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Sunday 7th April 2019 at 3.30pm

St. Iberius Church, Wexford

Ashley Fripp, piano

Ashley FrippProgramme

Schubert: Four Impromptus, D.899

Chopin: 4 Mazurkas, Op. 24 : Ballade No. 3 in A-flat major, Op. 47

Thomas Ades: Clarinet Quintet in B minor Op.115

Chopin: Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op.

British pianist Ashley Fripp has performed extensively as recitalist, chamber musician and concerto soloist throughout Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and Australia in many of the world’s most prestigious concert halls. Highlights include the Carnegie Hall (New York), Musikverein (Vienna), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), the Philharmonie halls of Cologne, Paris, Luxembourg and Warsaw, the Bozar (Brussels), the Royal Festival, Barbican and Wigmore Halls (London), the Laeiszhalle (Hamburg), the Megaron (Athens), Konzerthaus Dortmund, the Gulbenkian Auditorium (Lisbon) and the Konserthus (Stockholm).

Saturday 23rd March 2019 at 4.30pm

The Jerome Hynes Theatre, National Opera House, Wexford

Tickets: €20, €17(concessions) & €5 (students)

Carducci String Quartet and Julian Bliss, clarinet

carducci string quartet

julian blissProgramme

Haydn: String Quartet Op.20 No.4

David Bruce: “Gumboots” Quintet

Brahms: Clarinet Quintet in B minor Op.115

You are invited to join us for a glass of wine in the Opera House after this concert.

Tickets may be purchased at the following locations:

Online at

In person at the National Opera House box office

At the door prior to each concert



Julian Bliss is one of the world’s finest clarinettists excelling as a concerto soloist, chamber musician, jazz artist, masterclass leader and tireless musical explorer.  He has inspired a generation of young players as a guest lecturer and creator of his Conn-Selmer range of affordable clarinets and introduced a substantial new audience to his instrument.

Matthew Denton and Michelle Fleming – violins
Eoin Schmidt-Martin – viola
Emma Denton – cello

The Carducci String Quartet has appeared at leading venues worldwide including Wigmore Hall, National Concert Hall Dublin, Tivoli Concert Hall Copenhagen, Carnegie Hall New York, and Library of Congress and John F Kennedy Center in Washington DC. The ensemble received a Chamber Music and Song Award from the Royal Philharmonic Society for the project in April 2016.

Acclaimed for its interpretation of contemporary repertoire, the Carducci String Quartet has premièred many specially composed works by composers including Huw Watkins, Huang Ruo, John McCabe, Michael Berkeley, Sven-Ingo Koch. In 2019 they will present three new works: a String Quartet by Karl Jenkins, a Piano Quintet by Kate Whitley, and a new suite for String Quartet by Jonny Greenwood with music from his score to the film There Will Be Blood. In addition to its busy concert schedule, the Quartet curates festivals both in Cheltenham and Castagneto Carducci in Italy – the town from which it took its name.

Sunday 17th February 2019 at 3.30pm

St. Iberius Church, Wexford


Miriam Roycroft, cello

Lance Coburn, piano



Martinů: (1890-1959)  Nocturnes H. 189, Four studies for Cello and Piano 

  • Andante moderato


    1. Lento
  • Moderato
  • Allegretto moderatoMartinů composed more music for cello and piano than any major composer since Beethoven.  Sadly, many of these works remain virtually unknown. As a teenager, Martinů was incredibly interested in French impressionist music and he would spend hours analysing new works.  With a small scholarship from the Ministry of Education, Martinů spent the period from 1923 to 1940 in Paris.  There he sought out Albert Roussel, who would become his teacher and mentor.


  1. Written in 1930, and dedicated to Karel Koštál, the ‘Quatre Nocturnes’, came at a time in his life when the cello caught Martinů’s interest. The Nocturnes are described as four pieces for cello with piano accompaniment.  They display a real folk-music blend with Martinů’s distinctive jazz-influenced rhythms, effects and colours much in evidence, asymmetric in the rhythm of the first piece. The second marked Lento, proceeds to a passage of cello chords, after the opening chords of the piano. A tender melody lies at the heart of this nocturne, before the return of the figuration of the opening. The third piece is equally evocative in its sustained melodic writing for the cello and the fourth opens with pizzicato in the cello, before the forward impetus of the bowed passage that follows. The plucked notes of the opening return in conclusion.
  2. During this time, Martinů’s music evolved enormously due to the many different stylistic influences he encountered, including jazz, neoclassicism, and surrealism.  Martinů was becoming increasingly interested in Baroque music but there was also a pull towards the folk music of his Czech homeland.


