Ireland’s Music Policy

Alexandra Slaby

Résumé

A study of the discourse on music in Ireland emanating from public and semi-public bodies dealing with culture and from the music world reveals that a polarised conception of music which originated at the end of the 19th century has lasted throughout the 20th century. This essay highlights the key moments of that discourse and looks at efforts made by the Arts Council and the Department of Arts to overcome a narrow and often lingering ideological approach to music.

L’étude du discours sur la musique en Irlande émanant d’institutions gouvernementales ou d’organismes culturels semi-indépendants et du monde musical montre que la conception polarisée de la musique telle qu’elle s’est développée à la fin du XIXe siècle perdure à travers le XXe siècle. Cet article met en évidence les moments clés de ce discours et examine les efforts de l’Arts Council et du ministère des Arts en vue de surmonter une approche étroite et souvent encore idéologique de la musique.

  • 1 See the Dáil debates (http://www.oireachtas.ie, Arts Bill 2002) from February to May 2003 about the (...)
  • 2 See To Talent Alone, Richard Pine, Charles Acton (eds.), Dublin, Gill & Macmillan, 1998.
  • 3 Michael William Balfe, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, Hamilton Harty, or John Field.

1A legacy of the late 19th century, the polarisation of Irish musical life has remained a tangible reality throughout the 20th century, as evidenced by the separatist claims made by some elements of the traditional music sector as late as in 2003.1 Before independence, attempts at fostering a dialogue between the two dominant musical genres orchestrated by the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM) stumbled upon their contrary demands.2 Consequently, the few Irish classical composers of the Celtic Twilight and beyond3 did not have much success in their own country, even when they tried to bring traditional and classical idioms closer, unlike their counterparts Sibelius, Bartók or Vaughan Williams in their respective countries. Consequently, they took their music elsewhere, to England. In Ireland, because musical and national identity became inextricably linked, this unique polarisation endured. The question is for how long, and whether the cultural policy articulated by the Irish government succeeded in overcoming this polarisation by facilitating the emergence of other musical genres and putting an end to a musical life in binary mode.

2After retracing the outlines of official discourse towards music in the aftermath of independence, we will see to what extent musical life became more diversified during the decades when the newly-created Arts Council was the sole cultural decision-maker, before looking at the contribution made by the Department of Arts since the beginning of the 1990s.

Repressive politics and personal initiatives

3In the first decades following independence, a repressive policy articulated against all forms of foreign music set the tone for musical life. This protectionist policy fostered an ignorance of musical genres and often dubious moral and political associations. Against this backdrop, some personal initiatives attempted with great perseverance to broaden the musical horizons of the Irish.

4In 1922, the State established the music groups which were to be the emblems of the new nation: the Garda Band and the Army Band. On the strength of its popularity and strong community ties, the former soon set up a Céilí band, a pipe band and a dance orchestra. The Army Band set itself higher musical ambitions thanks to the initiative of two figures, General Richard Mulcahy who was then Commander in Chief of the Army and wanted to contribute to the musical education of the population and give access to high-level music, and a German colonel he sent for, Colonel Fritz Brase. The Army Band also set up a music school. An indication of the high level of that music group is provided by the musical stature of the man chosen for the task. Indeed, Colonel Fritz Brase, who conducted a German military band before World War I, graduated from the Leipzig Conservatory and the Academy of Berlin and had performed as a musician in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1923, the orchestra he formed in Dublin after a rigorous process of selection was soon very successful. Apart from playing for State functions, this group also gave concerts throughout the country and made a particular effort to reach out to the schools.

  • 4 See Maurice Gorham, Forty Years of Irish Broadcasting, Dublin, Talbot Press, 1967.
  • 5 Documentary called “Down with Jazz”, broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 on December 14, 1987, and re-broadcas (...)

