Peter Whelan Appointed Artistic Director of Irish Baroque Orchestra

Peter Whelan

Peter Whelan Appointed Artistic Director of Irish Baroque Orchestra

Bassoonist to take up new role in January 2018.

Bassoonist Peter Whelan has been appointed as the new Artistic Director of the Irish Baroque Orchestra. 

Whelan succeeds baroque violinist Monica Huggett who will assume the the role of Artistic Director Emeritus next year.

Whelan has been principal bassoonist of the IBO since 2002 and in recent years has established himself as a musical director and harpsichordist also. In recent years his work has focussed on the discovery and resurgence of eighteenth-century Irish music and reconnecting Irish audiences with their classical music past.

Last August, he was awarded a major Arts Council award for a project titled ‘Rediscovering 18th-century Irish State Music from Dublin Castle: Ireland’s first Art Music’.

Whelan holds a number of professorships at UK conservatories including Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Royal Northern College of Music.

Commenting on the announcement, Whelan said:

I first performed with IBO in 2002 and have come to consider these musicians to be my musical family. Together we have shared countless firsts and musical highlights and I hope to continue this trajectory in my new role as Artistic Director.

In recent years the main focus of my work has been to explore forgotten music of eighteenth-century Ireland, proving that Handel’s visit was the crowning glory of many years of musical excellence rather than an isolated incident and that Ireland has a more deeply ingrained heritage in classical music than many realise.

We have much to be proud of and I am very excited to continue this journey, sharing our discoveries not only with our audience at home but also championing this music abroad. 

Peter Whelan will directs IBO’s annual tour of Handel’s Messiah this December, at National Opera House Wexford (7 December), St Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin (8 December), and Galway Cathedral (9 December). 

Artistic mission
Commenting on future developments, CEO Cian Elliott said:

We are at an exciting time in the orchestra’s development and are creating ambitious plans for the orchestra, both home and abroad. Peter’s main area of expertise and research focusses on connecting Ireland with its musical past and this will be a key strand of our artistic mission in the coming years. 

Established in 1996, Irish Baroque Orchestra is funded annually by the Arts Council, Dublin City Council and the National Concert Hall where they are a resident company. 

Chairman of the IBO Paul Harwood added that ‘Given Peter’s artistic credentials and his close connections to IBO, he is well served to build on the excellent work done by Monica Huggett over the last number of years. We look forward to entering this next chapter in IBO’s history.’

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Published on 30 November 2017

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