Beethoven: Sonata Op.69 in A major

  • Allegro ma non troppo
  • Scherzo: Allegro molto
  • Adagio cantabile – Allegro vivace



The Third Cello Sonata in A major is the most performed of Beethoven’s five sonatas for the instrument. It was composed during the highly productive year of 1808 which also saw the composition of the Violin Concerto, the two piano trios of op. 70 and the completion of both the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies.

Like the traditional 18th century and early 19th century sonata, it has three movements. However, the typical slow middle movement is replaced by a scherzo. The first movement begins with the cello alone playing a lyrical subject answered later by the piano. This principal theme and its subsidiary ideas are treated contrapuntally throughout the movement. The following scherzo, in the tonic minor, makes use of a syncopated main theme and a lyrical trio that is heard twice. The last movement is preceded by an Adagio introduction in the key of E major, making up for the lack of a proper slow movement. It soon gives way to the lighthearted and energetic A major Allegro which forms the remainder of the finale.     (With thanks to Joseph DuBose)


Falla (1876-1946): Suite Popular Española

  • El paño moruno
  • Nana
  • Canción
  • Polo
  • Austuriana
  • Jota



Manuel de Falla, born in Cadiz in 1871, is today perhaps the most famous exception to the general rule that the best known “Spanish” music was written by Frenchmen such as Bizet, Debussy, Chabrier and Ravel. Falla studied initially in Madrid, but on the advice of his teachers moved to Paris in 1907 where he met many of the composers who had an influence on his style. King Alfonso XIII of Spain granted him a stipend to stay in Paris, where he gradually developed his mature style. In 1914 at the request of a Spanish singer, he completed a set of songs for soprano and piano, which he called Siete canciones populares Españolas, but declined to allow them a first performance in Paris because he found French audiences preferred Spanish music written by their own composers.


The songs returned to Madrid with Falla when he was forced to leave France after the outbreak of the First World War, and they received their first performance in 1915 in Madrid, as something of a homecoming celebration for the composer. Following his return, Falla wrote most of the orchestral music for which he is now remembered, and instrumentalists identified the songs as good material for arrangements for them to play. Ten years later, Polish violinist Paul Kochanski reworked six of the songs for violin and piano, and a year or two later, French cellist Maurice Maréchal produced the version of the Suite for cello and piano, which we are going to hear this afternoon.

The six pieces reflect images of Seville, Andalusia, Asturias, and Aragon.


Chopin (1810-1849): Cello Sonata

  • Allegro moderato
  • Scherzo: Allegro con brio
  • Largo
  • Finale: Allegro



Chopin’s Cello Sonata represents an extraordinary effort on the part of a composer who, only a few years from the end of his life, determined to master a genre he had never before attempted. Only five chamber works by Chopin exist; three of them are for cello and piano. In poor health and the middle of an anguished breakup with George Sand, Chopin found it within himself to labour extensively on this work, making numerous sketches and revisions. “…with my cello sonata I am now contented, now discontented.” The result is a grand sonata on a scale with Chopin’s most serious and significant works. A big, virtuosic cello part is counterbalanced by masterful piano writing in which Chopin never compromises his unique style.

The first movement often gives the sense of having been improvised at the piano. In the second movement Scherzo Chopin initially uses a rhythmically assertive approach. However, he then considerably varies the mood, including material inspired by waltz-like dances. The third movement is brief and quite gentle. The Finale combines something like the bravura virtuosity of Chopin’s earliest works with the idiosyncratic update of that style he had recently accomplished in his “heroic” piano works.