5The government then intervened in a more prescriptive way after the creation of the national radio, 2RN, in 1926. The succeeding ministers for Posts and Telegraphs then had a great responsibility in the quality of musical life. Not surprisingly, the priority in the 1920s was the promotion of traditional music.4 The government reasserted that position in the years 1934 and 1935 in the context of a campaign organised by the Catholic Church and the Gaelic League to ban jazz from the waves. Jazz, which had been occasionally broadcast through the “sponsored programmes”, was considered as music “borrowed from Central Africa by the Bolsheviks to weaken Christian civilization”.5 Éamon de Valera sent a letter to support the campaign. Under pressure, 2RN removed jazz from the programmes until 1949. Meanwhile, in the 1930s, traditional music received increased support from the government. It was elevated to a key priority in the syllabus by the Minister for Education Thomas Derrig, while Éamon de Valera supported the creation of the Irish Folklore Commission in 1935. This official instrumentalisation of music for the purposes of nationalist propaganda resulted in a perception of music not as worthy of interest per se but as a mere medium to convey a message. An examination of the syllabus indeed confirms that singing was taught by heart, that pupils did not learn how to read music, and that the focus on singing was to the detriment of the more costly alternative which was learning how to play an instrument. But outside the field of traditional music, institutional support disappeared to give way to private initiative. In addition to the poor provision of music in the schools, the Royal Irish Academy of Music failed, contrary to its European counterparts, to give rise to a nationwide infrastructure of music schools.

  • 6 Harry White, “The Conceptual Failure of Music Education in Ireland”, The Irish Review, nº 21, 1997, (...)

6The training of music teachers suffered from the absence, until the 1980s, of a third-level degree in music pedagogy (BMusEd). The development of the profession was further slowed down by the overdue emergence of research in musicology. Music studies at the university were long confined to religious music, as was the case at St Patrick’s University, Maynooth, which boasts the oldest Chair of Music. Without the development of a musical culture, it is difficult to maintain a rich and varied musical life. A cursory glance at the concerts advertised in The Irish Times in the decades before and after independence reveals that classical concerts became scarcer. In this context where music was “conceptually absent from the Irish mind”, at least in written form, to paraphrase Harry White,6 only private initiatives could help bridge a historical gap, such as those of the patient and persevering Patrick J. Little, Minister for Posts and Telegraphs between 1939 and 1948, and then first Chairman of the Arts Council.

  • 7 Terence Brown, Ireland. A Social and Cultural History. 1922 to the Present, London, Fontana, 1981, (...)
  • 8 See Paddy Clarke, Dublin Calling. 2RN and the Birth of the Irish Radio, Dublin, RTÉ, 1986.
  • 9 See Brian P. Kennedy, Dreams and Responsibilities, Dublin, The Arts Council, 1998, p. 46-47.
  • 10 Manuscript “Memorandum for Government”, dated September 28, 1936, quoted by Brian P. Kennedy, Dream (...)
  • 11 Formed with Seán McEntee, Minister for Local Government and Public Health, Patrick J. Little, Minis (...)
  • 12 See Paddy Clarke, Dublin Calling

7His arrival on the musical stage coinciding with what Terence Brown called “The Emergency. A Watershed”,7 one could hope that Irish ears would be more receptive to foreign music. In London during the war, the Committee for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts, the ancestor of the British Arts Council, had encountered great success with concert series organised to boost the morale of troops and civilians. Patrick J. Little brought that initiative to Ireland through symphonic concerts organised by Radio Éireann in Mansion House from 1941 on.8 The resounding success of those concerts in Ireland revealed a huge popular demand, but Irish politicians were still reluctant, continuing for example to oppose the idea of a national concert hall. The hostility mostly came from Seán T. O’Kelly, a former President of the Gaelic League and Minister for Finance between 1941 and 1945. Upon coming into office, Seán T. O’Kelly wrote a letter to Patrick J. Little, warning him that it was out of the question, in a period of budget restraint, to fund such projects as a national concert hall.9 Even the Department of Posts and Telegraphs was divided. Patrick S. O’Hegarty, the Secretary of the Department and a man of letters, also violently opposed the creation of a national concert hall and a national symphonic orchestra: “The general principle of subsidising places of amusement, whether theatre or concert halls or stadia, no matter how highbrow and desirable in themselves, seems to me to be entirely bad”.10 A cross-ministerial committee was formed in 1946 to reflect upon it, but the project did not materialise before 1981.11 Patrick J. Little succeeded nevertheless in creating the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) in 1948.12

  • 13 Denis Donoghue, “The Future of Irish Music”, Studies, nº 44, 1955, p. 133.

