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 alongside international guests for concerts, education work and audience development in the wider community.
Sinéad was recently selected to be Principal Cellist of the European Union Youth Orchestra for the 2018/2019 Season. She has also performed with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Spira Mirabilis, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Georgian Chamber Orchestra and iPalpiti Ensemble of International Laureates. She has performed 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).
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 Cork pianist Ellen Jansson began her studies at CIT Cork School of Music with Eleanor Malone and is currently studying 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 spent last year studying on an Erasmus scholarship with Professor Martin Hughes at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.
Ellen has appeared as soloist with the New York Concerti Sinfonietta, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland. She has performed in many prominent venues in Ireland and abroad, including Carnegie Hall, Haydn Saal MDW, Vienna, Großes Studio Mozarteum, Salzburg, RDS Concert Hall, John Field Room NCH and the National Concert Hall, Dublin.
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 took part in the Camerata Ireland Academy at Clandeboye Festival 2016 where she was awarded a Flax Trust bursary and she was a finalist in the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Scholarship in 2017.
She has taken masterclasses with musicians such as Barry Douglas, Bernd Goetzke, Alexej Gorlatch, Alexei Grynyuk, Pavel Nersessian, John O’Conor and Vladimir Tropp. An avid chamber musician, Ellen recently completed a tour of southern Ireland as a member of the Belvedere Trio, which was formed in Vienna in 2017. Engagements in 2018 for the trio include concerts in Germany and Sweden.
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.
Ella van Poucke, born in Amsterdam in 1994, is one of the leading cellists of her generation.
Winner of the prestigious Premio Chigiana 2017 and recently awarded the Grachtenfestival Prize, the 23 year old Dutch cellist belongs to the top rank of today’s generation of cellists.
She is the first prize winner of the International Isang Yun cello competition 2015, the Leopoldinum Award 2015, Prix Nicolas Firmenich 2013, Elisabeth Everts Award 2014, Prix Academie Maurice Ravel 2012, Dutch Musician of the Year 2012, first prize winner of the 2008 Princess Christina Competition and recipient of the special prize in “recognition of an outstanding performance at the Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann 2014.
After making her debut at the Concertgebouw at the age of 10 she has been performing in all the major halls of the Netherlands, in many top halls in Europe and in the U.S and Asia.
As a soloist Ella has performed with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, HR-Sinfonie Orchester, Brussels Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic Strings, Orchestre della Toscana, Varsovia Chamber Orchestra, Polish Chamber Orchestra, Leopoldinum Chamber Orchestra, Junge Sinfonie Berlin, Hamburger Camerata, Tongyeong Festival Orchestra and collaborated with artists as Michael Sanderling and Christoph Eschenbach among others.
In November 2012 she premiered a new cello concerto, which was written for her by the Finnish composer Uljas Pulkkis during the International Cello Biennale in Amsterdam.
In September 2013 she premiered the same work in Germany at the Kronberg Festival, with members of the HR-Sinfonie Orchester Frankfurt.
Ella regularly appears on Dutch Radio and Television and has performed for ARTE TV in Germany and France. She appeared in Germany’s “Stars von Morgen” hosted by Rolando Villazon.
As a passionate chamber musician Ella has performed with Andras Schiff, Gary Hoffman, Nobuko Imai, Tabea Zimmermann, Christian Tetzlaff, Viviane Hagner, Lawrence Power, Gidon Kremer, Colin Carr, Matthias Schorn, Andreas Reiner, Vilde Frang, Simone Lamsma, Christiaan Bor, Philippe Graffin, Prazak quartet, Schumann quartett among many others.
She regularly performs in recital with pianist Jean-Claude vanden Eynden and with her brother Nicolas van Poucke.
She has been guest in numerous international festivals such as Festspiele Mecklenburg Vorpommern, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Krzyzowa Music, Chigiana International Festival, Kaposfest Hungary, Internationaal Kamermuziek Festival Utrecht, Grachten Festival Amsterdam, Kronberg Festival, Cello Biennale Amsterdam and was invited to participate in Verbier Festival Academy in 2009, 2013 and 2014.
She is a regular member of the Amsterdam Chamber Music Society and is the artistic director of the Chamber Music Festival Amsterdam which she and her brother, pianist Nicolas founded in 2010.
As a Dutch ‘Rising Star’ Ella was invited to give two Carte Blanche concerts in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in 2013-14.
Highlights from her future engagements include solo appearances with the Dutch National Youth Orchestra, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Orchestre della Toscane, Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn.
In August 2017 Ella will be Young Artist in Residence of the NJO (Dutch National Youth Orchestra).
Born into a family of musicians, Ella began playing the cello at the age of six. Entered the Royal Conservatory of The Hague at the age of 10 and later continued her studies at the Conservatory of Amsterdam with Godfried Hoogeveen.
She has taken masterclasses and worked with Andras Schiff, Miklos Perenyi, Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, Yuri Bashmet, Steven Isserlis, Menahem Pressler, Laurence Lesser, Anner Bijlsma, Bernard Greenhouse, Mischa Maisky, the Emerson Quartet among others.
From 2009-2016 Ella studied with professor Frans Helmerson at the Kronberg Academy Masters in Germany. Her studies were funded by the von Opel/Schaefer Stipendium.
From the fall of 2016 Ella is an Artist in Residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Brussels, where she studies with Gary Hoffman.
She plays on a Rombouts cello, kindly lend to her by a anonymous benefactor.
Dublin born Aoife Nic Athlaoich enjoys a versatile musical career, dividing her time between both modern and Baroque cello. Since moving back to Ireland in 2013 Aoife joined the Irish Chamber Orchestra and has made solo and chamber music debuts at some Ireland’s leading festivals including Galway Early Music Festival, Ardee baroque Festival, Killaloe Chamber Music Festival and the East Cork Early Music Festival. Aoife is s member of the highly acclaimed Orchestre Revolutionaire et Romantique with whom she has toured the USA and Europe as well as performing at the BBC Proms.
Aoife has performed with the orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, la Serenissima, the avison ensemble, Irish baroque orchestra, Scottish chamber orchestra, classical opera company and was a member of the London Mozart Players from 2010-2013.
Aoife has won prizes for solo and contemporary music performance at Feis Ceoil, Dublin as well as being awarded a Belfast Classical Music Bursary in 2007 and was awarded scholarships for her studies at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and at the Royal College of Music, London.
Aoife teaches cello at the Cork school of music, the University of Limerick, and at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin.
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.
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 Bohorquez, 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.