This was the last work published during Chopin’s lifetime. It was also the work he performed at his final public concert, in 1848. He performed it with his friend, cellist August Franchomme, for whom it was written and to whom it is dedicated


The artists


Dublin born Miriam Roycroft studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester with Ralph Kirshbaum and Don McCall where she was awarded numerous prizes for cello and chamber music.  Upon graduation she won the Muriel Taylor Cello Competition in London and was a prizewinner in the Royal Overseas League which led to many appearances as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Britain.  She was a founder member of the Music Group of Manchester.   Further studies included a period in Banff, Canada, at the renowned Banff Centre for the Arts with Aldo Parisot.


Miriam has appeared as a soloist with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and has played most of the major concerti for cello with orchestras throughout the UK and Ireland. She has been a guest leader of the cello sections of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Northern Sinfonia and has also guest co-led the cello sections of the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra. Miriam is currently principal cello of Camerata Ireland with whom she has toured America, China and Europe.  She played at the Music in Great Irish Houses Festival in June 2008 as part of the Festival Cello Octet with the American cellist, Steven Doane. During 2017-19, Miriam and pianist Lance Coburn are performing the entire compositions for cello and piano by Martinů at Dublin’s Hugh Lane Gallery.


Miriam has taught at the Junior School of the Royal Northern College of Music and the Leeds College of Music for many years. She was also a member of the Orchestra of Opera North in Leeds and has coached the lower string section of the National Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ireland.  She joined the String Faculty of the RIAM in Dublin in September 2006.


Miriam plays on a modern cello by Grubaugh and Seifert which she commissioned in 2004.

Since winning 1st prize at the Tomassoni International Piano Competition, Cologne in 2001, Lance Coburn has performed in Austria, Germany, Italy, Greece, Israel, Russia, United States, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and Korea as both concerto soloist and recitalist. He has performed with the Central Florida, the Israel and Sydney Symphony Orchestras, the RTE National Symphony and Hibernian Orchestras in Dublin, and most other Australian Orchestras.


Blessed with a dazzling technique and innate musicianship, and charismatic performance flair, Lance also broadcasts frequently for radio Deutsche Welle, BBC Radio 3, Lyric FM (Ireland) and ABC FM (Australia).


Lance has also been the recipient of many other first prizes, including the Hephizibah Menuhin Scholarship, the inaugural Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition, and the Australian Young Performers’ Award (Keyboard Section), culminating in a performance of Liszt’s 1st Piano Concerto with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, in the Sydney Opera House, which was also broadcast live across Australia on ABC Television.


Beginning his studies in his homeland of New Zealand, Lance furthered them in Australia, the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire, Moscow and finally with John O’Conor at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.


He enjoys an active freelance career as a solo performer, chamber musician and accompanist. He is also a full time staff member of the keyboard faculty in the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Lance lives in Dublin with his wife and two children.

Sunday 18th November at 3.30pm

St. Mary’s Church, Enniscorthy

Tickets: €17, €14 (concessions) & €5 students 

The Far Flung Trio

Katherine Hunka, violin

Dermot Dunne, accordion

Malachy Robinson, double bass

Far Flung Trio

The programme will include the Trio’s own arrangements of well-known classics by Rossini, Sarasate, Debussy, Dvorak and Gershwin and a fiery selection of Klezmer dance tunes.

Katherine Hunka is the leader of the Irish Chamber Orchestra. Her duo with accordionist Dermot Dunne has been active in Ireland since 2007 when they toured in China with the ICO.    Dermot has performed in all major Irish venues and festivals including the National Concert Hall, Vicar Street, Belfast Opera House as well as The BBC Last Night at the Proms.  He has appeared as special guest in concerts given by such diverse acts as The Blind Boys of Alabama, Irish traditional group Altan and Welsh operatic star Katherine Jenkins.   Malachy Robinson is a colleague of Katherine in the ICO as well as having his own groups the Gregory Walkers and the Robinson Panoramic Quartet; he performs with period instrument orchestras, chamber music ensembles and is a member of the Crash Ensemble.    Katherine Hunka has performed as soloist with major Irish and British orchestras over a wide range of repertoire.  She toured in Ireland last year with pianist Hugh Tinney and British cellist Guy Johnston.    The musicians bring their experience over an extensive range of repertoire to their trio programmes, drawing their audiences into their performances in a fun way, guaranteed to entertain.

