Irish Heritage logo
Back to News

Éire Lavery Awarded 2020/21 Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Composition

18th March 2021

Irish Heritage announced today (18th March) that Éire Lavery, who is studying for a degree in Composition at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, is the recipient of the 2020/21 Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Composition.

The Bursary, which is worth £3,000, was open to young, first or second generation Irish composers studying at recognised music conservatoires and colleges in this country and Ireland. An encouraging number of entries was received in this the third year of the award.

The theme for this year’s Bursary composition was “Inspiring the Spirit” – a response to the need to enable the joy of music to lift the gloom that has descended on these islands and the world in general as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Éire (19) is the first second generation Irish person to receive the bursary. His mother and grandmother come from Lurgan in County Armagh. Éire taught himself to play an array of instruments before receiving classical music training in his late teenage years. A combination of four years on the Isle of Mull, being related to a large pool of Irish relatives and a firm root in East Yorkshire, gives Éire a character indifferent to the strictness normally associated with the classical music scene.

Announcing the award of the bursary, Audrey McKenna, Irish Heritage’s Artistic Adviser-Ireland, said, “Never has it been more relevant to support our artists in this difficult time. The Arts in particular have kept us going emotionally over the past 12 months when contact has been so distanced. To have new music to perform and for audiences to look forward to hearing it performed in the not-too-distant future keeps the spirit lifted and hope real. We’re looking forward to hearing Éire’s composition premiered in London in April next year."

The Bursary which is an important part of the performing arts charity’s annual programme of collaborations, concerts and recitals, was made possible through the support of the Ireland Funds Great Britain. It complements the Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Performance that was launched in 2015 and the Brackaville Bursary for Vocal Studies introduced in 2019.
Entries were adjudicated by a panel chaired by Dr Seán Doherty, Assistant Professor of Music at Dublin City University.

Commenting on the entries Dr Doherty said, “I have had the pleasure of adjudicating this competition for the second time this year. Again, the call for this generous bursary attracted a high standard of entries. Each shortlisted entry demonstrated considerable artistic achievement, a mature style, a mastery of instrumental and notational techniques, and ambition in terms of compositional scope. These scores demand a virtuosic level of technical ability and stamina from the performers.

“The high standard of these entries displays the confidence, diversity, and vibrancy of the upcoming generation of Irish composers,” Dr Doherty continued. ”Opportunities such as this bursary play an important role not only for the increased visibility of composition in Ireland and abroad but also in increasing the perception of the viability of a career in composition for young composers, essential if we are to encourage a new generation of creative artists for the future health of our culture.”

Commenting on receiving the Bursary, Éire Lavery said, “I am overjoyed to have been awarded the 2020/21 Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Composition for my piece 'To Persevere', and am very excited to see it premiered in London."

Subject to the current pandemic restrictions being lifted, the winning composition will receive its world premiere at Irish Heritage’s “Showcase Ireland” concert in the Princess Alexandra Hall, St James, London SW1A 1LR in April 2022.

Éire (19) is the first second generation Irish person to receive the bursary.