Latest Music Appointments and Awards (March 2024)

Lankum – winners of the RTÉ Choice Music Prize Irish Album of the Year. (Photo: Graham Keogh)

Latest Music Appointments and Awards (March 2024)

A round-up of recent appointments and awards in music, compiled by Shannon McNamee, with news from the RTÉ Choice Music Prize; University of Galway; Cork International Choral Festival; First Music Contact; Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship; and Glyndebourne.

The RTÉ Choice Music Prize winners were announced last Thursday 7 March at an event at Vicar Street. Lankum won Irish Album of the Year for their fourth album False LankumCian Ducrot won Irish Song of the Year for ‘Heaven’, Jazzy was awarded Irish Artist of the Year and Irish Breakthrough Artist, and U2 received the Classic Irish Album award for Achtung Baby

The event was hosted by Tracy Clifford and broadcast live on RTÉ 2FM. The awards featured performances from a number of the nominees including CMAT, Soda Blonde, The Murder Capital, Kojaque, John Francis Flynn, Rachael Lavelle and Lankum. 


The Centre for Irish Studies at the University of Galway has appointed Mairéad Ní Fhlatharta as sean-sós singer-in-residence for 2024. As part of her residency, Ní Fhlatharta will deliver a series of free public workshops.

From Baile an tSléibhe in An Spidéal in Conamara, Ní Fhlatharta studied sean-nós from a young age at An Gaelacadamh and was influenced by local singers Pat Phádraic Tom Ó Conghaile and Peatsaí Ó Ceannabháin as well as Seosamh Ó hÉanaí and Darach Ó Catháin.

Mairéad Ní Fhlatharta

‘The living link with the sean-nós song tradition and other aspects of the vernacular arts of the Conamara Gaeltacht are a key element of the work we do here,’ said Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartháin, Head of Irish Studies. ‘We have had the privilege of working with some of the finest exponents of the Gaeltacht arts since this scheme was established 20 years ago and I have no doubt that Mairéad Ní Fhlatharta will make a significant contribution to that distinguished tradition.’


Anselm McDonnell has been announced as the winner of the 2024 Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition, a partnership between the Cork International Choral Festival and Chamber Choir Ireland.

McDonnell’s winning piece Gallagher, inspired by guitarist Rory Gallagher, will receive its world premiere at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork on 3 May as part of the festival. The Belfast-based composer, with author Tim MacGhabhann, composed the homage during a residency at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris, integrating quotations from Gallagher’s music with the imagery of MacGhabhann’s poetry. 

Anselm McDonnell 

‘I’m looking forward to working with Chamber Choir Ireland again, as they bring such a rich sound and interpretive nuance to new compositions,’ said McDonnell. ‘I’m excited that the work’s premiere will be part of the Cork International Choral Festival, especially given the close link between Gallagher and Cork, his childhood home and burial place.’

The Seán Ó Riada Competition was founded in 1972. Previous winners include Solfa Carlile, Rhona Clarke, Patrick Connolly, Frank Corcoran, Séamas de Barra, Eoghan Desmond, Amanda Feery, Dónal Sarsfield, James May, Peter Leavy, ​​Daragh Black Hynes, and last year’s winner, Laura Heneghan.


First Music Contact has announced the appointment of James Byrne as its new Information Officer. Byrne has previous experience in A&R, artist management, producing and radio, as well as his through his label and management company Any Other City, working with Irish artists Gilla Band, James Vincent McMorrow and Villagers

He is also a drummer and has performed with acts such as singer-songwriter SOAK and as part of indie band Villagers.

James Byrne

Commenting on Byrne’s appointment, First Music Contact CEO Angela Dorgan said:

At a crucial moment for the development of opportunities for professionalising musicians at First Music Contact, it is great to welcome James Byrne to the FMC family. James’ role will help us to better serve the sector as he takes over our weekly consultancies with artists for which there is always huge demand. James will also help us further develop our Regional Development Plan and help us bring support, professional development and planning to musicians and their teams in each county of Ireland in collaboration with local Arts Offices.


The Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship in the USA has announced Irish conductor Karen Ní Bhroin as one of its award recipients for 2024–26. The Fellowship provides a number of supports for female conductors including performance opportunities. 

Karen Ní Bhroin

A music education graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Ní Bhroin earned her Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting at Kent State University, Ohio, where she studied with Dr Jungho Kim. She conducts in both Europe and America and this season makes her debut with the London Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Viva in the UK, and will work again with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Manchester Camerata having made her debut with them all last season. In December, she conducted the Irish Chamber Orchestra with Ailish Tynan. She is also Music Director for an upcoming production of Éna Brennan’s Breathwork with Irish National Opera and this summer will make her debut at Bregenzer Festspiele with a new commission by Brennan.


Glyndebourne has announced Irish soprano Kathleen Nic Dhiarmada as one of the four singers selected for its Jerwood Young Artist Programme along with soprano Henna Mun and tenors George Curnow and Michael Lafferty. The initiative provides professional development to aspiring soloists from the Glyndebourne Chorus throughout the Glyndebourne season. Participants will gain experience working with leading figures in the industry including conductors, directors, choreographers, theatre specialists and vocal coaches.

Kathleen Nic Dhiarmada 

Nic Dhiarmada was a member of the Irish National Opera Young Artist Studio for the 2022/23 season and played the roles of Norina in Don Pasquale and Fiordiligi in Cosí fan tutte. 


For January appointments, see here.

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Published on 7 March 2024

Shannon McNamee is Assistant Editor of the Journal of Music.

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