Saturday 10th November at 1.05pm

St. Iberius Church, Wexford

Tickets: €17, €14 (concessions) & €5 students 

Marja Gaynor, Baroque violin

James Taylor, harpsichord



Nicola Matteis (c.1670 – after 1714)

Diverse bizzarrie sopra la vecchia Sarabanda o pur Ciaccona

Isabella Leonarda (1620 – 1704)

Sonata duodecima op.16 (1693)

Johann Jakob Froberger (1616 – 1667)

Toccata VI

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681 – 1767)

Sonata I in F major TWV 41:F4 (1734) | Andante – Allegro – Siciliana – Allegro

Johann Caspar F. Fischer (c.1665 – c.1746)

Passacaglia (from Musicalischer Parnassus, 1738)

Jean Joseph de Mondonville (1711-1772)

Sonata V in D major op.3 (1734) | Allegro – Aria – Allegro

Thomas Baltzar (c.1631 – 1663)

Variations on John come kiss me now (from John Playford’s The Division Violin, 1684)

Marja Gaynor was born in Finland but has been based in Cork since 2005. She was awarded a 1st class honours MA at Cork School of Music, and continued her Baroque violin studies at The Royal Conservatoire of The Hague with Pavlo Beznosiuk.

Marja is a member of the Irish Baroque Orchestra and Camerata Kilkenny. Both ensembles have released much-acclaimed recordings and toured nationally and internationally.  Marja is also a founder member of Giordani Quartet, Ireland’s only chamber group specialising in early Classical repertoire using period instruments.

Outside Ireland Marja works with the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra and other leading European period orchestras, and is increasingly in demand as a leader, soloist and workshop facilitator. She was the Artistic Director of East Cork Early Music Festival 2013-2015, and has also been invited to act as guest curator for the Kaleidoscope Night concert series.

With her various areas of interest and expertise (Baroque, traditional music, and improvisation) Marja is much sought after as an arranger, studio musician and collaborator in all genres. Her proudest project to date was her critically acclaimed arrangement of Purcell’s ‘Dido and Aeneas’ (Cork Opera House), and she also arranged and played the strings of ‘Falling Slowly’ for the movie ‘Once’, Oscar winner for best song in 2008.

James Taylor began his musical education as a cathedral chorister at Southwell Minster, UK. He graduated with an honours BMus from Huddersfield University in 1998 and an MA in 1999, completing his postgraduate studies in 2006 at McGill University Montreal, specialising in organ and harpsichord.

He has held church music posts at Ripon Cathedral (UK), Wellington Cathedral of St. Paul, New Zealand and Christchurch Cathedral Montreal. He has performed concerts across Canada, the United States, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and New Zealand, and he has participated in numerous television and radio broadcasts as a soloist and accompanist. James has recently completed a recording on the newly restored organ at St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral Cork, where he worked from 2006 – 2017.

James is a Lecturer in Music at the CIT Cork School of Music, and conducts the award winning vocal ensemble Madrigal ‘ 75 with whom he has toured Italy, Spain and Switzerland. The choir performs regularly in Cork and further afield, their next concert being the ever popular Christmas Concert as part of the Cork Orchestral Society series.

Marja Gaynor | Baroque Violin made by Bertran Galen (2009)

James Taylor | Harpsichord after Ruckers made by Michael Johnson (2004)


Saturday 6th October at 1.05pm

St. Iberius Church, Wexford

Tickets: €14, €12 (concessions) & €5 students 

Anne Marie Sheridan, soprano

Trudi Carberry, piano

Songs by Liszt, Sibelius, Rachmaninoff, Obradors

Anne Marie Sheridan

Irish soprano Anne Marie Sheridan studied with Mary Brennan at the Conservatory of Music, Dublin, from where she graduated with a Bachelor of Music Performance with First Class Honours, and received the Paul McNamara gold medal for excellence in performance. While living in London she studied with Yvonne Kenny and Paul Farrington. She completed her Masters in Voice at the Wales International Academy of Voice where her tutor was Dennis O’Neill.

Anne Marie has performed a variety of operatic roles in Ireland, the UK, Italy and Germany.  She is also an experienced concert soloist with repertoire including Dvorak’s Requiem, Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Tippett’s Five Spirituals from A Child of Our Time. As an avid recitalist her repertoire includes Strauss’s Four Last Songs, Wagner’s Wesendonk Lieder and Mahler’s Rückert Lieder.

