Arts Council launches first Northern Irish Music Archive and Website
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today (Thursday March 30 th) launched the first Northern Ireland Music Archive, a digital database of 20 th and 21 st century Northern Irish contemporary music at Belfast Central Library. A website was also launched promoting the works of current Northern Irish composers, with the help of live music from local musicians and performers.
The computerized music archive is permanently available to the public and preserves for the future, approximately 400 irreplaceable classical music recordings from the BBC Northern Ireland archives. It includes a mix of live recordings, interviews, programme notes and back catalogues and with a powerful search engine, it is a multimedia treasure trove for music fans, schools, universities and music industry specialists. The Arts Council worked with BBC NI, the Belfast Central Library and the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queens to pull the archive and website projects together.
Speaking at the launch, Arts Council Chairman, Rosemary Kelly , said that the quality of musical talent to have emerged from Northern Ireland deserved greater public awareness. She said,
“Bringing these vintage BBC recordings and scores from two centuries of Northern Irish music to the light of day, we begin to appreciate the extraordinary creativity, musicianship and contribution made by Northern Irish composers and musicians to the world of classical music. This first comprehensive archive of Northern Irish music will be a valuable educational resource for schools, students, researchers and music lovers in general, and an inspiration to future musicians.”
A second Arts Council music initiative, the Website of Northern Irish Composers, was also launched today. The website, www.northernirelandcomposers.com , helps practicing Northern Irish composers to promote their compositions to prospective promoters, music commissioners and performers both nationally and internationally.
Today’s launch represents completion of stage one of the archive project. Arts Council Music Officer Robert Collins said,
“Having dusted off and catalogued decades of local classical music recordings, it’s our intention that the music archive will expand over the coming years to include music from all genres practiced in Northern Ireland, including rock and pop”.