Some of our past pupils

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Sarah Brady (Meath)

Sarah Brady

A graduate from our 2012 class and currently undertaking post-graduate studies at the RIAM, Sarah Brady is emerging as one of Ireland’s highly acclaimed young sopranos.  Sarah is a multiple prizewinner, and in 2014 she won five solo competitions at the Electric Ireland Feis Ceoil in Dublin.  Recently she has performed as a soloist in Handel’sMessiah and Dixit Dominus and has also given recitals in The National Concert Hall and The Mansion House for the John McCormack Society.  She has also made recent solo appearances in the world of opera, and was guest soloist in RTE’s televised Christmas Carol Service from Kilkenny Castle in December 2014.

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Gavan Ring (Kerry)  

Gavan Ring

Having spent 5 years at the Schola Cantorum,Dr Gavan Ring read Education and Music at St Patrick’s College, Dublin and after post-graduate studies at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, trained at the National Opera Studio in London.  He was a Jerwood Young Artist at the 2012 Glyndebourne Festival Opera, second prize winner at the 2013 Wigmore Hall International Song competition and won the Southbank Sinfonia Award for Orchestral Song.

Gavan is currently a much sought-after baritone soloist for operas and oratorios throughout Ireland and the UK.  At the 2014 Glyndebourne Festival, Gavan came to the attention of the press when he sang Nardo at the opening night of Mozart La Finta Giardiniera at short notice prompting Michael Church to write in The Independent “…a coruscating offstage performance by his cover Gavan Ring deservedly stole the show.”

David Coonan (Kildare)

David Coonan

David Coonan, a very highly-regarded Irish-born composer, is currently based in London. He has recently been selected as a featured composer for the 2015 RTE National Symphony Orchestra Horizons Contemporary Music Series.  Sarcasms for orchestra(2014) will be premiered in Dublin’s National concert Hall in early 2015.

Coonan’s work is driven by a notion of creative recycling, and his all-embracing musical curiosity has led to a body of compositions mindful of many diverse musical influences. From the Horn Trios of Brahms and Ligeti, to the ballads of Edith Piaf, his work plays on, and plays with, the many different musical ideas, works, genres, and styles that excite his imagination.

David O’Leary (Ossory)

David O’Leary

Violinist David O’Leary holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from London’s Royal Academy of Music and completed a Masters of Music at the Royal Northern College of Music. David has won numerous prizes at Feis Ceoil, RIAM Festival and Kilkenny Music Festival.  He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician at venues including Wigmore Hall London, Dublin’s National Concert Hall and at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival in Bantry. David is currently a member of the Orchestra of English National Opera. He has also performed with some of the UK and Ireland’s leading orchestras including the Halle Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Welsh National Opera, Manchester Camerata, Camerata Ireland, Wexford Festival Opera Orchestra and RTE National Symphony and Concert Orchestras.

Mark O’Leary (Ossory)

Mark O’Leary

While studying piano and organ at the Schola Cantorum, Mark spent eight years studying the double bass with Dominic Dudley at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. During this time he went on to win numerous awards at Feis Ceoil, RIAM and Kilkenny Music Festivals. In 2007, Mark was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study American music in Northeastern University in Boston. He also performed at the BBC Proms and at Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York. Currently living in London, Mark has a busy and varied freelance career, regularly working with various orchestras and ensembles including RTE National Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Camerata Ireland, English National Opera and Wexford Festival Opera.

Eamonn Mulhall

Eamonn Mulhall (Ferns)  

Eamonn Mulhall

After graduating from The Schola Cantorum, Irish tenor Eamonn Mulhall studied Music and French Literature in Dublin before continuing his studies at the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio in London. He is a highly accomplished baroque and classical oratorio soloist.   In May 2011 Eamonn debuted at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in the world première of James MacMillan’s Clemency.  Recent projects include a recording of Victor Herbert’s operetta Eileen and concerts in Liverpool with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.  He made his debut at Scottish Opera with Clemency, and was tenor soloist in St. John’s Passion and The Creation in Dublin. He also recorded Jerome Kern’s operetta Roberta for Chapter Productions. Eamonn played the title role in Ľubica Čekovská’s new opera Dorian Gray in Bratislava, the world premiere of Metcalf’s Under Milk Wood in Cardiff, Damon in Händel’s Aci and Galatea with Mid Wales Opera and Jacob Schmidt in The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny in Dublin.   He made his debut at the Wexford Festival in Mariotte’s Salomé and as Ramiro in La Cenerentola. He will also return to Bratislava as Dorian Gray, a role he will also sing for his debut in Prague in 2015.

