Newpark Music Academy, a cherished institution renowned for nurturing musical talent and fostering a vibrant community, has recently announced its closure. This unexpected decision, made by the board of directors, has left many in shock and sadness.

A Legacy of Excellence

For 45 years, Newpark Music Academy has been a cornerstone of our community, providing high-quality music education to students of all ages. With over 600 students and 42 dedicated staff members, the academy has seen numerous achievements, from student performances in prestigious venues to alumni succeeding in professional music careers. Its contributions to the local cultural landscape are immeasurable, making its closure all the more poignant.

Reasons for Closure

On 22nd May, staff were informed that the academy would close on 1st June, a shocking and sudden announcement for everyone involved. The board of directors cited financial issues as the primary reason for the closure. However, this explanation came as a surprise, as no prior financial difficulties had been communicated.

I am incredibly happy to announce that the Arts Council of Ireland has awarded funding to Jazz Ireland for 2024. After overcoming significant administrative hurdles, the funding has finally arrived, allowing us to resume operations. I will be working part-time on Jazz Ireland for the remainder of the year, ensuring that most of the services we offered before can be maintained.

It's been over a year since my last newsletter or social media post, when I had to announce the closure of Jazz Ireland. It was a difficult decision, but a necessary one at the time. I want to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone who reached out with messages of support and appreciation in the weeks following that announcement. While I couldn't reply to everyone individually during such an overwhelming time, I am deeply grateful for the response and for all the hard work that went into making Jazz Ireland what it became.

Special thanks go to Minding Creative Minds for assisting throughout the last year. 

Jazz Ireland Statement of Closure

Hello everyone, it is with a heavy heart that I must announce the closure of Jazz Ireland.

Jazz Ireland was a project I created with the primary focus of supporting the Irish jazz scene and helping it grow. For seven years, I worked tirelessly on the project without any funding, determined to make a difference. I am proud of what I accomplished, I got to work with some incredible people whom are now lifelong friends and I’m grateful for the opportunities it provided.

But unfortunately, that time has come to an end.

Getting funded was always the goal, but as a disabled person I can’t get funding without severe penalties. When I started this project, I didn’t know how bad the situation was. I have tried for years to change the rules, to make it easier for people like me to access the arts, but to no avail. Despite my efforts to speak with government officials, arts organisations, disability organisations and advocate for change, nothing has been done to rectify this situation. And it looks like nothing will.

Max Zaska selected for WRITE RECORD PERFORM residency with IMC & Triskel

Improvised Music Company (IMC) and Triskel Arts Centre are delighted to announce the winner of their WRITE RECORD PERFORM, a programme which allows a professional musician working in jazz or creative improvised music dedicated time, space and budget to develop a new musical concept in a holistic way.

After an extensive application process, guitarist and composer Max Zaska has been selected as the winner of WRITE RECORD PERFORM in 2023.

With a budget of up to €10,000 for the project, the artist will also have physical space to develop work at Triskel in Cork and at IMC’s new home for jazz The Cooler @ The Complex in Dublin. Mentorship and guidance will also be available for the artist from Triskel and IMC.

Max said; “I’m absolutely delighted to be chosen for the WRITE RECORD PERFORM residency programme. The work that will come out of this programme will not only benefit me, but 4 other songwriters in collaboration. The new music we create, record, and perform will have a long-lasting effect on all of our careers as artists. My deepest thanks to IMC and Triskel Arts Centre for your support. I’m excited to be returning to Cork and am buzzing to perform in Triskel Christchurch.”

Max Zaska is a guitarist, songwriter, musical director, and producer best known for his feel-good blend of modern funk, neo-soul, and indie jazz. With his band, ZASKA, Max brings his original songs to life through collaborations with many of Ireland’s rising stars, beginning with his first vocalist, Hozier. His critically acclaimed debut album, It Takes A Village, features over 25 performers including Wyvern Lingo and Loah.

Grammy Award nominated & ECM artists to headline Bray Jazz Festival 2023

Bray Jazz Festival makes a welcome return to the annual calendar, and has announced yet another great line up of international talent it will bring to Irish shores on the May Bank Holiday weekend.

One of the most exciting young pianists in contemporary American jazz is amongst the international stars who are on their way to headline this year’s Bray Jazz Festival. Six-times Grammy Award nominated, Gerald Clayton was signed to the prestigious Blue Note jazz label in 2022.

