Cultural/Music Consultant

Cultural/Music Consultant

Thursday, 6 June 2019, 4.00pm

Invitation to Quote for a Feasibility Study and Project Plan for a proposed new RDS Instrument Loan Project

The Royal Dublin Society (RDS) wishes to engage an external consultant with relevant expertise and experience of the Irish cultural sector to undertake a piece of work related to the Society’s Philanthropic Arts Work Programme. The overarching goal of the programme is to provide a platform that supports the professional development of emerging artists in the areas of visual art, craft and classical music.

Background and context
The RDS is a philanthropic organisation which, since its establishment in 1731, has helped Ireland to thrive culturally and economically. Our commercial operations are the primary funding mechanism for this mission which we achieve by helping each new generation fulfil its potential in different areas of interest.

There is a great history of music in the RDS with the first regular music recitals beginning here in 1886. The RDS Concert Hall in Ballsbridge dates to 1925. Many acclaimed musicians have performed on this stage over the years which was, for decades, the premier venue for classical music in Dublin. Today, the focus of the RDS Arts Work Programme is to provide a platform to help students to transition into early professional career in the areas of music, craft and visual art. We run a music programme annually which comprises bursary and performance opportunities for talented classically trained young musicians.

The annual RDS Music Bursary is valued at €15,000 and in addition to the cash prize it comes with two professional performance engagements for the winner – one with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the second in London courtesy of an RDS partnership with Irish Heritage. In 2017, a second award of €5,000 called the RDS Jago Award, which comes with a performance engagement with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, was added as part of the Bursary Programme. For more information see:

The aim of the RDS Rising Stars Concerts is a simple one; to showcase new talent in Irish classical music. We provide an audience and a venue for some of the most talented young instrumentalists and singers in Ireland’s conservatories of music to help them gain valuable performance experience. Since 2017 the RDS has partnered with each of the three leading conservatories of music in Ireland – The Royal Irish Academy of Music, DIT Conservatory of Music & Drama and CIT Cork School of Music. Each college curates and programmes a concert which showcases their best current students and recent graduates. These concerts are free to attend and are open to all. Audiences average 450 – 500 in general. For more information see

In November 2018 for the first time, we partnered with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra who showcased the talents of one of the beneficiaries of our RDS Music Bursary Programme in 2017 in the RDS Concert Hall. Miriam Kaczor (flautist), the inaugural winner of the €5,000 RDS Jago Award in 2017 received a professional engagement as part of that award with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

The Proposed New Project
The RDS now wishes to further deepen its support for the professional development of our most promising string players. The limited availability of top-quality stringed instruments has resulted in some highly talented violinists and cellists rehearsing, auditioning and performing on instruments which ill-match their needs and abilities. The Society would like to investigate the purchasing of top-quality stringed instruments (violin and cello), possibly with accompanying bows, which would be made available to exceptionally promising instrumentalists through a competitive process for a fixed period of up to five years. The intention is to assist and accelerate their progression into the profession at the highest levels.

Typically, a limited number of good quality stringed instruments are made available to promising students while they attend leading Irish music colleges. However, the students are obliged to forfeit these instruments when they leave to study elsewhere or pursue career opportunities. High quality stringed instruments are prohibitively expense to purchase and so students’ development can suffer due to their inability to source instruments commensurate with their abilities and promise.  

Specific Requirements of the Evaluation
A thorough data gathering, and consultation process will be required for this report that will involve the following key elements:

  • Work closely with RDS staff and voluntary officers in the data collection process.
  • Examine and understand the history of music in the RDS and of the strategic priorities in the RDS Arts Programme.
  • Consultation with key stakeholders in classical music in Ireland – particularly those involved in fostering young talent.
  • Research into reports and existing comparable models of instrument loan schemes for talented young musicians in Ireland and elsewhere, including outlining details of eligibility criteria, duration of loan arrangements, any associated performnce opportunities, and also any support of recipients following instrument retrieval (at the end of the loan arrangement)
  • Investigate and make recommendations on the best methods for  instrument acquisition, on-going insurance and maintenance, based on best international practice. This may involve engagement with international instrument acquisition agencies.
  • Evaluate the impact on career development for those who have access to a fine instrument for a period of time.
  • Examine the best process for assessing candidates and for awarding such instruments, including outlining examples of international practice in this.
  • Production of a comprehensive report with recommendations.
  • It is expected that the consultant will spend roughly 20 days working on this project.

Next steps
Suitable consultants are now invited to submit proposals to undertake this music related evaluation report. Proposals should include the following:

  • Evidence of relevant experience and expertise
  • Detailed methodology including timeframe
  • Two references
  • Costs (Fees quoted should be inclusive of VAT)

Assessment of Tenders
Tenders will be assessed based on relevant experience and expertise, understanding of and capacity to deliver the brief, overall quality of proposal and value for money. Please note the RDS reserves the right not to award any of the quotations received.

The deadline for receipt of proposals is: 4pm, Thursday June 6, 2019. Interviews may be held if necessary. It is expected that the research should take no more than 6 weeks and that the final evaluation report will be delivered by the appointed consultant before the end of August 2019.

Any queries for further information should be made to:

Dara O’Leary
Arts Programme Manager
RDS, Anglesea Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.
Tel: 01 2407255
Email: dara [at]


Published on 15 May 2019

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