8Over three decades, the only support provided by the State to music was channelled towards traditional music. For the rest, an array of protectionist measures in the school system and the media prevented the population from having access to musical knowledge. The ignorance and lack of creativity which followed independence moved Denis Donoghue to declare in 1955 that “internationally, contemporary Irish music does not exist. There is in Ireland today no composer whose works an intelligent European musician must know”.13 When the Irish Arts Council was created in 1951 on the British modus operandi of the arm’s length principle, one could hope that the music sector which was to sit at that semi-official table could take decisions, fund music projects and thereby begin to redress that historical imbalance and foster a more diversified musical life.

Musical life under the aegis of the Arts Council: a new direction

9For four decades, the Arts Council was the sole cultural decision-maker. Without articulating a cultural policy, it funded projects approved on qualitative grounds by a committee of experts. One could then reasonably assume that music would cease to be instrumentalised as it had been in the past. A new orientation was indeed given, and an awareness of the needs of music emerged when the Arts Council commissioned research reports in the 1980s.

  • 14 Indeed, in the Annual Report of the Arts Council for the year 1963-1964, one reads that since 1951, (...)
  • 15 See Brian P. Kennedy, Dreams and Responsibilities, p. 122.
  • 16 See Brian P. Kennedy, “The Arts Council”, The Irish Arts Review Yearbook, vol. 6, 1990, p. 118.

10At the beginning of the 1950s, Éamon de Valera’s government insisted that the Arts Council primarily support the visual arts which had been neglected since independence, and which, according to the Bodkin Report published in 1951, would showcase Ireland’s modernity in international exchanges. From then on, Fianna Fáil became especially interested in high-visibility cultural projects. However, the Arts Council made use of the full distance permitted under the arm’s length principle governing it and, under the direction of Patrick J. Little, music received the greatest proportion of subsidies until the 1960s.14 Under the chairmanship of Seán Ó Faoláin, the Arts Council committed itself to bringing the best of international music to Ireland and inviting the most prestigious orchestras and soloists.15 Then, with Donal O’Sullivan from 1960 to 1973, the Arts Council’s support of music took a more radical direction when the funding of brass bands and music festivals was discontinued.16 All in all, the general orientation given to music by Patrick J. Little and Seán Ó Faoláin was considered elitist, and the Arts Council was criticised for being generally disconnected from the actual cultural life of the country and for failing to take into account the emergence of demand for popular and traditional music. It is fair to say that in its first decades of existence, the Arts Council tried to redress a historical imbalance by going the opposite way entirely.

  • 17 Donald Herron, Deaf Ears? A Report on the Provision of Music Education in Irish Schools, Dublin, Th (...)

11The 1980s ushered in a period of assessment of those decades of private initiatives and ad hoc measures. The reports commissioned by the Arts Council give an interesting indication of what happens when the State does not intervene to support music in one way or other. In 1985, the European Music Year, a report on music education published in Ireland, called Deaf Ears?,17 compared music education in Ireland and in other European countries. The results were disquieting. There was only one music inspector in the whole country and music was not a compulsory subject in secondary schools. Ireland came last before Greece and Italy as regards the age at which students ceased to receive music education. Ireland also had the lowest number of music schools, i.e. four, whereas Norway, with a similar population, had one hundred and ninety three, and Iceland, with a smaller population than that of Co. Cork, had seventy. This situation triggered Richard Pine’s remark that much remained to be done to restore Irish musical life with its creative dimension:

  • 18 Music in Ireland 1848-1998, Richard Pine (ed.), Dublin, Mercier Press, 1998, p. 26.

We have, on the face of it, a burgeoning musical life […]. Yet there is a fundamental mismatch between such conspicuous activity, geared towards passive consumption, and an understanding of what it is all about, of how it is produced and, even more fundamentally, of what we are trying to produce – not least in the audiences of tomorrow.18

12Musical life became more varied nevertheless thanks to a few initiatives. The first classical music channel, RTÉ FM3, was created in 1984. The Arts Council then established a number of resource centres. In 1986, Music Network, one such resource centre for all musical genres, was set up to foster a better distribution of concerts throughout the country through some two hundred and fifty subsidised concerts, and support to musicians outside Dublin. The same year, the Contemporary Music Centre was created with the same purpose, but with an exclusive focus on contemporary music, not in the generic, but chronological sense, covering compositions of all genres throughout the 20th century in Ireland. On the traditional side, the Arts Council established the Irish Traditional Music Archive in 1987. Those new resources enabled music and musicology to develop as an area of study and research.

