New Appointments in Music (May 2020)

Dave Flynn

New Appointments in Music (May 2020)

A round up of recent appointments at Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Irish Traditional Music Archive, Britten Sinfonia and Wexford Festival Opera.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Music Network have announced composer, guitarist and director of the Irish Memory Orchestra Dave Flynn as the first of three Musicians-in-Residence for 2020.

The Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Musicians-in-Residence Scheme provides opportunities for performers and composers to develop and showcase new work and cultivate new artistic collaborations.

During the course of his residency Flynn will collaborate with musicians from the Guitar Training Centre in Dún Laoghaire and their tutor Ciaran Swift, to compose and perform a new composition for guitar ensemble. All of the collaborative and performance elements will take place online.

The Residency will culminate on Thursday 30 July at 7pm with the online premiere of the new work created during the residency.

Commenting on the news, Flynn said:

It’s wonderful to be appointed Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Musician-in-Residence. I was born and raised in the area and my deep connections there will inform my residency. I will be composing a cross-genre guitar ensemble piece called Dún Laoghaire Guitars, which I will perform with Ciaran Swift and some of his talented students from Dún Laoghaire’s Guitar Training Centre. Ciaran has been a great musical collaborator and friend for 25 years so it’s great to be working with him again.

Originally this was meant to involve a live concert at the DLR LexIcon, however we are adapting to the times by instead creating a video of the piece to premiere online. So whilst we hope to perform the piece live in Dún Laoghaire in the not too distant future, we look forward to the challenge of developing new ways of presenting new music to the public.

Previous Musicians-in-Residence have included Éamonn Cagney, Izumi Kimura, Lara Gallagher, Susan McKeown, Conor Linehan, Craig Cox, Sebastian Adams, The Eidola Trio, Elizabeth Hilliard and Grainne Mulvey, Matthew Jacobson and Métier.

For more, visit

Listen to an interview with Dave Flynn below in the latest podcast from the Contemporary Music Centre in which he discusses his work and the residency


Iarfhlaith Ó Domhnaill has been appointed Finance Manager at the Irish Traditional Music Archive. Ó Domhnaill will manage and develop the organisation’s financial systems and develop its fundraising and earning capacity.

From Inver in South West Donegal, Ó Domhnaill trained as an accountant with Walsh O’Brien Harnett before moving to KPMG. He worked there as an audit manager before departing in 2019 to advance his interests in television and digital media. Since then, he has directed and edited a documentary exploring the musical landscape of ‘Na Cruacha’, a valley in the Bluestack Mountains in County Donegal.

Ó Domhnaill has also served on the voluntary committee of Cairdeas na bhFidléirí, worked as a consultant and financial accountant at Na Píobairí Uilleann, and served as a Board Director and Treasurer at ITMA. He is a fiddle-player and has taught and performed in Ireland and internationally.

Ó Domhnaill will take up his new position in June.



Meurig Bowen has been appointed Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Britten Sinfonia, succeeding David Butcher.

Currently Head of Artistic Planning at BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, and previously Director of Cheltenham Music Festival for 10 years, Bowen will join Britten Sinfonia in Cambridge in August to lead the orchestra’s artistic planning and administration.

Commenting on the appointment, Dr Jerome Booth, Chairman of Britten Sinfonia’s Board of Trustees, commented:

Britten Sinfonia has always been fearless in its approach to music making and Meurig shares our sense of energy and inquiry. He is an experienced and adventurous programmer and a passionate advocate for reaching wider audiences with music of the highest quality and ambition. The match between his dynamic approach and one of the world’s finest chamber orchestras is an enticing one and we look forward to welcoming him this summer.

David Butcher will leave Britten Sinfonia at the end of July to take up the post of Chief Executive of Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra in September.

For more, visit


Last month, Wexford Festival Opera announced twelve singers to take part in the inaugural Wexford Factory. Wexford Factory is a two-week academy for young Irish / Irish-based singers that is scheduled to take place in early September.

The twelve Irish or Irish-based singers announced are Anna Brady, Ava Dodd, Rory Dunne, Andrew Gavin, Francesca Federico, David Howes, Kathleen Norchi, Conall William O’Neill, Jade Phoenix, Sarah Richmond, Sarah Shine, and Vladimir-Mihai Sima.

The Wexford Factory is designed to mentor young singers through masterclasses led by artists and professionals. Guest tutors will include tenor Juan Diego-Flórez, Irish soprano Celine Byrne, Ernesto Palacio of the Rossini Opera Festival and Dmitry Vdovin, head of the Bolshoi’s Young Artist programme. Veteran Wexford Festival Opera director Roberto Recchia, Irish Times music critic Michael Dervan, movement specialist Sara Catellani and Rosetta Cucchi, Wexford Festival Opera Artistic Director, will also contribute to the programme.

