Seán Ó Riada

Irish composer and arranger Seán Ó Riada was born John Reidy in Cork City on 1 August 1931, and grew up in Adare, County Limerick. After studying at University College Cork, he worked as assistant director at Radio Éireann, later also becoming musical director of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, where he wrote, arranged and directed music for the pit orchestra.

He became known through the music he wrote for the documentary film Mise Éire ('I am Ireland') about the founding of the Irish Republic. This led to presenting the radio series Our Musical Heritage on Irish radio.

He led the Irish traditional band Ceoltóirí Chualann from 1961 until 1969, playing the bodhrán and the harpsichord himself. He also lectured at University College Cork, founded a male voice choir and wrote the first setting of the Mass to use the Irish language.

Seán Ó Riada died from liver cirrhosis, aged only forty, on 3 October 1971 at King's College Hospital in London, where he had been flown for treatment.