  • 19 Dáil Éireann, Dáil Debates, vol. 233, March 28, 1968, col. 1446-1447.
  • 20 Established in 1981, Aosdána (“people of the arts”) is a programme which allocates a grant to suppo (...)

13After its initial efforts were perceived as too elitist, the Arts Council succeeded in articulating a strategy to develop musical life by taking into account the musical needs of society while maintaining its criteria of excellence. The momentum gathered speed with the creation of learned journals such as Irish Musical Studies and of the Irish World Music Centre at the University of Limerick by Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin in 1991. Musical life then rose to another, entirely new dimension. Music, like the arts in general during that period of extraordinary creativity, started receiving political attention, and especially from the moment Charles Haughey stepped onto the cultural political stage. The instigator of the tax exemption for artists in 1969, he was the first Irish politician who aspired to be a patron of the arts and who supported the idea of a state cultural policy. He initiated specific measures for classical music. Indeed, when he told the Dáil19 in 1968 that he wanted to divide the Arts Council into three, he proposed that one be set aside for opera and classical music. He was credited for setting up Aosdána which also rewards classical musicians.20 It was under his term that the National Concert Hall finally opened its doors. One would expect that this new political interest would be sustained or even increased with the creation of a Department of Arts in 1993 and that there would be a cross-departmental dialogue to solve the problems of music education and infrastructure.

The contribution of the Department of Arts

14In 1996, the newly-created Department started addressing the situation of music. A Fine Gael / Labour coalition followed by a Fianna Fáil / Labour coalition promised a music policy based on access through education, while retaining in the second instance a liking for projects bringing votes or positive media coverage. The Department first started by commissioning reports recalling the needs of the sector. We will now see to what extent the Department addressed those needs and what impact it had on musical life.

  • 21 David Laing, Music in Europe, Brussels, European Music Office – DGX [now EAC], 1996.
  • 22 The PIANO Report (Report to the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht on the Provision and I (...)
  • 23 FORTE Task Force, Access All Areas – Irish Music an International Industry: Report to the Minister (...)
  • 24 This report examines ways to give a greater place to classical music in broadcasting; to include mu (...)
  • 25 Music Network, The Boydell Papers. Essays on Music and Music Policy in Ireland, Dublin, Music Netwo (...)
  • 26 Niall Doyle, “Towards a National Music Policy”, in Music Network, The Boydell Papers…, p. 19-25.
  • 27 Raymond Deane, “In Praise of Begrudgery”, in Music Network, The Boydell Papers…, p. 26-32.
  • 28 Simpson Xavier Horwath, The Irish Music Industry. Turnpike or Boreen on the Sound Superhighways of (...)

151996, the year of the first Irish Presidency of the European Union, was a favourable year for political action in the field. Three reports came out on the situation of classical music, just as the Council of Europe published the first large-scale survey of the situation of music in Europe.21 The PIANO report,22 commissioned by the Department of Arts, expressed the major concern of the music sector concerning the lack of structures for classical music in the Irish school system. One of the main recommendations was to create a national Irish conservatory which would be called the Irish Academy for the Performing Arts (IAPA). Complementing this report was another one called FORTE,23 published the same year and also commissioned by the Department, and which showed the exceptionally high job-creating potential of the music industry.24 The situation of classical music in Ireland was also examined in 1996 in a report called The Boydell Papers published by Music Network.25 Niall Doyle, the head of that new structure, wrote an article in that report entitled “Towards a National Music Policy.”26 Although he praised the new interest of the government towards music, he advocated a global approach which would serve all musical genres and deplored the fact that music did not benefit from the boom of funding for culture in the 1990s. This criticism was also voiced by pianist and composer Raymond Deane.27 The government was more inclined to see music as a cultural industry, as testified by the publication, after the FORTE report, of three other reports on the number of jobs and the benefits of investing in the musical industry.28

  • 29 See Michael Dervan, “Piano Report Hangs in the Balance”, The Irish Times, January 3, 1997.

