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The Arts Council and National Concert Hall present Musician Barry Kerr with Liam O’Flynn Award


Media Release 26th March 2020 

The Arts Council and the National Concert Hall are delighted to announce that the recipient of the Liam  O’Flynn  Award  for 2020  is  multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer  and visual artist Barry Kerr. 

Barry is the second recipient of the award, following on from inaugural winner, musician and composer Una Monaghan. 

Barry has been a professional musician and visual artist over a career spanning twenty years. He is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist playing the uilleann pipes, flute, guitar and bouzouki and is also a singer-songwriter. 

Barry has toured extensively with various ensembles, highlights include a symphony orchestra tour of the USA under conductor David Brophy and the Cara Dillon Band tour of China. He also collaborated with famed guitarist Steve Cooney as part of the NCH and Arts Council  Tradition Now Series 2019.

Barry’s own compositions, songs and tunes, have been recorded by many high-profile musicians and singers, including Beoga, Aoife Scott, Karan Casey, Brian Finnegan and Kate Rusby. He is in demand internationally as a musician and contributes regularly to TV and radio. Most recently Barry was featured  on BBC  Álba  Port, collaborating with singers Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and Julie Fowlis  and also  with Scottish, Asturian and  Gallician  musicians.

Accepting the award, Barry Kerr  said:  “I am  delighted  and honoured to receive this award.  As  an  uilleann  piper and flute player, Liam  O’Flynn  has had a huge influence on my musical development since I started playing traditional music at the age of 12. Not only am I interested in  O’Flynn’s  musical output, his outlook on life has always intrigued me, as have his collaborations with the likes of Seamus Heaney.  This opportunity  will enable me to  interrogate my music and work on a new body of work. I look forward to working with the National Concert Hall, being  within its hallowed space  and collaborating  with other artists, creating new music.”

Martin O’Sullivan, Acting Director of The Arts Council said: “The Arts Council is delighted to continue to honour the music and legacy of Liam O’ Flynn – a pioneer of traditional music who influenced a generation of musicians. Liam O’Flynn brought Irish traditional music in an exciting new direction and to new audiences world-wide. Barry Kerr, himself a multi-instrumentalist and an accomplished singer and visual artist, is also exploring the reaches of his artistry and he is undoubtedly a worthy recipient of the Liam O’Flynn Award.”

Simon Taylor, CEO of the National Concert Hall added: “Liam’s position in Irish music was very special in that he was both the custodian of a great tradition and an imaginative innovator. We are delighted to present this award to such an accomplished musician as Barry Kerr, a most deserving candidate who will no doubt continue the legacy of innovation while staying true to traditional roots as Liam himself did.”

In memory of Liam O’Flynn, the Liam O’Flynn Award celebrates the role of the individual creative traditional artist in the creation of new works, the inception of unique artistic collaborations and innovations, and in the transmission of traditional arts for future generations to enjoy and practice.  

The purpose of the Liam O’Flynn Award is to provide a traditional artist with a period of artistic reflection, inspiration and creation in residence at the National Concert Hall and to enhance appreciation, knowledge and enjoyment of the traditional arts.

For the Liam O’Flynn Award recipient, it will provide career-changing artistic opportunities, including the chance to work with a wide range of artistic collaborators in a supportive and professional environment where they will be positioned alongside high-performing artists from other genres and where there is high expectation of creative outputs.

Hear Barry's message and see a short performance from him here

Media Queries: Contact the  PR & Marketing team: Sinead Doyle, Marketing & PR Manager or Roisin Dwyer, PR & Publications Executive, National Concert Hall, Dublin.