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Sligo Composer Michael Rooney is named as the 2017 TG4 Composer of the Year at press event in Cork

Michael Rooney, acclaimed composer and musician, has just been announced as the TG4 Composer of the Year for 2017.  This year has been a busy one for Michael, following his success with The Macalla Suite, a specially commissioned suite for the 1916 Centenary. A new CD of the Macalla Suite, peformed by the Macalla Orchestra has just been released

Michael Rooney is a prolific composer and is widely regarded as one of the foremost players of the traditional Irish harp. Originally from Scotstown, Co. Monaghan and now resident in Sligo, has recorded two CDs with flute player June McCormack; ‘Draíocht’  and ‘Land’s End’. Michael has published four books of his own compositions; ‘Harp Tunes’ (2006), Aifreann Gaeilge (2012),  ‘The de Cuéllar Suite’ (2012), ‘The Macalla Suite’ (2016).

The Macalla Suite reflects the period of Irish history from the famine to the present day. This epic work conveys in music, song and story, the birth of a nation and was commissioned as a central part of Ireland’s commemoration of the 1916 Rising Centenary. The Macalla Orchestra is made up of over 60 of the finest traditional and classical musicians from Ireland, Scotland and England. “Indeed if ever a show could be said to capture the passion, the people, the politics and the consequences of Easter 1916 this is it.” (The Wexford People)

The Macalla Suite commemorates the Easter Rising of 1916, while also focusing on significant aspects of Irish history from the Famine era, through the growth of nationalism, The War of Independence and to modern Ireland. The suite was The Suite was performed at the RDS on Easter Saturday at the State Event for the Relatives of 1916 and toured to the Barbican in London, followed by a sell-out nationwide
tour during Easter 2016.

The album features 20 tracks and runs at over sixty minutes of richly tapestried music, with each of the six movements carrying its own distinct ambience as the groupings of traditional fiddles, harps, flutes, pipes, banjos, accordions and concertinas supported by classical violins, cellos, trumpets, percussion, piano, double-bass and bodhran intertwine seamlessly under Rooney’s masterful direction.  ‘Michael Rooney’s superbly orchestrated score covered the whole gamut of emotions inevitably evoked by the many-layered and endlessly engrossing story of the Easter Rising, and the tale of the Irish nation before and since, providing a soundtrack that time and again veered from the haunting quieter interludes to the inspiring crescendos when the entire 60-plus Orchestra took full musical flight.’ (Michael McDonnell, The Northern Standard)

‘It’s rare for a piece of music to be able to tell such a vast and significant part of history so well in such a short space of time.  The Macalla Suite has managed to wonderfully condense almost 150 years of Irish history into beautiful and emotive melodies and orchestrations that are unashamedly Irish’. (Luke Vogel, Reviewer, London)

Michael has composed nine suites of music in the past 20 years, including The Macalla Suite (2016), Boróimhe Suite (2014), The Second Coming (2014), De Cuellar Suite (2011) and Battle of the Books Suite (2007). In May 2015, Michael was commissioned to write music and perform on the occasion of Prince Charles’ visit to Sligo. His music features on ‘The Queen’s Speech’, RTÉ’s documentary of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Ireland.

The album ‘The Macalla Suite’ is available to purchase at and can be downloaded at

Permalink - Posted: December 14, 2016 at 3:01 pm