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Adrian Scahill (Tuam)

Adrian Scahill

Dr Adrian Scahill is currently a lecturer in ethnomusicology in the Department of Music, NUI Maynooth. A first-class honours graduate of Maynooth, where he completed a Masters in Performance and Musicology (piano), followed by a Masters in Music Technology at Queen’s University, Belfast. His PhD, on accompaniment in Irish traditional music, was completed at UCD in 2005.

As part of the largest research project undertaken on music in Ireland, Adrian was subject editor for traditional music for theEncycopaedia of Music in Ireland (2013), and was also a major contributor to the volume, writing more than forty articles. Other publications include articles on Irish traditional music and the seventeenth century in Irish Musical Studies 10 (2009), and onRiverdance in Music and the Irish Imagination (2013). He has presented papers at conferences and given invited lectures both in Ireland and abroad, and in 2013 was chair of the organising committee for the Tenth Anniversary Plenary Conference of the Society for Musicology in Ireland.

Declan Daly

Declan Daly (Clogher)

Declan Daly  

After graduating from The Schola Cantorum, violinist Declan Daly studied initially in Dublin, then subsequently in London, Manchester, and the Netherlands.  Declan moved to the UK where he began performing with many renowned orchestras, including St Martin-in-the-Fields, The Royal Philharmonic and the Philharmonia of London.

In recent years, Declan founded two ensembles, Ava Strings and The Zenoria Trio, covering a broad genre of music, from Classical, Tango, Jazz and traditional Folk music.  He has a particular interest in improvisation, working with artists such as Nitin Sawney, Ravi Shankar and the band Goldfrapp. He has also worked on many film scores (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter).

Declan continues to perform with UK and European Orchestras as a freelance violinist, with regular concerts for the Bath Philharmonic and Leader with the Orchestra of London.

Andrew Synnott pianoAndrew Synnott (Meath)

Andrew Synnott

Having graduated from TCD in 1992, Dr Andrew Synnott has been working since as a conductor, composer, arranger, repetiteur, vocal coach and accompanist at the highest level in Ireland and abroad. He has worked with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Opera Ireland and Opera Theatre Company.  Andrew has been writing music for two decades for professional dance and theatre companies in Ireland and England including the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Andrew’s compositions have been performed in many countries including Sweden, France, Great Britain, Finland and the USA. His recently-composed opera Breakdown formed the core of his doctoral studies.  Andrew is a founder and former artistic director of the Crash Ensemble and as such has been an important figure in the development of new music in modern Ireland.

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Ronan McDonagh (Achonry)

Ronan McDonagh

Ronan McDonagh is one of Ireland’s foremost composers of Liturgical Music today. Since 1990, Ronan has held the full-time position of Organist and Director of Music at St Teresa’s Church (Carmelite), Clarendon Street, Dublin.  In recent years he has become widely known as a composer of liturgical music. His compositions include instrumental music, Mass settings, unison hymns and psalms, homophonic and polyphonic choral pieces, and challenging contemporary motets for advanced choirs. Many of his compositions have been published in Ireland by Veritas and Carmelite Publications, while GIA (Gregorian Institute of America) has published some of his choral works in the United States.  Ronan also lectures in Liturgical Music Composition at the Pontifical University, Maynooth.

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Frank Lawrence (Waterford) 

Frank Lawrence

Dr Frank Lawrence is currently a lecturer in The School of Music at UCD.  His teaching includes courses in general musicianship and music history, as well as more specialised courses in medieval and Renaissance vocal music. Dr Lawrence holds degrees in Music and Modern Irish, Theology, Chant Performance and Medieval Musicology. His doctoral dissertation was a study of the oldest extant notated musical source from Ireland – a mid-twelfth century Gradual written at Lismore. Frank’s principal research is on Western medieval liturgical.

David Mooney

David Mooney (Elphin)

David Mooney

Dr David Mooney is Head of Keyboard Studies at DIT’s Conservatory of Music and Drama. He won many prizes in piano and organ, including Feis Ceoil, and was a finalist in the RTE Young Musician of the Future.  He has a particular commitment to teacher education which led him to initiate a full-time diploma course for instrumental and vocal teachers (which has been subsumed into the BMus programme). He is an experienced accompanist, examiner and adjudicator and a world-appointed judge for the WPTA Competition. Dr Mooney has contributed to the latest edition of theNew Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the Encyclopedia of Ireland and the Encyclopedia of Music in Ireland.

In recent years, David has also gained a reputation as a successful choral arranger whose works are performed throughout the US and Europe. He is currently Chairman of the Electric Ireland Feis Ceoil and Chairman of The Friends of Mabel and Ronald Swainson.

