RIley School

Biography
Riley School of Irish Music was founded in 1996 by Susan Gross Gilligan. The Riley
School is a community of children, teens and adults dedicated to the pursuit of Irish
traditional music. Their board of trustees seeks to extend and enhance their
community through workshops, ceili dances and other performance opportunities for
their students that awareness of their school and what they offer. Riley School is
supported by the Ohio and Kentucky Arts Council.

Ohio Heritage Fellowship Information
Riley School of Irish Music received a 2017 Ohio Heritage Fellowship for Community
Leadership. The Irish tradition is a living one; and through mentored instruction,
intertwined community, and nurturing enrichment experiences, Riley’s has preserved
and fostered traditional Irish music in Greater Cincinnati since 1996. Beginning with
just five students, three teachers, and one person’s passion, Riley’s now offers
instruction on fourteen traditional Irish instruments with twenty teachers and onehundred
students. Accomplished and distinctive flute player John Skelton (The House
Band) and harpist Marta Cook, featured on a Grammy-winning release with cellist Yo
Yo Ma, are noteworthy instructors at Riley’s. Aural/oral methods of sharing the music,
stories, and culture of Ireland are passed forward by these tradition bearers. Students
leave their lessons with both the music and historic insight into the tune-where it
originated, why it was written, and how it is best (and properly) presented.
These artistic masters make themselves available beyond the classroom, providing
practical and technical support to the Riley Ceili Band and competitive ensembles, as
well as offering private instruction through often unconventional means like Skype.
Riley’s proactively cultivates future instructors to sustain traditional Irish music in the
region and beyond. Most current instructors were once Riley students.

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