16Were those reports followed by action? An audit report called Indecon Report assessed the Arts Plan 1994-1999 and concluded, in the field of music, that the sector continued to suffer from a lack of funding, of structures, and consequently of talent which had to be imported. The poor provision of music education remained to be addressed.29

  • 30 See Michael Dervan, “An Irish Academy – Where? When? How?”, The Irish Times, April 14, 1999.
  • 31 Debate of June 3, 1999.

17Under the Fianna Fáil Minister, Fianna Fáil Síle de Valera, work began on the Irish Academy for the Performing Arts project, in accordance with the predisposition of the party for an institutional, emblematic cultural policy. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern pledged his support for the projected institution, which surprised many people.30 He announced that he would develop music education from first to third levels, and would remedy the geographical imbalances of musical infrastructures. Síle de Valera insisted on that point in the Dáil: the aim was to develop the practice of music geographically and socially.31 The aim was to curb the emigration of young musicians abroad. The allocation of IEP 35 million for the project was also great news, as was the reiterated promise by Síle de Valera in the Dáil to consult with the music sector before taking decisions. Also promising was that for the first time, the Department of Education accepted to cooperate with the Department of Arts to set up a working group.

  • 32 At the turn of the 20th century, Annie Patterson, one of the founders of the Feis Ceoil, saw in the (...)
  • 33 See Yvonne Healy, “Will Bertie Face the Music?”, The Irish Times, February 10, 1998; Michael Dervan (...)
  • 34 Arts Council, Arts Council Consultation Process. Meeting on Music Education, Dublin, The Arts Counc (...)
  • 35 Richard Pine, “Music in Ireland 1848-1998: An Overview ”, in Music in Ireland 1848-1998, p. 13.

18The idea for such an academy, which was not new32 nor to be put to the credit of Fianna Fáil, was revived by the author of the PIANO report, pianist and director of the Royal Irish Academy of Music John O’Conor. On behalf of the music sector, he explained to the press that that conservatoire would bridge historical gaps by fostering a more varied musical life which would reunite various musical genres, train conductors for the first time who could perform Irish works abroad, bring a practical dimension to third-level music education, by offering degrees combining courses in classical music, opera, traditional music and dance. John O’Conor even mentioned including jazz and rock music.33 No agreement was reached however on a potential merger of existing degrees to the benefit of the proposed institution. Another source of controversy resided in the fact that the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) which includes an important and active music department was not consulted. Nor was any agreement reached on the site of the institution. Faced with the refusal to transfer the existing resources to a single site, the idea was formed of creating several “centres of excellence”, a model endorsed by Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin who insisted that the new academy should not be the sole preserve of the capital. But the Royal Irish Academy of Music, dissatisfied with that distribution of resources, and with the suppression of one of its degrees, decided to withdraw from the project during the summer of 2000, which placed its director in an uncomfortable position, and changed the deal considerably. In 2003, the government finally dropped the project. A statement during an Arts Council meeting in 2005 on music education aptly summarised the causes of that failure: the absence of a critical mass.34 And one may add the absence of provision for music education further down the line. Without reforming the syllabus or building music schools, the Irish Academy for the Performing Arts might have been, according to Richard Pine, “cream on top of a non-existent cake”.35

  • 36 See Michael Seaver, “Academy Built on Sand”, The Irish Times, July 27, 2000.

19It appears then that political discourse was not followed by action. It was gradually realised that Bertie Ahern’s primary motive in the project was that the prestigious infrastructure would have been located in his constituency.36 Síle de Valera gave non-committal answers in the Dáil. The official silence of several months created utter confusion in the music sector. The project gradually alienated the sector by its lack of transparency. Marginal musical genres in Ireland such as contemporary music, jazz and world music had no guarantee of becoming more accessible, in spite of John O’Conor’s initial projects.

  • 37 See Jim Carroll, “Music Board of Ireland – Now there’s a couple of words I thought I’d never have t (...)

20The following ministers did not take significant measures in favour of music, apart from the articulation of a music policy securing greater representation for traditional music through the creation of a special committee within the Arts Council. On the other hand, the new minister, John O’Donoghue, discontinued the Music Board, a structure which was set up in 2001 to develop pop music together with the music industry, in order to foster investments in the sector.37

  • 38 A member of the Fédération internationale des jeunesses musicales.

