26-year-old cellist Sinéad O’Halloran is quickly establishing herself as one of Ireland’s most exciting young musicians. Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Ortús Chamber Music Festival, Sinéad is passionate about bringing together Irish and international musicians for concerts, education work and audience development in the wider community.
An avid chamber musician, Sinéad has recently been appointed the new cellist of the award-winning Marmen Quartet. Upcoming season highlights for the Marmens include debuts at the Berlin Philharmonie, Boulez Saal and the BBC Proms as well as extensive European tours including performances in Heidelberg, Belfast, Luberon, Stockholm and Graz. Festival engagements will take the Quartet to the Lucerne Festival, Gulbenkian Biennale, Wonderfeel Helsinki and Estivales de Musique en Médoc. In the US the Quartet undertakes the first visit of its two-year residency at Southern Methodist University in Dallas; a relationship that will see them work closely with the students as well as giving performances and developing new projects. Other plans include tours to Japan, New Zealand and Canada in 2022.
Sinéad has also collaborated with musicians including Tasmin Little, Barry Douglas and the Vanbrugh String Quartet. In 2020 she made her Wigmore Hall debut at the invitation of cellist Steven Isserlis, as part of the IMS Prussia Cove Autumn Tour, performing alongside Anthony Marwood, Timothy Ridout and Mishka Rushdie-Momen.
As a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) for seven years, she toured Europe, South America, the United Arab Emirates and the Caribbean. As Principal Cellist of EUYO she led the section at numerous high profile events, including the BBC Proms and The Armistice Day 100 Years Anniversary Ceremony, performing at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe during a ceremony marking the centenary of the end of World War I in front of 84 Heads of State and world leaders, and a live television audience of millions. At the invitation of Maestro Iván Fischer, she works regularly with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, touring extensively and performing in some of the world’s finest concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, Philharmonie de Paris, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and Het Concertgebouw. She has also performed with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Spira Mirabilis, Georgian Chamber Orchestra and the iPalpiti Ensemble of International Laureates. She regularly plays under some of the world’s most renowned conductors, including Bernard Haitink, Gianandrea Noseda, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jörg Widmann and Vasily Petrenko.
Sinéad has a postgraduate Performer’s Diploma from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and a first-class Honours B.Mus from the Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf. She is currently on an Erasmus+ Scholarship as part of her Masters Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in the class of Hannah Roberts, where she has recently been awarded the prestigious RNCM Cold Medal.
Sinéad gratefully acknowledges support from the Arts Council of Ireland, Music Network, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Cork City Arts Office, DAAD and Deutschlandstipendium. She currently plays on a Benjamin Banks cello c. 1780.
Horn player Hannah Miller embodies an exquisite blend of international artistry, having grown up in Ireland; attained her Bachelor degree at Finland’s Sibelius Academy; and recently graduating with a Master’s degree from New York’s Juilliard School, where she was awarded with the William Schuman Prize for outstanding achievement in music and leadership.
Since being appointed Associate Principal Horn with the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, Finland at age 21, Hannah has shone as an orchestral musician, heard with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Irish Chamber Orchestra and Tapiola Sinfonietta and most recently joining the Verbier Festival Orchestra. Through these orchestras she has worked with conductors including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Fabio Luisi, Valery Gergiev, Itzhak Perlman, Leif Segerstam and Alan Pierson. As a soloist she
has been heard in concerti by Strauss, Schumann and Vivaldi.
As a member of the Irish contemporary music group Kirkos Ensemble, she has been featured in solo and chamber music concerts performing a wide range of modern works. Hannah’s commitment to new music has expanded in recent years to include performances with Crash Ensemble in Ireland, London and Amsterdam and with Ulysses Ensemble in collaboration with Ensemble InterContemporain, IRCAM and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France as part of the ManiFeste Festival.
In his native Germany, Peter Rainer (violin) is a concertmaster and a founder of the Kammerakademie Potsdam, and leads an active career as a chamber musician, soloist, and teacher. Since 2007, Peter has been on the faculty of the “Universität der Künste” (University of the Arts) in Berlin and of the “Stern Institute” for young talented students. Most recently, he was chosen by “Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik” to head the string department of “Musikgymnasium Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach,” a school for highly talented musical kids.
