Here is the full essay on Sean O Riada ( Found it on Leaving cert Weebly )
Seán O'Riada ( John Reidy is his Birth Name )
John Reidy was born in Cork City in 1931, where he graduated as A bachelor of music from UCC in 1951. Appointed Assistant Director of Music on Radio Eireann in 1952, he stayed there until 1955 Reidy moved to Italy and France where he adopted a wild bohemian lifestyle and composed several Avant Garde compositions for orchestra called Nomos. Just as he was on the verge of becoming Ireland's first Avant Garde composer, he decided to return to Ireland, gradually reject modern "Classical" music, as he started to devote his time to the study of all things Irish. At about this time he changed his name from John Reidy to Seán Ó Riada,
He took over as the musical director in the famed Abbey Theatre in 1957 where he remained until 1962. In 1950s Ireland traditional music was still held in low regard by some elements of Irish society. O'Riada's first attempt to combine Irish song with the classical tradition was in 1959, composed the score for the documentary Mise Éire and Saoirse? in 1960 and, most famously, the score for the film version of The Playboy of the Western World in 1963. This last piece made him a household name in his homeland. He also composed Mna na h'Eireann ("The Women of Ireland") which forever proved the musical eloquence of his writing. In this period, he sought to create a sort of Irish flavoured Classical music, i.e. Irish folk tunes arranged for orchestra, as Vaughan Williams had done in England and other nationalist composers has done in Europe towards the end of the previous century. He studied and collected old Irish music and produced a series for RTE called Our Musical Heritage
Sean O'Riada was the founder of the modern school (which is to say, the authentic ancient-style of playing) Irish folk music. Between 1961 and 1969 Ó Riada was leader of a "Celtic chamber orchestra" called Ceoltóirí Chualann. It included O'Riada, Martin Fay (fiddle), Paddy Moloney (pipes) Sean Keane (fiddle) Michael Tubridy (flute) Seán Ó Shea (singer)and Sean Potts (whistle).
Although they played in concert halls dressed in a black suits with white shirts and black bow ties, they played traditional songs and tunes which were arranged in a more interesting way than was usual in Irish music until then. Ó Riada sat in the middle at front playing bodhrán, an instrument that had almost died out, being played only by small boys in street parades. . He also wanted to use the wire-strung Harp for authenticity, but as these were as yet unavailable, he played the Harpsichord instead. Arrangements of tunes like Brian Boru's March and much of the music of 17th Century Harper, O'Carolan went on to inspire the formation of The Chieftains.
In 1964 Ó Riada moved to Cúil Aodha in West Cork, an Irish speaking area wherem he established Cór Chúil Aodha, a male voic choir. In his later years O'Riada composed very simple Irish church music, including Aifreann 2,, to be sung by un-trained voices in his choir. He died at the young age of 40 in 1971, but his enormous influence on others was only beginning.