Latest Appointments and Awards in Music (March 2023)

Finghin Collins has been appointed as the new Artistic Director of the Dublin International Piano Competition.

Latest Appointments and Awards in Music (March 2023)

A round-up of recent appointments and awards with news from Dublin International Piano Competition, Glór, Corn Uí Chon Cheanainn, Irish Film & Television Academy, Clonmel Junction Arts Festival, Birr Festival of Music, Irish World Academy of Music and Dance and more.

The Dublin International Piano Competition (DIPC) has announced the appointment of pianist Finghin Collins as its new Artistic Director. He succeeds John O’Conor, the organisation’s first Artistic Director who held the role for 36 years.

Collins is one of Ireland’s best-known classical musicians. He studied at the Royal Irish Academy of Music with O’Conor and at the Geneva Conservatoire with Dominique Merlet, winning first prize at the Clara Haskil International Piano Competition in Switzerland in 1999. He has performed solo and with many ensembles and orchestras across Ireland, Europe, the US and the Far East and also works as a programmer, commissioner and concert presenter. He has served as the Artistic Director of the New Ross Piano Festival since 2006 and as Artistic Director with Music for Galway since 2013. He will chair the jury of the Clara Haskil International Piano Competition in Switzerland in 2023 and 2025.

Commenting on his appointment, Collins said:

I pay tribute to my predecessor John O’Conor for all the hard work and dedication he has devoted to the Competition, alongside his co-founders Ann Fuller, Laurie Cearr and the late Ida Delamer. I will do my very best to write the next chapter in the DIPC’s story together with Adrienne Carolan and a new Assistant Administrator who will be appointed in the coming weeks. 

The next Competition will take place in May 2025 and in the intervening years we hope to organise many events to keep the Competition active and present in people’s minds. We look forward to having Yukine Kuroki, the brilliant winner of the 2022 Competition, back in Ireland many times to remind us of her dazzling talent. 

For more, visit


Glór in Ennis has announced the appointment of Marie O’Byrne as the company’s new Director. O’Byrne, originally from Ennis, will commence her role at Glór in June 2023 and joins the organisation from the Hawk’s Well Theatre in Sligo, where she has served as Director since 2011. 

With over two decades of experience in the arts and culture sectors, O’Byrne’s 12-year tenure at the Hawk’s Well Theatre focused on producing and presenting a range of performances. She produced several large-scale performance projects, including a co-production with Fidget Feet aerial dance company titled The Second Coming and commissioned the multi-award-winning plays The Man in the Woman’s Shoes and I Hear You and Rejoice by Mikel Murfi.

O’Byrne previously served at Glór as a traditional arts programmer and has worked in technical and production capacities with festivals such as Open House Festival Belfast, Éigse Carlow and Doolin Folk Festival.  

Commenting on her appointment, she said: 

I am honoured and delighted to be taking on the role of Director at Glór. I am excited to return, not just to my hometown of Ennis, but to a venue I spent many happy years in previously, working in the areas of traditional arts and production. I am also thrilled at the prospect of working with the great team at Glór in continuing to embed the venue further in the hearts of Clare’s diverse communities and connecting and collaborating with the rich artistic community in the county.

For more, visit  


Evan Ó Gríofa, a student at the University of Galway, has won the 2023 Corn Uí Chon Cheanainn sean-nós singing competition for third-level students. Joint second-place winners were Domhnall Ó Braonáin and Rónán Ó Conghaile, and in third place was Róisín Seoighe. 

The competition took place at Áras na Gaeilge at the University of Galway on Saturday 11 March. 

Corn Uí Chon Cheanainn is dedicated to the memory of the sean-nós singer and scholar Ciarán Ó Con Cheanainn who was from An Spidéal, Co. Galway. Ó Con Cheanainn was pursuing his PhD when he tragically passed away in February 2009. He won many sean-nós singing competitions,  including Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, Corn Mháire Mhic Dhonnchadha and Sean-nós na bhFear, and was the youngest person to win the prestigious Corn Uí Riada, which he received at Oireachtas na Samhna in 2008.


The Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) has announced the 2023 IFTA Nominations across 28 categories in film and drama.