He was the founder and leader of the Persius Ensemble, focusing mainly on repertoire written for the classical nonet, and has released three CDs; a CD with nonets by Spohr, Clementi and Mozart, which was chosen by Berlin-Brandenburg Radio (RBB) as one of the best releases of 2007. He has been a member of the Max Brod piano trio since 2012. In 2016, the piano trio released a CD of compositions by Robert Kahn, a wonderful discovery of romantic music in style of Johannes Brahms. Music-loving children know Peter Rainer through the many interactive concerts he developed for them in the past 20 years, such as Till Eulenspiegel, Ferdinand the Bull, The Horse on the Violin, to mention a few.
Peter Rainer studied violin in the U.S. with Professor Eduard Schmieder at the Meadows School of the Arts, where he received his Artist Certificate in 1994 and his Master of Violin Performance degree in 1995. Upon his return to Germany, he was concertmaster of the Brandenburgische Philharmonie in Potsdam from 1996 to 2000. In 2005, he received a commendation from the City of Los Angeles for his leadership of iPalpiti and his contributions to culture.
Stephanie Appelhans, (b. 1991 Wickede, Germany), received her first violin lessons at the age of five. As a young student at Folkwang University Essen she studied under Prof. Paraschkevov before completing her Bachelors at HfM “Hanns Eisler” Berlin with Prof. Mücke. She also received a DAAD Scholarship to study at the Guildhall School of Music London. She earned her Masters at UdK Berlin with Prof. Peter Rainer and is currently
pursuing a Konzertexamen with Prof. Eichhorn at HfM Weimar.
Since 2018 Stephanie is the 1st Concertmaster of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Erfurt. She is also concertmaster of Westfälische Kammerphilharmonie Gütersloh and performs regularly with the iPalpiti Orchestra of International Laureates (Los Angeles). Previously Stephanie was concertmaster of ORFF-Academy of Bavarian Radio (Munich) in 2014 and of the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie (Frankfurt) in 2014/15, as well as being Academist of Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester (Berlin).
Stephanie has been a prizewinner at numerous international competitions, including the Ferdinand-Trimborn-Prize and the International Louis-Spohr-Competition Kassel. In 2012 she was awarded the Kottmann-Förderpreis by the City of Frankfurt and became a scholar of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.
As soloist, Stephanie has appeared with many different orchestras across Europe: in Scotland in 2007, at the Drüggelter Kunststückchen Festival in 2008, in Gütersloh, Kassel, Berlin and on a tour of Junge Deutsche Philharmonie in Switzerland and Germany under Sir Neville Marinner in 2014. Recently she performed Prokofiev’s 2nd violin concerto with Westfälische Kammerphilharmonie Gütersloh, Brahms’ violin concerto with Universitätsorchester Kassel and Beethovens 2nd Romance with Philharmonic Orchestra of Erfurt.
Stephanie is a passionate chamber musician, performing with the Berlin-based Laguna-Quartett and collaborating with chamber orchestras.
Francesca Gilbert was born in London and began playing the viola at the Junior Guildhall’s String Training Programme. She has studied with Susan Thompson, David Takeno and Matthew Jones. Francesca has recently graduated from the Advanced Instrumental Studies masters course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama having previously graduated from the GSMD undergraduate programme with first-class honours.
Francesca enjoys a varied performance and recording career and has performed in major venues across the UK, Europe and America. Francesca is grateful for the generous support she has received from the Guildhall School Trust, the Stephen Bell Charitable Trust and the Old Wellingtonian Society.
Francesca’s main passion for chamber music. She is a member of the award-winning Gildas Quartet and regularly performs with various ensembles such as the Laguna Quartet, Vindeleia Ensemble, Ensemble 840 and the 12 ensemble. In addition to this, Francesca is regularly invited to play at international chamber music festivals. This year’s highlights include the Marryat Players Chamber Music Festival, the Ortús Festival and the
Stamford International Music Festival. Francesca also freelances in various chamber orchestras in the UK, she is a regular extra with Sinfonia Cymru, Manchester Camerata and the Faust Chamber Orchestra.
Francesca also plays in a quintet with jazz pianist Gwilym Simcock, performing both original compositions by Simcock and his arrangements. The group recently performed and recorded Simcock’s arrangement of Debussy’s Children’s Corner Suite for BBC Radio 3’s Jazz Line-Up.