She was a prizewinner at the Ballymena Feisceoil and the Feis Ceoil and was a semi-finalist in the Elizabeth Connell Prize for Dramatic Sopranos and the Concours International de Belcanto Vincenzo Bellini. CD credits include The Silver Hound: songs by Betty Roe.

Trudi Carberry pianoTrudi Carberry has worked with many of Ireland’s leading performers and is in constant demand as an accompanist at music festivals, auditions and recitals. For many years she was a staff member for many years in the vocal department of DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, where she was engaged as vocal coach and accompanist. She continues to have a particular interest in young people who are pursuing a career in performance and works privately as a vocal coach and repetiteur with many emerging singers.

Trudi is also a qualified Music Therapist and worked for many years in the Music Therapy Department of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. Her attention is now divided between her musical activities and her family commitments which include four lively grandsons.

Sun 16th September at 3.30pm

St. Iberius Church, Wexford

Tickets: €17, €14 (concessions) & €5 students 

Young-Choon Park, piano



Mozart: Sonata No.3 in B-flat Major KV.281

Beethoven: Sonata No.23 in F Minor op.57 Appassionata

Haydn: Sonata in G Major Hob.XV1:40

Schubert: Sonata in A Minor Op.42, D.845

The South Korean born pianist Young-Choon Park began the study of the piano at the age of four and gave her first full recital when she was seven.  She played the Beethoven Piano Concerto No.1 with the Seoul Symphony Orchestra at the age of nine. The young child prodigy studied at the Juilliard School in New York and later gained the highest masters degree at the Hochschule in Munich.

She has toured extensively, giving over 50 concerts each year in Europe, Scandinavia, South Africa and the United States.  She makes many return visits to major concert venues including the Birmingham Symphony Hall, St. David’s Hall in Cardiff, Belfast Waterfront Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Lincoln Centre in New York, and Tivoli Koncertsalen in Copenhagen.

Young-Choon Park has also participated in many international music festivals and has performed with many leading orchestras in Europe. She gives regular recitals in Ireland.

Wed 1st August at 1.05pm

St. Iberius Church, Wexford

Tickets: €12, €10 (concessions) & €5 students 

The Allegro String Quartet will perform works by Haydn, Philip Glass and Ravel. Peter O’Reilly tenor and Aoife O’Sullivan, piano will perform songs by Beethoven, Duparc, Rachmaninoff and Poulenc.


Allegro String Quartet

Áine Gallagher, violin  Éibhlín Ní Chathasaigh, violin

Suzanne Anglim, viola  Lioba Petrie, cello

 Programme –  Haydn: String Quartet no. 67 ‘skylark’   Philip Glass: String quartet no 3 Movements 1 & 4


Peter O’Reilly, tenor  Aoife O’Sullivan, piano

Programme – Ludwig Von Beethoven: An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98

 Henri Duparc: La vie antérieure

 Sergei Rachmaninoff:  Siren (Lilacs), Op. 21 no. 5

Zdes Khorosho‘, Op. 21 no. 7

Francis Poulenc: ‘C‘, from Deux poemes de Louis Aragon FP 122 no. 1

                             Les gars qui vont à la fête’, FP 117 no. 2



Áine Gallagher is a violin player from Dublin. She studied in the Conservatory of Music and Drama in Dublin and obtained a Diploma in Music Performance from Trinity College, London. In 2016 she graduated with a Masters Degree in Music and Media Technologies in Trinity College, Dublin.

She plays a variety of music including traditional Irish and swing jazz. She has competed in Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann on numerous occasions and performed with a gypsy jazz group for two years while she lived in Los Angeles. She continues to be an active performer and regularly plays with the City of Dublin Chamber Orchestra.  Áine is a regular contributor to Culture File on Lyric FM.

Éibhlín Ní Chathasaigh, violin is an architect based in Dublin. A former violin student of Adrian Petcu, Cork School of Music she continues to pursue her musical interests. Chamber music has been a passion since an early age, participating in Concorda Chamber Music courses in both Ireland and Italy. She has been a member of the City of Dublin Chamber Orchestra since 2014. 