The 38 year old pianist has been a fixture in the band of legendary saxophonist Charles Lloyd for the past decade, and has toured and recorded with such notable jazz stars as Roy Hargrove, Terri Lynne Carrington, Diana Krall and Dianne Reeves.

Returning on the May Bank Holiday weekend (April 28th-30th next) for its 22nd year, Bray Jazz Festival will also feature German instrumentalist of the year and ECM recording artist Julia Hulsmann’s Quartet, and will welcome back the one-time Esbjorn Svensson Trio drummer Magnus Ostrom, as part of bassist Lars Daniellson’s Liberetto Quartet, also featuring guitarist John Paricelli and pianist Gregory Privat.

This year’s festival will present double-bill performances at Mermaid Arts Centre each night, and will stage double-day daytime shows at the County Wicklow Arts Centre venue on the Saturday and Sunday afternoons of the May Bank Holiday weekend.

Elsewhere there will be early evening matinees at Bray Town Hall each night, with Swiss drummer Florian Arbenz Elemental Quartet – featuring award-winning Dutch saxophonist Tineka Postma and two times World Accordion Prizewinner Joao Barradas – London bassist Ruth Goller’s Skylla, which features Dublin born singer Lauren Kinsella - and two-times British jazz singer of the year Ian Shaw, amongst those appearing.

This year’s festival will be the 22nd iteration of Bray Jazz Festival, and follows the festivals return after a two years Covid absence, in 2022. Bray Jazz has established a reputation for showcasing some of the best known names in contemporary jazz, and in recent years has featured such American greats as John Scofield, Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano and Bill Frisell, while amongst the giants of European jazz to appear have been pianists Bobo Stenson and Tord Gustavsen. The festival has also established a name for showcasing young stars on the rise, and has brought performers such as Marius Neset, Ambrose Akinmusere and Yazz Ahmed to Irish audiences.

This year’s Bray Jazz Festival will platform an array of great Irish performers too – with Irish projects including new music by Ronan Guilfoyle – 96 Miles – a tribute to Miles Davis, Sean Carpio’s Bog Bodies, saxophonist Michael Buckley’s new quartet ‘Ebb and Flow’, bassist Cormac O’Brien’s Art Blakey tribute, HIP – The Art Blakey Charts and Matthew Jacobson’s Insufficient Funs, amongst those appearing as part of Mermaid Arts Centre double bill presentations.

Elsewhere there will be live music throughout the bank holiday weekend at Bray’s popular Harbour Bar, and jazz trail gigs taking place at bar and hotel venues across the north Wicklow town.

Full details about this year's festival are posted at:, where tickets are now on sale.

Louis Stewart – Out On His Own

The recently reactivated Livia Records announces the release of a newly re-mastered edition of Louis Stewart’s milestone and career best solo album, “Out On His Own” on 24th February 2023.

Recorded in late 1976 and released in 1977 (LP and cassette) and CD in 1995, this new edition includes 3 previously unreleased tracks, a 16-page booklet with extensive sleeve notes and several previously unseen photographs.

About “Out On His Own”

“Out On His Own” is a fitting title for Louis Stewart as he is perhaps the only Irish jazz musician to attain international front-rank status. This solo record features a mix of lead only and rhythm with lead tracks with a repertoire of Jazz and American Songbook standards, contemporary composers (Chick Corea, Steve Swallow etc.) plus an interpretation of an Irish traditional tune and a self-composed blues.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Musician-in-Residence Scheme - Applications now open

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Arts Office and Music Network invite applications for the 2023 dlr Musicians-in-Residence Scheme. 

Now in its 9th year, the scheme provides musicians with space and time to create new work, develop their skills, collaborate with other artists and showcase their music. 

Successful artists will receive funding up to a maximum award of €5000, a space to work in and advice and mentoring to support their career development. Audiences will also have an opportunity to engage with the resident musicians at a series of public performances in Dún Laoghaire. 

Three residencies are available to musicians working in any genre of music, from rock to pop, classical to trad and everything in between.  Applicants must be able to demonstrate a strong connection to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, or propose a project that links with the area, for example taking inspiration from the location or by engaging with local communities or musicians.