Naomi Shaham (double bass), Solo Double Bass of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig for the 2021/2022 Season, graduated “Cum Laude” from the Conservatory of Amsterdam, class of Olivier Thiery (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra). In addition, she studied with Zsolt Fejervari (principal, Budapest Festival Orchestra), and with Nir Comforty (Israel Philharmonic Orchestra) in the Buchmann- Mehta School of Music at the Tel Aviv University. There she was awarded a Certificate of Excellence by Zubin Mehta (2016).
Naomi is currently a member of the Budapest Festival Orchestra and plays as principal bassist of the West Eastern Divan Orchestra. She has played in the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the WDR Sinfonieorchester Koln, and the Taiwan Connection Chamber Orchestra. She was a participant in the Practicum Program of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Verbier Festival Orchestra and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Orchestra. In addition to orchestral playing, Naomi has performed as a chamber musician in series of the Tel Aviv Museum and of the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin. She is a scholarship holder of the Villa Musica Rheinland-Pfälzische Landesstiftung for chamber music and plays on a Fendt bass, on loan from the foundation.
In 2020, Naomi won the first prize of the International Spreger Competition’s “Quarantine Challenge”, and in 2017 the first prizes in three solo competitions – The Viennese Bass Competition at the Amsterdam Conservatory, the Strings Competition and Contemporary Music competition of The Buchmann-Mehta School of Music.
Naomi performed as a soloist with the Israeli Symphony Orchestra (2015), the Israel Chamber Orchestra (2016), and the Amsterdam Conservatory Symphony Orchestra (2019). She attended the International Perlman Music Program and later served in the Israel Defence Force as an honorary musician (2015-2016).
Naomi received Mafteach scholarships from the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and The America Israel Cultural Foundation scholarships with Exceptional Distinction (2013-2017). In 2017 she was awarded the Holland Scholarship and in 2018 the Talent Grant, by the Amsterdamse Hoogschool voor de Kunsten.
Cork pianist Gary Beecher has a varied career as an accompanist, chamber musician and soloist. In 2019 he scored important international competition successes, including the International Nadia and Lili Boulanger Voice-Piano Competition (Paris), the Rudolf Jansen Pianist Prize at the 53rd International Vocal Competition Lied Duo (Hertogenbosch), and 2nd Pianist Prize at the International Helmut Deutsch Lied Competition (Vienna).
He was the winner of the Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year and has performed as soloist with both the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and RTÉ Concert Orchestra. Venues he has performed in include the National Concert Hall and RDS in Dublin, University Concert Hall, Limerick, and the Barbican and Wigmore Hall in London.
He completed his MA at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London where he was also a Fellow and staff accompanist, and was also mentored by Julius Drake and Charles Owen. He holds a BMus and MA from the CIT Cork School of Music, where he studied with Susan & Jan Čáp, Michael McHale and Gabriela Mayer; and former teachers include Jacques Rouvier (Universität der Künste Berlin) and John O’Conor (RIAM).
He is currently undertaking a Doctorate at the Royal Irish Academy of Music where he is studying with Hugh Tinney. He also teaches piano at RIAM, and is a coach accompanist at the MTU (formerly CIT) Cork School of Music and Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick.
Violist Martin Moriarty is one of Ireland’s foremost musicians and is in high demand as a soloist and as a chamber musician both at home and abroad. Martin has received multiple awards and prizes including the Amsterdam Viola Festival Competition, the Flax Trust Award at the Clandeboye Chamber Music Festival and the Peter Pirazzi Stiftung. As a soloist he has performed with orchestras including the Baden-Baden Philharmonic Orchestra and Amsterdam Sinfonietta.
Festival invitations include West Cork, GAIA, Schiermonnikoog, Grachtenfestival, Tsinandali, NCH Chamber Music Gathering, Holland Music Sessions, Sligo International and Ortús Chamber Music Festivals.
Martin has collaborated with artists including Barry Douglas, François Guye, Philippe Graffin, Daniel Rowland, Garth Knox, István Várdai, Finghin Collins, Miklós Lukács, Diamanda Dramm, Julien Hervé, the Vogler and Michelangelo String Quartets.
Martin regularly plays with orchestras such as the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra and guest principal viola for Camerata Freden.
Martin was the first Irish musician to be accepted into the Verbier Festival Academy as a soloist in 2018 and 2019. Here he worked with world renowned musicians including Tabea Zimmermann, Antoine Tamestit, Ferenc Rados, Ferenc Rados, Gábor Takács-Nagy and Pamela Frank. From September 2021 he will be the first Irish academy musician to be apart of the Villa Musica Foundation in Germany.
