for mixed choir (SAATB) & piano
The inspiration for the original 7-minute production of Riverdance
for the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest was the life of a river. Cloudsong
begins the piece, the lyric telling the story of the origins of the river and its journey towards the sea, nourishing the land as it flows through it.
Other choral pieces from Riverdance
include Home and the Heartland
and The Heart's Cry
Bill Whelan has worked extensively in theatre and film. He was appointed composer to the WB Yeats International Theatre Festival at Ireland’s National Abbey Theatre in 1989, writing original music for 15 Yeats plays. His adaptation of HMS Pinafore received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination. His compositional work in film includes original scores for Dancing At Lughnasa
starring Meryl Streep, Some Mother’s Son
starring Helen Mirren and Lamb starring Liam Neeson. Music for television includes The Seven Ages
– Sean Ó Mordha’s history of the Irish State.
The Seville Suite
was his first large scale orchestral work, commissioned for Ireland’s National Day at Expo ‘92 in Seville. The Spirit Of Mayo followed in 1993. The Connemara Suite
, a trilogy of pieces written for chamber orchestra, premiered in Carnegie Hall in March 2005. The world premiere of the Riverdance Symphonic Suite
, performed by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, took place at the National Concert Hall in Dublin in May 2012.
His many production and arranging credits include U2, Van Morrison, Kate Bush, Richard Harris and Planxty. He has written and recorded a new composition with the classical violinist Vanessa-Mae. He has just completed a project with Berklee College of Music in Boston which is being developed into an album.
Bill was honoured with the 1997 Grammy Award for ‘Best Musical Show Album’ for his Riverdance
CD. The album is a certified Platinum record in the US, Ireland and Australia. Riverdance The Show
has been seen live by more than 22 million people and by a television audience of nearly 2 billion.
Bill holds two honorary Doctorates and was awarded a fellowship by the Royal Irish Academy of Music. He is a member of the Boards of Berklee College of Music, The University of Limerick and Ireland’s National Music Education Programme – Music Generation, and is adjunct Professor at Trinity College Dublin’s School of Drama, Film and Music.