21The Department of Arts has failed to take significant action towards music; meanwhile, over the same period, musical activity has developed substantially. Since the creation of the Department of Arts, the Arts Council’s budget has increased considerably, which has enabled it to fund more music projects and to create grants in historically under-represented genres such as jazz. The Arts Council has also increasingly supported the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland, the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras, and Jeunesses Musicales Ireland,38 which ensures the quality of future musical life. Later, the Arts Council articulated a strategy on traditional music in reaction to the debates taking place about the place of traditional culture in Ireland when the Arts Bill 2003 was being discussed in the Dáil and the Senate. The plan it produced, Traditional Arts Initiative 2005-2008, increased support to traditional music through grants and awards. It was renewed in July 2008 for another three-year period. In 2006 and 2007, opera received more support. The considerable development of musical activity indicated by the number of concerts and tours around the country and the invitation of prestigious international musicians is largely to be put to the credit of the Arts Council.

22It seems that the music sector itself, thanks to the resources put at their disposal by the Arts Council, worked much more towards establishing musical life and overcoming the historical polarisation than the government which had indeed articulated a music policy but failed to carry it out.

 

23It is no longer fair to say that some musical genres are not adequately represented in Ireland today. But does that amount to saying that music has now found its place in the Irish mind, to paraphrase Harry White? Although activity has developed, commentators still deplore the lack of a critical culture.

  • 39 John McLachlan, “Classic Ephemera”, The Journal of Music in Ireland, vol. 5, nº 6, November / Decem (...)
  • 40 See Siobhán Long, “Finding the Fire Inside”, The Irish Times, July 11, 2008.
  • 41 John Waters, “A Short Obituary of Irish Pop”, The Journal of Music in Ireland, vol. 5, nº 6, Novemb (...)

24One only has to listen to Lyric FM for a few minutes to notice that music is presented without any critical or contextual approach. Pieces are chosen among the most predictable, the cosiest repertoire, without any other explanation. The author of an article in The Journal of Music in Ireland refers to the “fluffy halo that surrounds classical music” on the waves.39 Traditional music is also seen as suffering from a measure of conservatism. In July 2008, The Irish Times published a series of articles entitled “The Roads of Tradition”. One of those articles, entitled “Finding the Fire Inside”, questions musicians who notice that creativity has disappeared from the interpretation of traditional music, whereas that creativity was very much alive in the 1960s and 1970s with the new orchestral arrangements composed by Seán Ó Riada, the emergence of accompanied singing and the arrival on the stage of electrical instruments which has made the success of bands in the 1980s and 1990s. The failure to sustain that creativity shows that musical sensitivity has been blunted and replaced by virtuosity.40 That conservatism also affects pop music where once more, commentators deplore the lack of reference to a wider context and point to a form of self-referential music far away from the escape and subversion of the past. John Waters talks about well-made songs about nothing.41

25The absence of a critical culture is also what unfortunately fails to fill the seats of concert venues in spite of all the funds pumped by the government and the efforts expended by the Arts Council. Statistics in 2006 about the cultural practices of Irish people are quite discouraging but unfortunately reflect the international failure to democratise culture. In spite of greatly improved geographical and social access to culture in comparison with 1994 when the last such survey was carried out, participation in all musical genres actually declined, the exception being rock concerts.42 The percentage of the population attending a traditional or folk music concert fell from 24% to 19%. As for jazz / blues, the percentage dropped from 11% to 7%. For classical music, attendance went from 9% to 7%, and for opera from 6% to 4%. People moved away from concert venues to the more informal, outdoor rock concert venues. To put those figures in perspective, the SOFRES (Société française d’enquêtes par sondages) in France carried out a survey in 2005 on French people’s relationship with music: 20% had been to a classical music concert in the past year; 11% to a jazz concert, the other figures being similar to those in Ireland. Likewise, in the United States in 2002, 11.6% had been to a classical music concert and 10.8% to a jazz concert.43 Closer to Irish attitudes, in England in 2004, 10% had been to a classical music concert, 6% to a jazz concert and 6% to opera. But attendance in Ireland remains below all those figures.