Nominated in the Original Music category is Stephen Rennicks for Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, Daithí for Lakelands, Irene and Linda Buckley for Nothing Compares, Colm Mac Con Iomaire for Róise & Frank, and Sarah Lynch for The Dry. 

The upcoming 20th Anniversary IFTA Awards Ceremony, hosted by Deirdre O’Kane, will take place on 7 May at the Dublin Royal Convention Centre and will be broadcast on RTÉ.  

For more, visit

Clonmel Junction Arts Festival has commissioned composer Roger Doyle to write a new piece for the 2023 festival. Titled In The Dreemplace, the composition is inspired by Finnegans Wake and will premiere at the festival on 2 July with a performance by violinist Aoife Ni Bhriain.

Doyle has also just released a new record, Finnegans Wake – Suite Of Affections Volume 2, which is available on Bandcamp.

For more, visit 


Composer and pianist Laura Heneghan has been named the winner of this year’s Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition. Heneghan’s composition, Draíocht na Farraige, will receive its world premiere from the Chamber Choir Ireland at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral on 28 April as part of the Cork International Choral Festival.

Her composition was chosen by a judging panel including composer and singer Eoghan Desmond, composer Rhona Clarke and Sofi Jeannin, Guest Director of Chamber Choir Ireland. The panel said the piece ‘shows a consistent style with a sensitive handling of this beautiful Irish text. It demonstrates the composer’s fluency in choral writing.’

Commenting on her win, Heneghan said:

It is an incredible opportunity, and I am looking forward to working with [Chamber Choir Ireland] closely as the festival draws closer! ‘Draíocht na Farraige’ (The Magic of the Sea) is a poem derived from the book Trócaire Dé agus Dánta Eile by the late Maria Goretti Ní Fhéinne. The poet discusses the Spiddal seaside in County Galway in a beautifully descriptive way, and I thought this imagery could be greatly enhanced by a choir.

The annual competition is a collaboration between the Cork International Choral Festival and Chamber Choir Ireland. The competition was established in 1972 to honour the life and work of Seán Ó Riada.

For more, visit


Birr Festival of Music has appointed pianist and conductor Niall Kinsella as Artistic Curator for 2023. He has curated three concerts for the festival, taking place from 27 April to 1 May. The three concerts include the Opening Night Gala at Birr Theatre & Arts Centre, A Lunchtime of Song at The Chestnut Garden, and Music in Birr Castle. 

For more, visit


Muireann Kelly has been appointed as the new Artistic Director of the Irish-language theatre company Fíbín, which is in residence at An Taibhdhearc theatre in Galway. She succeeds Philip Doherty who was with the company for four years.

Originally from County Mayo, Kelly studied drama at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Gàidhlig at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. Prior to joining Fíbín she was the founder and Artistic Director of Theatre Gu Leòr, a Glasgow-based theatre company that regularly toured nationally and internationally. 

Commenting on her appointment, Kelly said:

I am passionate about making and developing theatre in Irish and other minoritised languages and very much looking forward to taking on the post of Artistic director of Fíbín sa Taibhdhearc, the national Irish-language theatre in Galway. I hope that in the years ahead, Fíbín sa Taibhdhearc will become a home and a creative space for all artists working in theatre in Irish, where their work can develop and flourish. 

For more, visit


The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick has announced the appointment of Dr Breandan de Gallaí, former principal dancer of Riverdance, as Director of Blas International Summer School of Irish Traditional Music and Dance.

The 27th Blas Summer School is scheduled to take place from 19 to 30 June.

Dr de Gallaí is a choreographer, dancer and dance scholar who is the Course Director of the BA Irish Dance and the MA Irish Traditional Dance Performance programme at the Irish World Academy.

The summer school offers students from around the world aged 16 and over access to some of Ireland’s finest musicians, singers, and dancers. In previous years this has included Dónal Lunny, Paul Brady, Zoë Conway, Siobhán Peoples, Martin Hayes,and more.

Commenting on his appointment, Dr de Gallaí said:  

I am delighted and honoured to be appointed to this important position. Whilst Blas will be the enriching and enjoyable summer school it has always been, providing world-class teaching and performances, my team and I have exciting plans and cannot wait to welcome this year’s cohort of musicians and dancers to the Irish World Academy. 

For more, visit

For February 2023 appointments and awards in music, see here

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Published on 23 March 2023

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