Musicians

23-year-old Irish cellist Sinéad O’Halloran is quickly establishing herself as one of Ireland’s most exciting young musicians. She began her musical studies at the CIT Cork School of Music under the guidance of Joan Scannell and Christopher Marwood. At the age of 18 she was offered an Artistic Merit Scholarship to pursue a postgraduate Performer’s Diploma at SMU Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas, Texas in the classes of renowned cellists Andres Diaz and Christopher Adkins. She is currently a student of Gregor Horsch (Principal cellist of Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra) at the Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf.

An avid chamber musician, Sinéad has performed at IMS Open Chamber Music, the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, the opening of the Bozar Season (Brussels) and the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. She has been a prizewinner in numerous competitions, both in Ireland and the US. She has collaborated with musicians including Barry Douglas, the Vanbrugh String Quartet and Zoltán Fejérvári. Together with violinist Mairéad Hickey, she is co-founder and Artistic Director of the Ortús Chamber Music Festival, bringing together some of Ireland’s most talented young musicians for concerts, education work and audience development in the wider community.

Sinéad tours regularly with the European Union Youth Orchestra, Spira Mirabilis and the Irish Chamber Orchestra, performing in some of the world’s finest concert halls under the baton of Bernard Haitink, Gianandrea Noseda, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jörg Widmann and Vasily Petrenko.

Recent international festival appearances include International Musician’s Seminar Prussia Cove (Cornwall, UK), Amsterdam Cello Biënnale (the Netherlands), Banff Summer Arts Festival (Alberta, Canada), TCU Cellofest (Texas, USA) and Euro Music Festival (Halle, Germany).

Sinéad is currently playing on a Robert Brewer Young cello, kindly on loan to her by Steven Isserlis.

One of Ireland’s most accomplished violinists, Mairéad Hickey was NCH Irish Young Musician of the Year 2010 – 2012.  Most recently, she won third prize as well as a Special Prize for the best interpretation of a virtuoso work at the 2016 International Louis Spohr Competition. Performing regularly throughout Ireland and internationally, she has recorded with both the RTÉ National Concert and Symphony Orchestras and performed in venues including the Royal Festival Hall, London, Beethoven-Haus, Bonn and Carnegie Hall, New York.

Born in 1996, Mairéad began playing the violin at the age of three. From 2003 to 2014 she studied with Adrian Petcu at the CIT Cork School of Music, Ireland and spent a year in France studying at the Conservatoire de Nantes with Constantin Serban.  She is now studying with Mihaela Martin at Kronberg Academy, sponsored by the Hilmar Kopper Stipendium.  She has taken masterclasses with musicians such as András Schiff, Gidon Kremer, Vadim Repin, Ana Chumachenco, Vadim Gluzman, Yossi Zivoni, Mauricio Fuks, Christoph Eschenbach, Antje Weithaas, Zakhar Bron, and Ivry Gitlis.

An enthusiastic chamber musician, Mairéad has appeared numerous times in the West Cork, Westport and Clandeboye Music Festivals.  Mairéad participated in Chamber Music Connects the World 2016, Kronberg, where she performed with artists including Steven Isserlis and Christian Tetzlaff. She has also collaborated with artists including Barry Douglas, Tabea Zimmermann, Boris Berezovsky, Pieter Wispelwey, Marc Coppey, Mate Bekavac, Fazil Say, Michel Lethiec and the Vanbrugh Quartet.  She often plays as a guest member of Kremerata Baltica.  Her love of chamber music led her to co-found the Ortús Chamber Music Festival in 2015 in her native Cork, of which she is Artistic Director.

Mairéad also plays traditional Irish music and has won eight world Irish fiddle titles. She has an instructional app ‘Irish Fiddler’ which is available on iTunes.

Mairéad currently plays a 1702 Tononi violin, kindly loaned to her by a generous sponsor through the Beares International Violin Society.  She is supported by the Arts Council and the Music Network Music Capital Scheme, funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Irish flautist Fiona Kelly has been hailed by the New York Times as a player with “impressive technique and elegant musicianship”.  Based in London, Fiona enjoys a varied career of solo and orchestral playing. She has performed concertos with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Jönköpings Sinfonietta, Locrian Ensemble, Irish Chamber Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland in venues such as Köln Philharmonie, Liszt Academy Grand Hall Budapest, Heidelberg Festival, Rheingau Festival and St. Martin in the Fields London. She was a soloist with Håkan Hardenberger, Antje Weithaas and Uri Caine in the Swedish Chamber Orchestra’s Brandenburg Project performing the 2nd and 5th concertos and premiering new concerti by Steven Mackey and Uri Caine, touring throughout Europe.