26If one tries to find the causes behind Irish attitudes towards music, one cannot but subscribe to John Burn’s analysis in one of the essays commissioned by the Arts Council in reaction to those statistics, when he says that governments have too long focused on buildings, infrastructures, funding and administration. That institutional, emblematic policy which can be seen at work in other areas of culture, such as museums or heritage, is Fianna Fáil’s signature.

27Is there anything to be done at this stage? The opinions solicited by the Arts Council are either populist or elitist. The polarisation endures. It would be in the music sector’s interest to be less divided. As an Encyclopedia of Music in Ireland was published in 2009 for the first time with the intention of reflecting the various musical traditions of the country, traditional interests voiced in The Journal of Music in Ireland were gnashing their teeth, denouncing in advance the classical bias of the publication. Education and the media have a very important role to play to relay institutional efforts to broaden Irish musical horizons.

Notes

1 See the Dáil debates (http://www.oireachtas.ie, Arts Bill 2002) from February to May 2003 about the plan to set up an independent Arts Council for the traditional arts which was loudly articulated by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. See Deirdre Falvey, “Change of Direction on Trad Music Committee”, The Irish Times, February 22, 2003; and Mark Brennock, “No Traditional Arts Committee Planned”, The Irish Times, May 22, 2003.

2 See To Talent Alone, Richard Pine, Charles Acton (eds.), Dublin, Gill & Macmillan, 1998.

3 Michael William Balfe, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, Hamilton Harty, or John Field.

4 See Maurice Gorham, Forty Years of Irish Broadcasting, Dublin, Talbot Press, 1967.

5 Documentary called “Down with Jazz”, broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 on December 14, 1987, and re-broadcast on May 7, 2006.

6 Harry White, “The Conceptual Failure of Music Education in Ireland”, The Irish Review, nº 21, 1997, p. 104.

7 Terence Brown, Ireland. A Social and Cultural History. 1922 to the Present, London, Fontana, 1981, p. 132.

8 See Paddy Clarke, Dublin Calling. 2RN and the Birth of the Irish Radio, Dublin, RTÉ, 1986.

9 See Brian P. Kennedy, Dreams and Responsibilities, Dublin, The Arts Council, 1998, p. 46-47.

10 Manuscript “Memorandum for Government”, dated September 28, 1936, quoted by Brian P. Kennedy, Dreams and Responsibilities, p. 41.

11 Formed with Seán McEntee, Minister for Local Government and Public Health, Patrick J. Little, Minister of Posts and Telegraphs, and Seán Moylan, Minister of Lands.

12 See Paddy Clarke, Dublin Calling

13 Denis Donoghue, “The Future of Irish Music”, Studies, nº 44, 1955, p. 133.

14 Indeed, in the Annual Report of the Arts Council for the year 1963-1964, one reads that since 1951, music has received 21.6% of funds, theatre 21.1%, painting 18.1%, industrial design 8.6%, sculpture 3.7%, and architecture 3.4%.

15 See Brian P. Kennedy, Dreams and Responsibilities, p. 122.

16 See Brian P. Kennedy, “The Arts Council”, The Irish Arts Review Yearbook, vol. 6, 1990, p. 118.

17 Donald Herron, Deaf Ears? A Report on the Provision of Music Education in Irish Schools, Dublin, The Arts Council, 1985.

18 Music in Ireland 1848-1998, Richard Pine (ed.), Dublin, Mercier Press, 1998, p. 26.

19 Dáil Éireann, Dáil Debates, vol. 233, March 28, 1968, col. 1446-1447.

20 Established in 1981, Aosdána (“people of the arts”) is a programme which allocates a grant to support two hundred and fifty artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the cultural scene of the country. Art forms include music, literature, the visual arts, architecture, and choreography.

21 David Laing, Music in Europe, Brussels, European Music Office – DGX [now EAC], 1996.

22 The PIANO Report (Report to the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht on the Provision and Institutional Arrangements Now for Orchestras and Ensembles), John O’Conor, John Horgan (eds.), Dublin, Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, 1996.

23 FORTE Task Force, Access All Areas – Irish Music an International Industry: Report to the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, Dublin, Stationery Office, 1997.

