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Death of Achill composer Brent Parker


Áine Ryan

THE death has occurred of Achill-based composer Brent Parker, formerly of Bray, Co Wicklow, and Christchurch, New Zealand.
Brent, who was a lecturer at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, Dublin, and a teacher at the Mayo School of Music, Castlebar, died on December 28, 2017, peacefully, in his 85th year, at University Hospital Galway, surrounded by family and listening to his own music, after an illness borne bravely and with dignity.
A composer-pianist whose many works had been performed in Ireland and abroad, Brent is survived by his wife, former Irish Times journalist Sheila Sullivan and his step-son, Conor Lane. He lived in the village of Dookinella, under the Minaun Cliffs on Achill Island, for the past 20 years and had composed many works there, such as ‘Granuaile’ and ‘Lifeboats’.   
Reposing on Friday, January 12, 2018, at Conneely’s Funeral Home, Flood Street, Galway, from 4pm to 7pm. Removal from the Funeral Home at 11.30am on Saturday, January 13, 2018, to St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, Lombard Street, Galway, arriving for his Funeral Service at 12 noon. Cremation service at 5pm on January 13 in Shannon Crematorium, Illaunmanagh, Shannon, Co Clare.
“Brent had a big, long, rich, wonderful life,” his wife, Sheila, said. “He didn’t look 84 and he didn’t act 84, and he was composing, playing the piano and giving recitals in Beijing and in Grinnell College, USA, well into his 80s. He was the most genial person you could ever meet and his loss, as a husband, father and musician, is irreplaceable. There has been a great outpouring of grief and affection since his passing.”
As well as being mourned deeply by Sheila Sullivan and his stepson, Conor Lane, with whom he had a very close relationship,  he will be sadly missed by six children from his first marriage and their extended families.
Brent is survived by two sisters in Auckland, New Zealand, and was predeceased by one brother.  He will be mourned by his former students and colleagues, friends, neighbours and musicians who played his symphony, two piano concertos, orchestral and choral works, and pieces for classical guitar, strings and piano in Ireland, England, France, Spain, Greece, China, Russia, the United States and New Zealand.

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