John O’Keeffe (Kerry)

John O’Keeffe

Dr John O’Keeffe is currently Director of Sacred Music in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth and Director of Choral Groups at Maynooth’s National University. Editor of the liturgical music collection Feasts and Seasons he is a member of the Irish Episcopal Advisory Committee on Church Music, and was actively involved in preparations relating to the revised musical texts of the third edition of the Roman Missal over recent years.  Dr O’Keeffe is co-director of the Masters Degree in Liturgical Music programme and is course convenor and teacher on the NUIM Diploma in Church Music, offered in conjunction with the National Centre for Liturgy.

Highly regarded as an organ recitalist, John’s interest in vernacular church music, together with plainchant and Irish traditional music are reflected in his 2007 doctoral dissertation, entitled Music and Text in the Mass Settings of Seán and Peadar Ó Riada: Models, Modes and Motifs.

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Harry White  (Dublin)

Harry White  

Harry White has occupied the Chair of Music at University College Dublin since 1993. Professor White has been a central figure in the development of musicology as a discipline in Irish intellectual life. In 1990 he became general editor (with Gerard Gillen) of Irish Musical Studies, of which ten volumes have been published to date, and he was general editor (with Barra Boydell) of the  Encyclopædia of Music in Ireland, which was published by UCD Press in July 2013.

He is perhaps best known as a cultural historian of music in Ireland. He has published over ninety scholarly  papers and book chapters in the course of his career thus far, and is currently writing a monograph on music in Vienna and Leipzig in the period 1700 to 1750.

Pádhraic Ó’Cuinneagáin  (Dublin)   

Pádhraic Ó Cuinneagáin

Pádhraic lectures in piano and academic studies at DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and is currently Programme Chair for the MMus programme.  His research interests include contemporary Irish piano music.  Pádhraic has performed at home and abroad in concert and on radio/television as soloist, accompanist and in chamber music, and has partnered some of Ireland’s most prominent instrumentalists and singers.  He has given first performances of works by many composers and has recorded many CDs.

Pádhraic has wide experience as an external examiner and has adjudicated at most music festivals throughout Ireland.  He has given lectures and masterclasses on piano repertoire, and has contributed to CMC and TCD publications of Irish contemporary piano music. He is a member of EPTA (Ireland), and is Vice-Chairman and a member of the Executive Committee of Feis Ceoil.

Donal Doherty (Derry)

 Donal Doherty

Donal Doherty is currently Head of Music Services at the Western Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland.  He has extensive expertise in Choral conducting and directs/has directed several choirs in Northern Ireland, including Codetta, and the City of Derry Civic Choirs. He is a former Director of Music at St Eugene’s Cathedral and former Head of Music at St Columb’s College, Derry. Dónal is a regular adjudicator at music and choral festivals throughout the country and has served as an executive member of the National Association of Music Educators and on the editorial board of the British Journal of Music Education. He is a board member of the Ulster Youth Orchestra and Ulster Youth Choir.

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Conor Biggs  (Dublin)

Conor Biggs


Bass soloist, Conor Biggs lives in Belgium where he is regularly in demand as a soloist in oratorio and recital. He has sung the standard oratorio repertoire in Ireland, Britain, France, Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium. He enjoys particular renown for his interpretation of art song. His performances of the art song or Lieder repertoire with pianist Pádhraic Ó Cuinneagáin in Ireland and Belgium have received great critical acclaim. . Conor Biggs’ repertoire of more than 300 songs includes song cycles by Schubert, Schumann, Beethoven, Mahler, Shostakovitch, Mussorgsky, Poulenc, Brahms, Copland, Milhaud, Ravel, Eliott Carter, Kevin O’Connell and James Wilson. Conor Biggs has made solo recordings for Sony, Eufoda, Vox Temporis and Ars Sonor. His CD of Tchaikovsky songs with accompanist Pádhraic Ó Cuinneagáin was released on the Heliopolis label in March 2005. He has also made solo broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, RTE radio and television, Dutch television and Belgian radio and television.

Kevin O’Carroll (Waterford)

Kevin O’Carroll

Having undertaken specialist postgraduate studies in the USA, Kevin is highly regarded today as one of our leading authorities in Conducting in this country.  Through Workshops, Consultancy and Performance, Kevin’s aim is to assist the conductor or performer to achieve their potential.

Kevin has written the first book on Choral Conducting which is specifically for the Irish conductor.  The book deals with the situation as we find it on the ground and is suitable for new or experienced conductors.

Shane Brennan (Elphin)

Shane Brennan

Shane Brennan works as Arts Education Officer for the Midland region.  A jury member at many Irish Choral Festivals, he has adjudicated at the Cork International Choral Festival on six occasions, in 2010, as a member of the International Jury.

As an organ recitalist Shane has played at organ festivals in Ireland, UK, Lithuania, Russia and Sweden. He has performed regularly at the International Summer Series, St. Michael’s, Dun Laoghaire since his debut there in July 1979. He has recorded a CD on the magnificent Frobenius organ at Tullamore, Co Offaly.