Suzanne Anglim viola graduated from Trinity College Dublin and the Royal Irish Academy of Music with a Bachelor in Music Education degree in 2004.Since then she has regularly performed as a violinist and violist with chamber and orchestral groups throughout Ireland, including the City of Dublin Chamber Orchestra and Co-Orch. She is passionate about Music Education, completing a M. Ed in 2011. Suzanne currently works as an SEN teacher in Dublin.

Dublin born Lioba Petrie, cello studied in Dublin’s Conservatory of Music and Drama, graduating in 2000 with a diploma in instrumental teaching and then graduating from NUI Maynooth with a B.A. in music in 2001. Lioba is passionate about chamber music and is a member and manager of the Astral String Quartet and Stringology. As well as working as a freelance musician, Lioba is regularly engaged as a fixer for large and small ensembles.  Lioba has wide experience of composing and performing music for theatre and film. Most recently Lioba composed an alternative film score to Emer Reynolds’s award winning space documentary “The Farthest”, which was premiered at Spike cello Fest 2018. Lioba is a regularly performs and records with the prestigious RTE Concert Orchestra as well as The City of Dublin Chamber Orchestra

All four members of the quartet have attended the chamber music course in Termonfeckin.



Peter O’Reilly, tenor is a graduate of the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, where he was awarded a First Class Honours Bachelor of Music Degree. Whilst there, he studied with Emmanuel Lawler, with whom he is continuing his training. Peter has been an extremely successful prizewinner over recent years at the ESB Feis Ceoil, most recently winning the Cuisine de France John McCormack Bursary. He has also taken part in masterclasses with some of the world’s finest musicians, including Graham Johnson, Patricia Bardon, Brenda Hurley, and Benjamin Appl.

Previous notable engagements include two world premiere: the tenor soloist in Odran O Casaide’s Marbhna 1916, and a Landy Worker in Andrew Synnott’s Breakdown. Peter has also played leading roles for Lyric Opera Productions at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Buxton Opera House, and the Rathmines & Rathgar Musical Society in the National Concert Hall, Dublin. Peter has also featured as the tenor soloist for oratorios performed by Dublin County Choir, Culwick Choral Society, Tallaght Choral Society, and the Guinness Choir.


Dublin born pianist Aoife O’Sullivan studied at the College of Music with Frank Heneghan and later at the RIAM with Dr John O’Conor. She graduated from Trinity College Dublin with an honours degree in music. In September 1999 she began her studies as a Fulbright scholar at the Curtis Institute of Music, USA and in 2001 she joined the staff there for her final two years.

Aoife has played for masterclasses including those given by Malcolm Martineau, Ann Murray DBE, Sir Thomas Allen, Thomas Hampson, and Anna Moffo. Aoife worked on Zaide at the Britten Pears Young Artist Programme in June 2004 and then on Turn of the Screw for the Cheltenham Festival with Paul Kildea. She has appeared at the Wigmore Hall in concerts with Ann Murray (chamber versions of Mahler and Berg), Gweneth Ann Jeffers, Wendy Dawn Thompson and with Sinead Campbell Wallace. She was awarded the Geoffrey Parsons Trust Award in March 2005 for accompaniment of singers.

Aoife has worked on the music staff at Wexford Festival Opera, Opera Ireland, Irish National Opera and the National Opera Studio London.  Aoife is now based in Dublin and was on staff as repetiteur at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin in 2008/2009. Since January 2010 she has worked as a repetiteur and vocal coach at DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama.

Wed 25th July at 1.05pm

St. Iberius Church, Wexford

Tickets: €12, €10 (concessions) & €5 students 

A recital by students from the Royal Irish Academy of Music

Concerto di Donne


Ensemble Dagda presents

Clodagh Kinsella – soprano, Caitríona O’Mahony – baroque violin,

Norah O’Leary – baroque cello, Kieran Finnegan – harpsichord

This concert features works by 17th century female composers, many of which have never been heard in Ireland before. The title refers to the virtuosic all-female ensemble resident at the court of Duke Hercules of Ferrara in the sixteenth century. This ensemble inspired imitations across Italy and was a powerful starting point for women to develop musical careers over the coming century. Beginning with the sacred chant of the first woman composer to go down in history, Hildegard von Bingen, we hear music from women composers in all walks of life. The exquisite sacred music of cloistered nuns Leonarda, Perucona and Cesis gives way to the operatic cantata style of Versailles-trained Jacquet de la Guerre, the first woman to write an opera.  Francesca Caccini is usually mentioned in one breath with her famous father, Giulio, one of the foremost composers in the Second Pratica, while illegitimate Barbara Strozzi nevertheless went on to be one of the most influential vocal composers in Venice.

