional music summer schools is that it is residential, offering on-campus accommodation in the superb student villages on the University of Limerick campus.(visit Blas is also unique among summer schools in offering a strong academic as well as a practical content, for which university accreditation is available to qualified applicants. An examination system in place at the summer school allows for three credits to be taken for university courses in Europe and the United States.

The tightly timetabled daily schedules include 2 Master Classes with the best known tutors, Irish language class, and many opportunities for practical application of the Master Class contents. Blas also offers a series of lectures giving participants an overview of Irish Traditional music and dance and its context within Irish history. With very low student-tutor ratios, Blas allows for one-to-one access to the expertise of the invited musicians. All levels of competence are catered for, from complete beginners to experienced players. The line-up of tutors is consistently of the highest standard, bringing the finest exponents of Irish traditional music and dance onto the University of Limerick campus to teach and play.

Tutors have included Frankie Gavin, Andy Irvine, Niall Keegan, Mel Mercier, John Carty, Karan Casey, Iarla O Lionáird, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, Matt Cranitch, Kevin Burke, Joe Burke, Colin Dunne, Jean Butler and many others, giving Blas the unique distinction of offering students the chance to concentrate on their techniques in an academic environment, as well as the chance to share tunes and songs with their tutors at the nightly music sessions.

Apart from tuition, lectures and master classes, students can expect a whole range of activities including field trips, sessions, concerts & céilís. Past participants are unanimous in their praise of the Blas Experience, citing not only the educational and developmental element of the school, but also the social and personal value of the multi-cultured make up of the group. Acquaintances that start at Blas flourish well beyond the course duration and often blossom into long lasting friendships.

There is also a public outreach element to Blas, and each year several public concerts take place in venues throughout Limerick City. Last summer, the Blas Live concerts included Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill in concert in St Mary’s Cathedral Limerick on Thursday June 28th; Niall Keegan and Friends in Dolan’s on Tuesday July 3rd and Patrick Street in Dolan’s on Thursday July 5th.

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Permalink - Posted: March 20, 2008 at 4:18 pm