Find out more about the singers below:

Anna Brady received her BA in Performance from the Royal Irish Academy of Music in 2011 before studying for her Masters in Vocal Studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, which she recently completed. She is a 2012/13 alumni of the Young Associate Artist Programme with Opera Theatre Company, now amalgamated with Irish National Opera. Her performing experience includes Annina in La traviata with Fife Opera, Margot-Froufrou in The Merry Widow with Opera Bohemia and Daisy in The Next Station is Green Park with Opera Eos among others.

Soprano Ava Dodd, originally from Wicklow, is currently in her final year of Bachelor of Music Performance (vocal studies) in the Royal Irish Academy of Music and will continue on to study her masters in London. Dodd was named the ‘Young Opera voice of 2019’ at the Festival of Voice competition with Northern Ireland Opera. She has performed in venues including the National Concert Hall Dublin, Project Arts Centre, RDS Concert Hall, the Peacock Theatre and Kilmainham Gaol.

Kildare born bass-baritone Rory Dunne studied as an actor before pursuing a career in opera. He studied at TU Dublin Conservatoire and has performed with Wexford Festival Opera, Lyric Opera Productions, Irish National Opera, Cork Opera, Opera Collective Ireland and Blackwater Valley Opera Festival.

Soprano Francesca Federico received a degree in Global Politics and a Masters in Voice at the Mannes School of Music. Now based in New York Francesca recently made her debut at the Rose Theater at Lincoln Center.

Tenor Andrew Gavin from Navan, Co Meath, has performed with Wexford Festival Opera on a number of occasions in 2015, 2016 and 2017. He was recipient of the WFO / PwC Emerging Young Artist Bursary 2016. Graduating with an M. Phil in Children’s Literature from Trinity College, Gavin was awarded his Masters in Music Performance at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. He made his debut at Wigmore Hall as part of the ‘Irish Culture in Britain’ celebrations and participated in a joint production with the Juilliard School, New York and the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Ten Thousand Miles Away. Among the many awards he has won include prizes at the ESB Feis Ceoil, the O’Mara Cup, the Plunket Greene Cup, and the William T. Watt trophy for tenor solo.

Bass-baritone David Howes, originally from Limerick, completed his Bachelor of Music Degree at DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama. A graduate of the Young Artist Programme with Northern Ireland Opera, Howes has worked with the Belfast Philharmonic Choir, performed in the world premiere of Andrew Synnott’s opera Dubliners at WFO 2017, Irish National Opera, Buxton Opera Festival and Kilkenny Arts Festival.

Currently based in New York, soprano Kathleen Norchi studied music at the Boston Conservatory of Music and received her masters at the Mannes School of Music. She has performed with Utopia Opera as well as in productions of Die Zauberflöte, The Telephone, Carmen and Hansel und Gretel.

Bass Conall William O’Neill is based in London where he attended the Royal College of Music (RCM) for his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in music and performing. Most recently, he performed as Colline in Hampstead Garden Opera’s production of La bohème. He also sang the role of Superintendent Budd in Albert Herring for the Koninklijk Conservatoire Antwerpen. Prior to studying at the RCM, Conall attended Imperial College London, receiving a BSc of Biology degree.

Jade Phoenix is an Irish lyric soprano based in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, currently in her final year in the Royal Irish Academy of Music studying with Prof. Mary Brennan and Dr Dearbhla Collins. From September, she will attend the Guildhall School of Music and Drama to begin her Masters in Music Performance under the tutelage of Yvonne Kenny, having been awarded a scholarship. In 2019, she performed the role of Charlotte Badger in the opera Banished by Stephen McNeff, performed in Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin.

Carrickfergus born mezzo-soprano Sarah Richmond made her Wexford Festival Opera debut in 2015 in Guglielmo Ratcliff by Mascagni, singing the role of Willie and returned in 2016 to sing the principal role of Yelena in the ShortWorks production of The Bear by William Walton. A recipient of the WFO / PwC Emerging Young Artist Bursary 2016, Richmond graduated from the RNCM with a MMus (Distinction) and a PG Dip Solo Performance (Distinction) as a Drapers’ de Turckheim Scholar. She has also performed with North West Opera, NI Opera/Nevill Holt Opera, Wide Open Opera, Castleward Opera and more.

Limerick soprano Sarah Shine studied at the Royal Irish Academy of Music under Veronica Dunne. Shine was a member of the Salzburg Young Singers Project 2019 and has just finished two seasons as a singer in residence at the Académie of Opera National de Paris. After a performance at Palais Garnier in 2018, Sarah was awarded the Siemens Opera Award.

Tenor Vladimir-Mihai Sima studied computer programming and International Business/Economics before studying music and graduating from the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Key productions to date include Carmen, The Enchantress and La finta giardiniera.

For more, visit www. 

Published on 13 May 2020

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