The Programme

Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179): ‘Antiphonae de spiritu sanctae’


Claudia Francesca Rusca (1593-1676): ‘Jubilate Deo’ from Motetti con strumenti. For violin, cantus and continuo


Isabella Leonarda: Motet ‘O anima mea’. For two canti and continuo


Élisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre (1665-1729): Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Major. For violin and continuo


Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677):‘Che si puo fare?’. For soprano & continuo

Jacquet de la Guerre – Excerpts from ‘Le sommeil d’Ulisse’ from Cantates Francoises Livre III. For soprano, violin/flute & continuo


Sulpitia Cesis (1577-after 1619): – Motet ‘Maria Magdalena’. For cantus & bassus


Francesca Caccini (1587-after 1641): Canzonetta ‘Fresche Aurette’ from Il Primo Libro delle Musiche. For soprano & continuo


Maria Xaviera Perucona (1652-after 1709): ‘O superbi mundi machina’from Sacri Concerti de Motetti

Ensemble Dagda

Bringing baroque music to vibrant life in the twenty-first century, Ensemble Dagda was formed in 2014 by Caitríona and Norah and its members have been brought together by a mutual love of early music and a desire to bring to life lesser heard works of the baroque era. Popular with audiences for their playful interpretations and engaging performances, in recent years they have championed lesser-heard works by seventeenth-century composers and in particular works by women composers of the Baroque era. The group has been invited to play in the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, East Cork Early Music Festival, ‘Finding a Voice’ Festival, Clonmel, and the Kaleidoscope Night Series, Dublin. In varied incarnations its members have played in the Encanto Salon Music Festival Helsinki, in the American Irish Historical Society New York, the Liszt Academy Budapest, the National Gallery of Ireland, and Dublin Castle.  They take their name from Irish mythology, and were inspired by the magical harp which was played by Dagda, the king of the Tuatha de Danann.

Hailing from Cork, Caitríona O’Mahony graduated in 2014 with a first class honours BMus from the Cork School of Music, where she was a student of Ruxandra Petcu-Colan, Marja Gaynor and Simon Aspell. She subsequently studied for two years with Walter Reiter and Kati Debretzeni in the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and was then awarded scholarships to continue her studies in Ireland.

Caitríona has had the pleasure of playing with baroque orchestras including Camerata Kilkenny and the Orchestra of the 18th Century (Student Scheme), and with soloists including Dame Emma Kirkby, Mark Padmore, and Maya Homburger. She has been a member of the Cork Baroque Orchestra since its foundation. With a particular passion for chamber music, she has been invited to play in the West Cork Chamber Music and East Cork Early Music Festivals, and has won first prizes in the Vanbrugh Quartet Chamber Music Competition and East Cork Early Music Young Ensembles’ Competition.

Kieran Finnegan, pianist and harpsichordist, began his studies at the age of nine with Frederiek Biesma in his hometown, Kenmare. He completed his BMus in the Cork School of Music [CSM], graduating with First Class Honours in 2014. He has been highly commended in the CSM‘s Piano Accompaniment Competition and in the Advanced Recital Competition, and commended in the Senior Concerto Competition. He has also had success in competitions such as Féile an tSamhraidh and Feis Maitiú. Studying harpsichord with Pauline MacSweeney since 2010, Kieran is an avid continuo player, and has played in Vanbrugh Camerata alongside members of the Vanbrugh Quartet. His Baroque chamber music group, The Riva Quartet, won the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet Chamber Music Competition in 2013. He has also participated in the East Cork Early Music Festival and has played in the Cork Baroque Orchestra at the Cork Choral Festival 2015. He has been a member of Ensemble Dagda since its foundation in 2015.

