The Forberg-Schneider-Stiftung has awarded the Belmont Prize for Contemporary Music, with its €20,000 endowment, to the programme planner and concert organiser Eamonn Quinn of Dundalk.
It is the first award for this self-taught maverick in the European festival landscape. The award ceremony took place yesterday, on 22 June 2018, during the ’Book of Hours‘ Festival, held in Dundalk on 22 and 23 June.
Statement from the Board of Trustees:
"’All you need is a room and some cash’: Eamonn Quinn‘s physical space is a tiny biotope in Ireland, a rural town near the border to Brexit-plagued Northern Ireland. But the intellectual space of this man of convictions are the open skies and infinite new horizons marked out by his all-encompassing knowledge of contemporary music, his unerring perspicacity, his touching sensitivity toward things never heard before, his instinct for correlations in the repertoire and the peculiarities of the composers and performers he invites – at great financial risk.
"More than ten years ago Eamonn Quinn, together with his wife Gemma Murray, founded the Louth Contemporary Music Society (LCMS) as a laboratory for the self-evidence of art, which must be fought for and reasserted over and over again.
"Eamonn Quinn himself is the ’hero behind the scenes’. Sometimes those scenes can be an ancient prison, sometimes a sanctuary or a cathedral. With unerring perspicacity and stubbornness, and with an inimitable touch, this free-thinking champion of the LCMS has mounted an annual festival of no more than four or five concerts, commissioning new works of music and immortalising them on the like-named CD label.
’I know I pick the music, but sometimes the music picks me.’
"This year we, the Board of Trustees of the Forberg-Schneider-Stiftung, have picked Eamonn Quinn, the poet of the world of music, to be our laureate. Today, in recognition of his pioneering achievements as an explorer and communicator, we award him the Belmont Prize 2018 for Contemporary Music."