Her orchestral experiences range from being offered the post of principal flute with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra of Ireland at the age of 22, to performances as a guest flautist with the New York Philharmonic. She held the position of principal flute of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra from 2012 – 2016 and has performed as guest principal flute with orchestras such as the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Northern Sinfonia, City of London Sinfonia and the Irish Chamber Orchestra.

Fiona began her studies at the Cork School of Music with her mother Evelyn Grant and Sabine Ducrot, and completed her Bachelor of Music studies at Trinity College of Music, London, with Ms. Anna Noakes. While in London she won numerous awards including 1st Prize in the British Flute Society International Competition, the Royal Overseas League Sussex Prize and the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Julius Isserlis Scholarship. She completed her Master’s degree at The Juilliard School, New York, studying with principal flute of the New York Philharmonic, Robert Langevin. She won first prize in The Juilliard School Flute Competition and made her Lincoln Center debut performing Bernstein’s ‘Halil’ with The Juilliard Orchestra at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre.

Twenty-one-year old pianist Ellen Jansson began her studies at CIT Cork School of Music with Eleanor Malone and went on to study there as a full-time student with Mary Beattie. She graduated from the prestigious Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester in 2014, where she was the winner of the Chetham’s Yamaha Piano Competition as well as attaining an LRSM performance diploma with distinction. She has spent the last year studying on an Erasmus scholarship with Professor Martin Hughes at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.

Ellen has performed in many prominent venues in Ireland and abroad, including the RDS Concert Hall “Rising Stars Concert Series”, the Klaviergalerie, Vienna, Großes Studio of the Mozarteum, Salzburg and the Triskel Arts Centre. She has appeared as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland. She took part in the Camerata Ireland Academy at Clandeboye Festival in August 2016, where she was awarded a Flax Trust bursary.

Ellen was awarded first prize in the CSM Advanced Recital Competition in 2015 and is a multiple prize-winner at Electric Ireland Feis Ceoil in both chamber and solo competitions. She has performed in the John Field Room of the National Concert Hall, Dublin on several occasions, and performed in the Feis Ceoil Gala concert 2013 in the NCH, which was broadcast nationally by RTE Lyric FM. She was a finalist in the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Scholarship in February 2017.

An avid chamber musician, Ellen recently completed a tour of Ireland as a member of the Belvedere trio, which was formed in Vienna in 2017.  Ellen has had masterclasses and lessons with some of the world’s most respected pianists and teachers including Barry Douglas, Andreas Frölich, Bernd Goetzke, Alexej Gorlatch, Alexei Grynyuk, Ian Jones, Philip Martin, Pavel Nersessian, John O’Conor, Dina Parakhina, Kathryn Stott, Vladimir Tropp, Anton Voigt and Andreas Weber. She has attended Chetham’s Summer School for Pianists, the Internationale Sommerakademie at the Mozarteum, Salzburg and the Wiener Meisterkurse.

Irish violinist, Brendan Garde, began studying violin with Colette O’Brien at age seven at the CIT Cork School of Music. He continued his studies with Adrian Petcu before moving to England, where he studied with Leland Chen at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester. Brendan is currently preparing for a Masters in Performance at the CIT Cork School of Music under the tuition of Gregory Ellis.

Whilst at the RNCM, Brendan was the ABRSM EU Scholar and especially enjoyed playing chamber music, both as a member of the Sullivan Quartet, which was invited to perform at the Salisbury International Arts Festival, and the Garde Piano Trio, winners of the Weil Prize in 2016.

Brendan was a finalist in both the Norman George Violin Scholarship and the Helen Porthouse Paganini Prize at the RNCM.

Highlights of recent performances include participating in the West Cork Chamber Music Festival 2017 Masterclass Programme as a member of the Skellig Quartet.  Also, in the summer of 2016, Brendan toured Cork county as a member of the Hydra Quintet.

