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At Kitty O'Shea's

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Johan de Meij

Johan de Meij

Subtitle: Irish Folk Song Suite

General Info

Year: 2010
Duration: c. 15:40
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Amstel Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $275.00   |   Score Only (print) - $55.00


Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute III
Penny Whistle
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Accordion/Acoustic Guitar/Tenor Banjo
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Bodhran
  • Crash Cymbals (2)
  • Field Drum
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Spoons/Bones
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam Tam (large)
  • Tambourine
  • Tenor Drum
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This suite of Irish folk songs includes the tunes The Darling Girl from Clare; Deirín De; The Star of the County Down; Siúil a Rún (Walk My Love); The Kerry Dances and Finale: Jig & Reels.

- Program Note from publisher

For countless years, the legendary bar Kitty O’Shea’s at the Hilton & Towers Hotel in Chicago has been the favourite meeting place for the revellers of the annual Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic. Since my first visit in 1990, I have not missed a year, and I always look forward to going there again. At Kitty O’Shea’s, new friendships are formed, old ties are strengthened, plans are created (most of which will not be carried out), the laughter is contagious and many toasts are made.

During my first ‘Midwest’, in a whirl after winning the Sudler Award with my Symphony No. 1, "Lord of the Rings", I became friends with Max McKee. He is of Irish descent, and he asked me to write a suite based on the folk music of his ancestors. Many years later, Max and his American Band College created the consortium that commissioned At Kitty O’Shea’s. I have seldom worked on a project with this much pleasure. It was a difficult task to choose from the abundance of traditional Irish folk music. By the time I had 16 minutes of music ready, it was time to finish the work -- but I have plenty of material left for a follow-up!

I would like to share an interesting story about the making of At Kitty O’Shea’s. I had just started my research on original Irish tunes when I noticed someone in our Manhattan apartment building had posted an ad to sell their espresso machine. I went to my neighbour’s spacious penthouse – determined not to pay the asking price. A friendly gentleman let me in, and we soon engaged in lively conversation -- talking about how great it is to live in New York, about our roots, etc. After he had told me he was of Irish descent, I asked him whether he knew of a local institute where I could find more information about Irish folk music. When I explained what I was working on, he said: “What a coincidence, I’m a composer too. I’m Bill Whelan, the composer of Riverdance. Why don’t you sit down, we must have a lot more to talk about.” Of course I knew his name and his wonderful music, but I didn’t know what he looked like. I felt as if I had just asked Roger Federer if he might know someone who has some knowledge of tennis!

I bought the espresso machine without haggling and by now, Bill and I have become good friends. He’s given me some valuable advice regarding At Kitty O’Shea’s, and our first joint venture is a fact: His beautiful Highlights from the Seville Suite will soon be published in my arrangement for wind orchestra. Bill wrote this suite shortly before Riverdance for the World Expo in Sevilla. People say there’s no such thing as coincidence -- I’m starting to believe that more and more!

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Johan de Meij website
  • Meij, J. (2010). At Kitty O'Shea's: Irish Folk Song Suite : For Wind Orchestra [score]. Amstel Music: Amsterdam.