'It’s a great honour and a great surprise': Roger Doyle Elected Saoi of Aosdána

Composer Roger Doyle

'It’s a great honour and a great surprise': Roger Doyle Elected Saoi of Aosdána

Composer honoured for ‘singular and sustained distinction in the arts’.

Composer Roger Doyle has been elected a Saoi of Aosdána. The honour is given to just seven members from the 250-member Irish artists’ academy for ‘singular and sustained distinction in the arts’.

Doyle, who will be 70 this year, has been to the fore of Irish composition since the 1970s when he released his groundbreaking electro-acoustic albums Thalia and Oizzo No. These were followed by works such as Fairlight Memories, the film music for BudawannyBabel, Passades (Vols 1 and 2), Time Machine and more. In 2007, he won the Magisterium Award (with The Ninth Set from Passades) at the Bourges International Electro-acoustic Music Competition.

While Doyle’s work has centered around electronic composition, he has also released an album of solo piano work, Baby Grand. His most recent release, issued just this month, is a fourteen-track record titled The Electrification of Night.

Speaking to the Journal of Music about being elected as Saoi, Doyle said:

It’s a great honour and a great surprise. I never thought of myself as Saoi material… I think it is true to say that it is the highest honour an artist can have in this country. For all those years that I’ve been composing… this is an absolute affirmation. It’s a big thrill.

A reception to mark the honour will take place at the Arts Council later this month at which President Michael D. Higgins will present Doyle with the symbol of the office, a gold Torc. There are currently five other Saoithe: Seóirse Bodley, George Morrison, Edna O’Brien, Camille Souter and Imogen Stuart.

In 2017, Doyle premiered his first opera, Heresy. Both a recording of the opera and an album of new work based on it were released last yearA film on his life and work, The Curious Works of Roger Doyle, was screened last year also.

Doyle has been particularly prolific over the past decade, releasing nine albums in ten years, a fact that he puts down to his enjoyment of composing.

I switch on the computer every morning and I’m never quite sure what’s going to happen. It makes me so happy to compose that I do a lot of it, and things just happen around me in the studio. Magic things happen. It’s like being a magician who doesn’t know how the tricks work. That’s what it feels like.

For more on Roger Doyle, visit http://rogerdoyle.com

Published on 10 May 2019

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