Cork born viola player Cian Ó Dúill has performed with the Vanbrugh, Carducci and Calino String Quartets, the Fidelio Trio, the Avalon Ensemble, Chroma and the Crash Ensemble. He has played in chamber music recitals with Anthony Marwood, Howard Shelley, Jorg Widmann, Natalie Clein and Patricia Rozario and has appeared at Cheltenham, Warwick Arts, Chichester, Aldeburgh, Wye Valley, Kings Lynn, Sligo Spring, Killaloe and West Cork Chamber Music Festivals.

Cian was a founder member of both the Regent String Quartet and the Rothko String Trio and is currently a member of the period instrument Giordani String Quartet and Prism Ensemble.

Concerto appearances include performances of works by Bach, Telemann, Mozart, Bruch and Hindemith in Ireland, the UK, Spain and Greece.

Cian is a member of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, was co-principal viola of the London Mozart Players from 2010 to 2014 and works regularly with the London Symphony Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Britten Sinfonia.

Born in Bogota in 1995, Santiago Cañón Valencia has been praised as one of the most promising young cellists of his generation. His major musical mentors have been Henryk Zarzycki in Colombia, James Tennant in New Zealand and Andres Diaz in the USA. He is currently pursuing his Professional Studies with Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt at the Kronberg Academy for young soloists.  

Santiago recently won third prize at the prestigious Queen Elisabeth International Competition 2017 in Brussels and he is a First Prize winner of the Carlos Prieto (2016), Beijing (2010), Gisborne (2011) and Lennox (2014) international cello competitions and he is also a major prize winner of the Sphinx (2017), Casals (2014), Johansen (2012), Cassadó (2013) and Adam (2009), international cello competitions.  

He has performed in recital and as a soloist with orchestras throughout Australasia, Europe, South America, the USA, Canada, South Africa, China, Japan, México and Russia and has played as a soloist with orchestras such as the Brussels Philharmonic, Moscow Soloists, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie and the Antwerp Symphony among others.

Santiago has worked with world renowned conductors such as Stéphane Denéve, János Kovács, Marco Parisotto, Bernhard Gueller and Muhai Tang among others. He has also collaborated with world-renowned musicians such as Yuri Bashmet, Frank Braley, Alisa Weilerstein, Shlomo Mintz, Dmitri Berlinsky, Emmanuel Ceysson and Roberto Gonzales-Monjas among others. Santiago has also shared the stage with Maxim Vengerov, Li-Wei Qin and Phillippe Müller.

Santiago has been a guest artist several times at the Cartagena International Music Festival and was part of the Verbier Festival Academy (Cello) 2016.  His debut CD of solo 20th Century works has been internationally acclaimed by the Strad Magazine and others. Consecutively, he has just released two new recordings consisting of Russian cello sonatas and popular pieces of the cello repertoire with pianist Katherine Austin. All of his recordings have been made under the Atoll label in New Zealand.

Santiago has been sponsored by the Mayra & Edmundo Esquenazi Scholarship through the Salvi Foundation since 2011 also, he is a recipient of the MPower Artist Grants 2016 by the Sphinx Organization and of the prestigious Monini Prize at the Spoleto Festival 2017 in July in Italy.

26 year old French violinist Yoan Brakha began playing the violin at the age of 8 at the Conservatory of Paris with Jean Lenert.  He was awarded numerous awards for young violinists before he graduated.   Since 2013 he has been studying in the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon, under the guidance of Marc Danel.   Yoan has toured with the Yong Shanghai International Orchestra in China and the International Mahler Orchestra and with them has performed in venues such as the Berliner Philarmonie.  He appeared as a soloist with the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra and l’Orchestre du Centre Philharmonique.

Passionate about chamber music, he has shared the stage with artists such as Marc Danel, Yovan Markovitch, Jean Sulem, Claudio Bohotquez, Christoph Richter, Kanstantin Bogino, Miguel Da Silva and Tanja Becker-Bender. In 2016 he was a laureate of the Mécénat Musical Société Général and has subsequently participated in festivals all over Europe including the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, Finland, Crans Montana Academy, Switzerland and International Summer Masterclasses in Vienna.   He has taken masterclasses musicians including with Shlomo Mintz, Hagai Shaham, Jean Marc Phillips, Olivier Charlier, Silvia Marcovici and Bruno Pasquier. In 2016 he received his Bachelor degree from the CNSM de Lyon and is currently completing his Master after spending one year on Erasmus in the Universität Der Künste under the guidance of Peter Rainer, Berlin.