Mel Mercier Appointed Chair of Performing Arts at Irish World Academy

Mel Mercier

Mel Mercier Appointed Chair of Performing Arts at Irish World Academy

Musician, composer and academic joins UL from UCC, where he was Head of School of Music and Theatre.

The University of Limerick has announced the appointment of Professor Mel Mercier as Chair of Performing Arts at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.

Mercier, originally from Dublin, completed a BMus at University College Cork in 1989, and a Master of Fine Arts in World Music at the California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles, in 1991. He was awarded a PhD from the University of Limerick in 2011. 

From 1992 to 2016, he was a member of the Music Department at UCC. He was appointed as the first Head of School of Music and Theatre there in 2009 and promoted to Professor in 2015.

Commenting on his appointment, Mercier said:

I am inspired by the Academy’s commitment to artistic practice and its progressive approach to education in the performing arts, and I am very much looking forward to working with its students and staff as it develops its artistic and educational vision into the future.

A renowned performer on bodhrán and other percussion instruments, Mercier has performed, recorded and collaborated with Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and many other musicians. Throughout the 1980s he performed in Europe and the USA with John Cage and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. He is also director of the Cork Gamelan Ensemble, which released its debut album The Three Forges in 2015.

In 2012, Mercier was nominated for a Tony Award  for his score for the Broadway production of Colm Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary. He is currently working on several projects, including co-devising a new play with writer Pat McCabe and director Pat Kiernan for the 1916 Centenary.

Dr Sandra Joyce, Director of the Irish World Academy, said:

Mel’s formidable reputation as a performer, composer and academic resonates deeply with the ethos and vision of the Academy and he will undoubtedly bring great energy to the role. We are looking forward to the development of new pathways and collaborations according to his many and diverse interests.

Published on 24 February 2016

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