The Info List - Bill Whelan

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BILL WHELAN, (born 22 May 1950 in Limerick
, Ireland) is an Irish composer and musician. He is best known for composing a piece for the interval of the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest
. The result, Riverdance , was a seven-minute display of traditional Irish dancing
Irish dancing
that became a full-length stage production and spawned a worldwide craze for Irish dancing and Celtic music
Celtic music
and also won him a Grammy
. It was released as a single in the UK in 1994, credited to " Bill Whelan and Anúna featuring the RTÉ Concert Orchestra ". It reached number 9 and stayed in the charts for 16 weeks. The album of the same title reached number 31 in the album charts in 1995.

Whelan has also composed a symphonic suite version of Riverdance, with its premiere performed by the Ulster Orchestra
Ulster Orchestra
on BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3
in August 2014.


* 1 Biography * 2 Career timeline * 3 Discography * 4 References * 5 External links


Whelan is a native of Limerick, and was educated at Crescent College , University College Dublin
University College Dublin
and the King\'s Inns . While he is best known for his Riverdance composition, Whelan has been involved in many ground-breaking projects in Ireland since the 1970s. As a producer he has worked with U2 (on their War album), Van Morrison , Kate Bush
Kate Bush
, The Dubliners
The Dubliners
, Planxty
, Andy Irvine & Davy Spillane
Davy Spillane
, Patrick Street , Stockton\'s Wing and fellow Limerickman Richard Harris
Richard Harris

As an arranger and composer, his credits include:

* The Seville Suite, which was inspired by the exploits of Aodh Rua Ó Dónaill from The Battle of Kinsale in 1601 until his arrival in Galicia to the welcome of The Spanish Earl of Caraçena. In addition to the orchestra, The Seville Suite includes Celtic Music
Celtic Music
on Uilleann Pipes , accordion , bodhrán , fiddle as well as Galician harp, whistles and pipes. * The Spirit of Mayo, performed by an 85-piece orchestra in Dublin's National Concert Hall and featuring a powerful Celtic drum corps and a 200 strong choir and choral group Anúna. * Whelan's Celtic / Orchestral
release, The Connemara Suite, features the Irish Chamber Orchestra along with soloists Zoë Conway, Morgan Crowley, Colin Dunne (Dance Percussion) and Fionnuala Hunt.

In theatre, Whelan received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for his adaption of Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore
H.M.S. Pinafore
. He wrote original music for 15 of W. B. Yeats 's plays for Dublin
's Abbey Theatre and his film credits include, Dancing at Lughnasa (starring Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
), Some Mother\'s Son , Lamb (starring Liam Neeson ) and the award-winning At The Cinema Palace.


Whelan's lifetime of musical endeavours include:

* 1970 – Composes score for the film Bloomfield. * 1978 – Member of the jazz-rock band Stacc, who release a single on CBS. * 1979 – Joins Planxty
on keyboards. * 1981 – Timedance, composed by Whelan and Dónal Lunny
Dónal Lunny
, and performed by Planxty
, features in the interval of Eurovision. Timedance released as a Planxty
record. * 1983 – Whelan produces "The Refugee" on the U2 album War . * 1984 – Film score for Lamb, with Van Morrison * 1985 – Produces and performs on Stockton\'s