Music for Galway
IDENTITY STATEMENT
Reference code: P91
Title: Music for Galway
Date(s): 1981 - 2011
Extent: 18 boxes and 94 posters
Location:
CONTEXT
Biographical History

Music for Galway was formed in 1981 with the goal of bringing local, national and international renowned classical music to the people of Galway. A note from a concert programme by Cello Octet Conjunto Iberica in November 2005 recounts: "Music For Galway was born on a January night in 1981, when ten people came together in Erika Casey's house: Jane O'Leary, Tony Broderick, Deirdre Comerford, Brendàn O'Madigàin, Jim Higgins, Joyce Killeen, Joe O'Halloran and Gerry Lee, Erika Casey and myself (Angela O'Keefe). Only a few were professional musicians, but all were passionate about music and shared a determination to bring artists of the highest standing to a wider Galway Audience than had existed previously. The small but devoted following for concerts run by the Galway Literary Society in the sixties and the Galway Music Association in the seventies was our starting point. We had no financial resources but went ahead anyway and soon the Arts Council and others put their trust in the fledgling organisation and Music for Galway was underway." – Angela O'Keefe, Chair, Music for Galway 1981 – 1985. The first press release issued by Music for Galway in 1981 outlines the very positive reaction to the group at the time of their foundation: &"A number of people committed to the promotion of music in the Galway area have been meeting for some time, and a committee has now been formed. . . Music in Galway has reached a crisis situation – we must respond. For example, a suitable piano for public concerts does not now exist. The new committee hopes that they will have a broad base of support for their activities and that members of the public will become actively involved in contributing ideas.&" In this newsletter the first officers of Music For Galway were named as: Chairman: Mrs. Angela O'Keefe, Secretary: Mrs. Erika Casey, Treasurer: Mr. Tony Broderick and P.R.O: Dr. Jane O'Leary. The next press release issued by Music for Galway later in 1981 shows just how much their impact as an emerging group was having among the people of Galway and the West of Ireland: "Close to 200 people turned out for a public meeting introducing 'Music For Galway' recently. At the meeting a committee of ten was announced to spearhead the promotion of music throughout the Galway area. Mrs. Angela O'Keefe, Chairman, outlined the aims of the new committee – to bring more music to more people; to promote concerts, lectures, workshops etc., to press for the development of musical education in the area and to acquire for the town a new piano which would be suitable for public concerts." The first performance organised and staged by Music for Galway was from the Ulster Orchestra. A press release following the concert outlined "A full house in Seapoint turned out to hear the orchestra and to give them such a warm reception that the musicians promised to return to Galway. . . The Mayor of Galway, Clr. Claude Toft, was in attendance and also welcomed the orchestra at a reception prior to the concert at Àras Fàilte." To continue expanding their influence as a group, Music for Galway sought to fund raise and acquire a grand piano for the city of Galway. A report from Tuesday 24 Nov 1981 details their success to this end: &"Less than six months ago a fund raising campaign towards the cost of a concert grand piano was installed in the recital hall (Aula Maxima) of University College Galway. The piano is of polished ebony and has travelled from the Steinway factory in Hamburg via London to Galway. . . The first artist on Galway's new piano will be John O'Conor, internationally famous musician from Dublin. . . This recital has been completely sold out well in advance. Further reports of this achievement are present in the archive from c. early 1982: &"The committee of Music For Galway announce this week, one year to the day after their first public meeting, that fund raising for Galway's new piano is now complete. Galway can be proud of this achievement. . . Located in the Aula Maxima, University College Galway, this instrument was inaugurated by John O'Conor on December 1st 1981 and has featured prominently in Music for Galway's recital series.&" The correspondence and administrative records also highlight the efforts made by Music for Galway to establish a full-time and permanent national college for music in Galway during the early-mid 1980s. P91/588, P91/591. The 10th anniversary of Music for Galway was celebrated with a concert during the 1990/1991 season, 13 Oct 1990. The celebrated pianist, Stephen Bishop-Kovacevich, performed with the Irish Chamber Orchestra. The concert was styled as 'An evening of Mozart' and was staged at Leisureland, Salthill, Galway. A fire occurred at the Aula Maxima, University College Galway in March 1989, forcing the cancellation of concerts during the 1988/1989 season and resulting in damage to the Steinway Grand Piano. A Music for Galway Chairman's report dated 11 April 1980 (P91/14) details the following: &"Sadly, our programme was interrupted in March by the occurrence of a fire in the Aula Maxima and a number of events had to be cancelled.&" Concerts resume at the Aula Maxima, University College Galway, November 1988, with a concert by Maire Ni Chathasaigh and Chris Newman. A replacement Steinway grand piano was acquired and the first recital on this new piano was by David Wehr in November of 1988. (P91/618) A further highlight came in November 1988 when Yehudi Menuhin, the world-renowned violinist and conductor. He performed with cellist Daire FitzGerald on the night. Publicity issued by Music for Galway outlines the many reasons why Menuhin is so highly revered. "Yehudi Menuhin is of course most famous as a violinist but the list of his other achievements is also staggering. He is particularly dedicated to young people and to the cause of world peace …Menuhin's role as a conductor has been increasingly important in recent years. He is President and Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Warsaw Sinfonia and European Community Youth Orchestra." (P91/185) Throughout the 1990s, Music for Galway further deepened their connection with the schools of Galway by organising a number of specially commissioned concerts by their concert musicians and groups for an audience of local school children. Over the past thirty years, Music for Galway have established their place as a leading cultural group in Galway and Ireland and have hosted renowned Irish and international acts such as the Hallè Orchestra, RTÈ Philharmonic Orchestra, Robert Taub, Philip Cassard, RTÈ Vanbrugh String Quartet, Sharon Shannon, RTÈ Concert Orchestra, John O'Conor, the Feis Ceoil finalists and winners, Regina Nathan, Patricia Bardon and Contempo Quartet just to name few.