Martin began his studies at the Young European String School of Music, Dublin before following further studies in Amsterdam and Detmold with Nobuko Imai, Marjolein Dispa and Veit Hertenstein. He is currently studying with Lawrence Power at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste.
Hailed as “a major talent” after her Carnegie Hall debut with Prokofiev Third Piano Concerto, Irish pianist Ellen Jansson is quickly establishing herself as one of Ireland’s most versatile and exciting young musicians. As a student of Mary Beattie, she graduated from CSM as Taught MA Student-of-the-Year 2020. She also studied with Professor Martin Hughes at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna and is a past pupil of the prestigious Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, where she was the winner of the Chetham’s Yamaha Piano Competition.
Ellen has appeared as soloist with the New York Concerti Sinfonietta, National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Esker Festival Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Ireland and CSM Symphony Orchestra. She has performed in many prominent Irish venues as well as abroad in Carnegie Hall (New York), Alexela Concert Hall (Tallinn, Estonia), and the Ukrainian Radio Concert Hall (Kiev).
A multiple prize-winner at Electric Ireland Feis Ceoil in both chamber and solo competitions, Ellen has also been awarded first prize in both the CSM Advanced Recital and Senior Concerto Competitions. She was awarded a Flax Trust bursary at Clandeboye Festival 2016 and she was a finalist in the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Scholarship 2017. Ellen was awarded the second prize in the Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year 2018 and was also recipient of the Cork Orchestral Society Emerging Artist Award that year.
An avid chamber musician, Ellen’s collaborations have included performances with the ConTempo String Quartet, the Ficino Ensemble and the Winds of Change Quintet. As an orchestral pianist she has performed with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra and Esker Festival Orchestra. She has also performed at the Ortús Chamber Music Festival, Killaloe Chamber Music Festival, Music for Galway, and the ‘Finding a Voice’ Festival in Clonmel where she curated a concert of solo and chamber works by Alexina Louie and in 2021 gave the first Irish performance of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s Das Jahr.
One of Ireland’s most accomplished violinists, Co-Artistic Director and violinist Mairéad Hickey was NCH Irish Young Musician of the Year 2010 – 2012. As well as winning prizes at renowned Irish competitions, 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 and first prize in the Jeunesses Musicales Violin Competition, Romania 2012. In 2017 she was awarded a Special Prize in the Berliner International Music Competition and the Manhattan International Music Competition.
Performing regularly throughout Ireland, she has played with both the RTÉ National Concert and Symphony Orchestras as well Camerata Ireland and Kremerata Baltica. She has performed in every major concert hall in Ireland and abroad 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 with Jyrki Pietila. 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. With a Masters’ Degree from the prestigious Kronberg Academy, she is currently the Violon Super-Soliste at the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire.
She has taken masterclasses with musicians such as András Schiff, Rita Wagner, Ferenc Rados, Gidon Kremer, Dora Schwarzberg, Vadim Repin, Mariana Sirbu, Ana Chumachenco, Vadim Gluzman, Yossi Zivoni, Mauricio Fuks, Gabor Takács-Nagy, Christoph Eschenbach, Marc Danel and Ivry Gitlis among many others.
An enthusiastic chamber musician, Mairéad has been invited to perform at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, the Westport Festival of Chamber Music, the Clandeboye Music Festival, the Mantova chamber Music Festival, the Grachtenfestival and the Rolandseck Festival. Mairéad participated in Chamber Music Connects the World 2016, Kronberg, where she performed with Steven Isserlis and Christian Tetzlaff. She has also collaborated with artists including Barry Douglas, Tabea Zimmermann, Fazil Say, Marc Coppey, Mate Bekavac, Irena Grafenauer, Alexander Lonquich, Andreas Reiner, Pieter Wispelway, Michel Lethiec, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Boris Berezovsky and the Vanbrugh Quartet.
Her love of chamber music led her to co-found the Ortús Chamber Music Festival in 2016 in her native Cork, of which she is Artistic Director. Mairéad also plays traditional Irish music and has won eight world Irish fiddle titles.
Mairéad currently plays a Giovanni Tononi violin. She is supported by the Arts Council and the Music Network Music Capital Scheme, funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.