Dr. Martin Tourish

Máirtín Tourish is an accordionist, composer, producer and musicologist from Co. Donegal and now based in Dublin, Ireland. His ancestors were collectors of dance music whose manuscripts date from 1896 and his cousin Ciaran Tourish is renowned for his playing with the band Altan.

Martin’s debut album Clan Ranald with bouzouki player Luke Ward was released in 2005 and listed by music critic Earle Hitchner of the Irish Echo and Wall Street Journal, as being in the top 20 albums of 2005. From the success of the Clan Ranald album, Martin is listed in The Rough Guide to Ireland as a piano accordionist of note while a track from the album appears in The Rough Guide to Irish Folk Vol. 2. In 2008, he became the first piano accordionist to win TG4′s prestigious ‘Young Musician of the Year’ award which a subsequent article in The Irish Times regarded as “the Irish Music equivalent of an Oscar”.

In the same year, he graduated from The Conservatory of Music and Drama achieving first class honors in classical performance and winning the Anne Leahy Medal for the highest academic mark for his dissertation “The James Tourish Collection: Its Stylistic Significance within Its Cultural Context” and later awarded in a nationwide musicology competition by the Council of the Heads of Music in Higher Education (CHMHE). Within a month after completing his degree, he won the prestigious ABBEST scholarship from the Dublin Institute of Technology to complete a PhD entitled, “The development of complex stylistic identities by way of the musical catalyst theory as a basis for third level education in traditional music and creativity”.

In 2008, Martin was commissioned by TG4 to compose, produce and perform the music for their brand television advertisement ‘The More You Look, The More You See’ which won many national and international awards and earned the piece of music national recognition. In 2010 he composed the theme tune to a national marathon festival Rith2010 to promote the Irish language and in 2011 composed the trad style variation on a theme for the nationwide Love Live Music festival.

A song he composed entitled ‘An Gealóg’ appears on Altan’s latest album The Poison Glen whilst a virtuosic piece entitled ‘The Seventh Degree’ is being performed by Triona Marshal on harp during The  Chieftain’s 50th anniversary tour. Outside of traditional music, Martin has written a choral anthem and contributed dance music for the show Cuisle Croke Park at Ireland’s largest stadium, whilst the famed eastern European band Koshka are featuring the piece ‘One Train Away’ on their forthcoming album.

Martin has been involved with many types of music, including Balkan, Klezmer, Rock, the music of Astor Piazzolla, and has shared the stage with acts as diverse as Altan, Eddi Reader, The Cafe Orchestra and Patti Smith. In June 2010, Martin made his orchestral debut performing in the National Concert Hall with the RTE Concert Orchestra and Sir Willard White. Later in that month, he recorded with the National Symphony Orchestra for the Naxos label playing the compositions of the American film composer William Perry. Also in 2010, he collaborated with the Croatian film maker / producer Vedran Zagorac to make his first short film entitled ‘Imagined Communities’. The film was premiered at the experimental festival DL5-8 to great success.In October 2010 as well as appearing with his band on BBC’s Blas Ceoil, Martin presented a show from the long running traditional music television series ‘Geantraí’ from his home county Donegal.

Institution Affiliation
Date Commenced
Autumn 2008

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