Immediate Source of Acquisition or Transfer

The collection was acquired by the James Hardiman Library directly from Music for Galway in 2007.

CONTENT AND STRUCTURE
Scope and Content

The Music for Galway Archive includes a detailed record of concerts and events produced since the establishment of the group in early 1981. The archive includes records such as programmes, posters, invitations and other production records associated with each individual event. A unique addition is the administrative records of Music for Galway which details minutes of meetings, discussions and decision making of Board members of Music for Galway, financial information and correspondence between Music for Galway Management, Board, other administrative and cultural bodies as well as musicians and performers. These series chart the physical and cultural growth of Music for Galway and is a record of the group, its members, management and musicians. The series of press files details a record of critical reception of their concerts and events, comment and reviews on musicians, interviews with Music for Galway management and members and also provides a photographic record of people, places and events, through the press images, that were organised, featured and were attributed to Music for Galway. The newsletters of Music for Galway, including the founding and first newsletter issued by Music for Galway in 1981, provides an insight into the connection and marketing between Music for Galway, their members and the public. A series of photographs include printed colour and black and white pictorial history of Music for Galway. These include photographs taken by Music for Galway management and members and also by professional photographers and feature headshots and promotional images of musicians, images from concerts staged by Music for Galway as well as from other events that were featured as part of Music for Galway's history. The archive also includes a copy of the booklet produced to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the foundation of Music for Galway, held in 2010. This includes interviews and comment from the founding members of Music for Galway as well as from then current members. The archive is an extensively comprehensive and detailed account and record of the actions and history of Music for Galway.

System of arrangement

The Music for Galway Archive is arranged into various series of records. Original order and arrangement of the records as they were received from the depositor was respected as much as possible and where it was suitable to do so. The main series of records refer to concerts and events staged and produced by Music for Galway. This series provides a detailed record of the activities of Music for Galway and the concerts they brought to the west of Ireland. This series is further broken down into various sub-series. Each concert season is represented by a sub-series and records of each concert held within individual years are listed chronologically and described to item level. Within the series 'Administration', records of the management and running of Music for Galway are present. Sub-series are present and relate to the Articles of Association of Music for Galway and Minutes of Meetings of the Board of Directors of Music for Galway. Other series include Finance, Membership, Correspondence, Press Cuttings, Newsletters, Photographs, Music for Galway 30th anniversary, Music for Galway Logo, Season Programmes, Miscellaneous Magazines and Programmes, Galway Music Guide and Posters.

CONDITIONS OF ACCESS AND USE AREA
Conditions governing access

This collection is available to all bona fide researchers, and subject to the conditions of access governing consultation of archival material at the James Hardiman Library. For a full statement of these conditions see: http://www.library.nuigalway.ie/collections/archives/conditionsofaccess/ Any application for access must be made through the archivist. All reproductions are subject to conditions of access. The Music for Galway Archive is in good physical condition throughout.

Finding aids
Descriptive list
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