Full house for ITMA launch at Irish Arts Centre New York

The Irish Traditional Music Archive staged its first ever event in the US when legendary flute player Matt Molloy launched From the Bridge, a digital exhibition of Irish music in New York to a full house at the Irish Arts Centre on Tuesday Nov 15.

FTB Launch Finale

Following an opening address by Vice-Consul General of Ireland, New York, Dermot Fitzpatrick, ITMA Director and fiddle player Liam O'Connor performed a selection of music associated with the great musicians in New York before informing the invited guests about the Archive's ambition in the city.

Liam outlined the three strands of ITMA's plans in New York over the next two years including: an expansion of the digital exhibition to capture every relevant element associated with Irish traditional music, song and dance in the city; the production of a documentary film about the unique history of Irish music in New York and how it defined music in Ireland, and the staging of major twinned concerts of traditional music in one of the city's iconic concert venues, featuring artists who have engaged with the ITMA collections.

Speaking after the event Liam O’Connor remarked: “It was a great honour for the Irish Traditional Music Archive to have one of our foremost artists, Matt Molloy, launching this great departure for the organisation. We have a very ambitious project planned for New York, culminating in the staging of a significant concert of traditional music in the city.

“We believe that it is important for ITMA to strengthen its ties with New York and the other great centres of Irish music in the States – with musicians, with the Irish music community and indeed those who wish to support our endeavours and join our ambitious programme for the Archive.

“We are very grateful to the people who have helped initiate this journey for us, particularly Don Meade, the team at the Irish Arts Centre, Ronan Galvin, Alan Morrisroe and of course the late Mick Moloney.”

During the event Liam also outlined the importance of generating support for ITMA's core work to develop the Archive and to enhance the capacity of the organisation as the principal source for the Irish community worldwide.

Curator of From the Bridge Don Meade spoke about the project, highlighting the great work of Ronan Galvin and Alan Morrisroe, before playing an air in memory of his great friend, the late Mick Moloney who was one of the inspirations for From the Bridge. ITMA Board member and dancer Edwina Guckian read a poem by Vicent Woods in honour of Mick.

Don then introduced local NY musicians representing the different generations in the city: Dawn Doherty; Lauren Tuffy; John Nolan; Frank McCormick; Padraig Allen, and James Keane.

Guest of honour Matt Molloy gave a stellar performance to mark the occasion before being joined for a finale by Liam O'Connor, ITMA's Seán Potts on pipes, Kerry box player Martin O'Connell and dancer Edwina Guckian.

Seán Potts also thanked Director Aidan Connolly and the team at the Irish Arts Centre, the Arts Council, the Irish Consulate in NY and the Irish Government's Emigrant Support Scheme and ITMA donors for supporting the event.

The invited audience included representatives from the arts, business, professional, academic and Irish music communities in the city.

If you are interested in supporting ITMA's work, please contact Seán Potts on [email protected]

Event images: Anthony Mulcahy @mulographynyc

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