24 This report examines ways to give a greater place to classical music in broadcasting; to include music in the Business Incentive Scheme (BES); to develop fiscal advantages; to establish Statcom (a network of companies in partnership with Forbairt, IDA, An Bord Tráchtála – to export Irish productions); to develop technology in the sector; to have music taught in all primary schools; to develop the training music teachers; to set up a Music Board to formulate policies for the music industry.

25 Music Network, The Boydell Papers. Essays on Music and Music Policy in Ireland, Dublin, Music Network, 1997.

26 Niall Doyle, “Towards a National Music Policy”, in Music Network, The Boydell Papers…, p. 19-25.

27 Raymond Deane, “In Praise of Begrudgery”, in Music Network, The Boydell Papers…, p. 26-32.

28 Simpson Xavier Horwath, The Irish Music Industry. Turnpike or Boreen on the Sound Superhighways of the 21st Century?, Dublin, Simpson Xavier Horwath Consulting, 1996. See also Simpson Xavier Horwath, A Strategic Vision for the Irish Music Industry, Dublin, Simpson Xavier Horwath, 1994; and finally Temple Bar Properties, Coopers & Lybrand Corporate Finance, The Employment and Economic Significance of the Cultural Industries in Ireland: Summary Report: [a summary of the principal findings of a report commissioned by Temple Bar Properties with assistance from An Comhairle Ealaíon / The Arts Council, the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, An Bórd Trachtála, Dublin Corporation, FÁS], Dublin, Temple Bar Properties, 1994.

29 See Michael Dervan, “Piano Report Hangs in the Balance”, The Irish Times, January 3, 1997.

30 See Michael Dervan, “An Irish Academy – Where? When? How?”, The Irish Times, April 14, 1999.

31 Debate of June 3, 1999.

32 At the turn of the 20th century, Annie Patterson, one of the founders of the Feis Ceoil, saw in the creation of a national conservatory one of the most important achievements of the 20th century. See Richard Pine, “In Dreams Begins Responsibility”, The Journal of Music in Ireland, vol. 2, nº 3, 2002, p. 5-9.

33 See Yvonne Healy, “Will Bertie Face the Music?”, The Irish Times, February 10, 1998; Michael Dervan, “Building from the Top”, The Irish Times, April 2, 1998; John O’Conor, “Towards a New Academy”, in Music in Ireland 1848-1998, p. 140-149.

34 Arts Council, Arts Council Consultation Process. Meeting on Music Education, Dublin, The Arts Council, 2005.

35 Richard Pine, “Music in Ireland 1848-1998: An Overview ”, in Music in Ireland 1848-1998, p. 13.

36 See Michael Seaver, “Academy Built on Sand”, The Irish Times, July 27, 2000.

37 See Jim Carroll, “Music Board of Ireland – Now there’s a couple of words I thought I’d never have to type again”, The Irish Times, December 14, 2004.

38 A member of the Fédération internationale des jeunesses musicales.

39 John McLachlan, “Classic Ephemera”, The Journal of Music in Ireland, vol. 5, nº 6, November / December 2005, http://journalofmusic.com/article/364.

40 See Siobhán Long, “Finding the Fire Inside”, The Irish Times, July 11, 2008.

41 John Waters, “A Short Obituary of Irish Pop”, The Journal of Music in Ireland, vol. 5, nº 6, November / December 2005, http://journalofmusic.com/focus/short-obituary-irish-pop.

42 Arts Council, The Public and the Arts, Dublin, The Arts Council, 2006.

43 http://www.nea.gov/research/NEASurvey2004.pdf

Auteur

Alexandra Slaby

Alexandra Slaby is an Associate Professor of English at the université de Caen – Basse-Normandie. She researches cultural policy issues in Ireland and cultural discourse in the British Isles. She has published articles on various aspects of Irish cultural life, discourse and policy, and was commissioned to write the chapter on Ireland of a book comparing European cultural policies (La Culture comme politique publique. Essai d’histoire comparée. De 1945 à nos jours, Paris, La Documentation française, 2011). In 2010, she published L’État et la culture en Irlande (Caen, Presses universitaires de Caen) prefaced by Michael D. Higgins. In 2011, she organised an international conference on cultural production and practices in Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland.