The composer and former head of Music at the Waterford Institute of Technology, Dr. Eric Sweeney, has passed away he was 72.
A member of Aosdána he also served on the Arts Council between 1989 and 1993 and was the director of the RTÉ Singers from 1978 to 1981.
Born in Dublin and educated at TCD and Rome’s Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia, his music has been performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Choir Ireland, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Prague Chamber Orchestra, European Union Chamber Orchestra, National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and the Ulster Orchestra.
Amongst his many works highlights include three operas; The Invader – 2015, The Green One – 2016 and Ulysses – 2017, two symphonies, five concertos and many choral works, including the cantata Deirdre, commissioned by RTÉ.
A key contributor to the Imagine Arts Festival, he developed and improvised live scores for the silent classics Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. Along with colleagues from the WIT department of music he originated Waterford New Music Week and welcomed musical visionaries such as Louis Andriessen and Michael Nyman to Waterford. Until quite recently Dr. Sweeney was organist and choirmaster at Christ Church Cathedral in Waterford. More recently he was on the board of advisors for Music Generation Waterford and helped drive the bid that saw the franchise awarded to both Waterford and Wexford.
Dr. Sweeney is survived by his wife Sally, his children Catherine, Rachel and Manus, and grandchildren Rhian, Eoin and Lanna.
(Additional notes taken from The Journal of Irish Music: https://journalofmusic.com/news/rip-composer-eric-sweeney and the Irish Times: https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/tributes-paid-after-the-death-of-composer-eric-sweeney-1.4311026 )