Norah O’Leary holds a Masters of Performance of Early Music from the Sibelius Akatemia of the University of Fine Arts, Helsinki. She is the recipient of a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance from the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM) under the tutelage of William Butt. She began her studies at the age of four with both Olwen Lewis and Heather Boxwell in the Wexford School of Music and at the age of eleven was accepted on a full scholarship to study both the cello and clarinet in the Royal Irish Academy of Music. In 2006 she received a Diploma in Music Teaching and Performance, and now also holds the Teacher’s Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music.  In the final year of her undergraduate studies Norah became a keen advocate of Historically Informed Practice and soon became the newest member of Respicio, an early music specialist ensemble and ensemble in residence with Opera Antiqua.

In 2014 Norah commenced her studies for a Masters in Early Music at the renowned Sibelius Academy (SibA) in Helsinki, Finland. She made her debut as a soloist with the SibA Baroque Orchestra within her first semester there and was consequently offered collaboration projects with Concerto Copenhagen and the Royal Danish Academy of Music. In January 2015, Norah was accepted as cellist with the Nordic Baroque Orchestra where she worked closely with leading baroque specialists. She has filled the position of Assistant Artistic Manager with West Cork Chamber Music Festival (WCCMF) and been awarded the position of continuo cellist with WCCMF’s Baroque master class scheme as a member of Bantry Baroque in collaboration with Concerto Copenhagen. Most recently, Norah was accepted on full scholarship to the Vadstena Opera and Baroque Dance Residency programme in Sweden for their 2017/18 season. However she would like to state categorically that she is ‘not no faith boy emigrating’, this is just a temporary leave of absence which will not begin until June 2018.


Wed 18th July at 1.05pm

St. Iberius Church, Wexford

Tickets: €12, €10 (concessions) & €5 students

A recital by students from the Royal Irish Academy of Music


The secret of improvisation

Shahab Coohe: Santoor

Shayan Coohe: Tar, Tombak and Daf


Shahab Coohe (Santoor)

Born into a family of music lovers, Shahab started his music education aged 7, under the direction of Majid Kiani, Pashang Kamrakr, two of the contemporary masters of the santoor (a trapezoid-shaped stringed instrument that pre-dates the Dulcimer and piano). He continued studying Persian classical music alongside Western classical music at the Tehran School of music until he moved to Ireland at the age of 17.  He also plays violin and is currently studying performance at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Shayan Coohe (Tar, Tombak)

Shayan started playing the Tombak under the direction of Master Arjang Kamkar at the age of seven and went on to study Tar (a plucked string instrument which pre-dates the lute and guitar). Shayan continued his studies at the Conservatoire of Music in Tehran aged 11. He also plays Daf, Setar and Tanbour and is currently studying Clarinet at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin.

The brothers have performed in different venues and festivals in Ireland such as Bray Jazz festival, the Silk Road festival, the National Opera House along with Zoe Conway, Kaleidoscope night series, Other Voices, Electric Picnic, Doolin Folk Festival, Éigse -Carlow Arts Festival, Hugh lane Gallery concert series  and many other solo improvisation recitals around the country. The brothers received a Deis recording Grant with the Irish Persian fusion band (Nava) who recently launched their album Tapestry at the National concert hall. This album with Nava has received a number of great reviews in Ireland and the UK and also from Songline magazine.

Some examples of traditional Persian instruments




The name comes from the name Shata- tantric, meaning a Veena of hundred strings. Traditionally, it consists of a hollow box with twenty five bridges, each having four strings resting on it. It is played with the help of two wooden mallets known as mezrabs.



Iranians consider this to be the “sultan of instruments.” Its present form was developed in 18th century and has been the choice of Persian classical masters since. It has a double-bowl body of mulberry or walnut wood with a lambskin face. The fingerboard has 28 frets and the three double strings are played with a plectrum made of brass and honeycomb.



The Tombak, also referred to as Zarb, is a wooden goblet drum, which is the most frequently played percussion instrument in Persian folk music and the classical Persian music of Iran.



Daf is a kind of drum with Persian frame, which can be played in classical and popular music. Hardwood is used to make the frame, and ringlets of metal are attached to it, with goatskin being used for making the membrane surface. This instrument is found mostly in the regions of Iran, Kurdistan, Middle East, Pakistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan.