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Press release

Female Conductors take to the podium for finale of ‘Female Conductor Programme’

Paul Jacobs Paul Jacobs

On Monday 31st January a number of participants of the National Concert Hall’s Female Conductor Programme, supported by Grant Thornton, will take to the podium at the National Concert Hall in a showcase event open the public, led by the programme’s Artistic Director and renowned conductor Alice Farnham and featuring the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.  

The event is preceded by a weekend of rehearsals with the Orchestra and continues 1st February allowing all participants to conduct the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra as part of their programme finale.  

In this insightful and significant event, the curtain will be raised on the workings of conductors and orchestras in preparing a symphony for performance. It is the culmination of over two years of workshops, masterclasses and tutorials, both in person and online, led by Alice Farnham which also featured contributions from Irish and world-renowned conductors including American conductor Marin Alsop, David Brophy and Eimear Noone covering topics such as leadership, conducting technique, interpretation, practice, and the power of music to effect social change. 

The participants also benefited from an extensive programme of leadership and professional development workshops delivered by programme partner Grant Thornton. 

Overall, the programme enabled the twelve participants to develop and hone their conducting skills despite the challenges presented by the pandemic making this finale a particularly significant showcase event for the participants.   

The Female Conductor Programme was devised to address gender inequality on the conducting podium, one of the most enduring glass ceilings for women in the world of classical music. The overall aim of the Programme is to take steps in redressing this imbalance in orchestral conducting through this innovative programme designed to coach, mentor, encourage and promote talented women musicians at the outset of their conducting careers.  

Now in its second course, the NCH and Grant Thornton Female Conductor Programme won the Best Large Sponsorship category at the 2019 Allianz Business to Arts Awards. 

Robert Read, CEO of the National Concert Hall 

“We are delighted to present the finale of the Female Conductor Programme. Providing a platform and a means of engagement for female conductors to explore conducting opportunities and develop new skills is critical in ensuring cultural equity and in defining a path forward for those who wish to pursue a career on the podium. We are aware of the challenges that currently exist for female conductors in classical music and are intent on continuing to provide support and create opportunities for those who wish to develop their potential as a conductor. Our thanks to Grant Thornton for their continued support in making this programme possible. We wish all the participants well in their finale concert and the very best as they continue in their young conducting careers”.  

Speaking about the Female Conductor finale concert, Paul Jacobs, Partner at Grant Thornton said:

“I am delighted with today’s announcement about the Female Conductor Programme finale concert. The arts have been one of the areas most adversely impacted by the pandemic over the last two years. Grant Thornton has worked tirelessly with the NCH to ensure the programme’s success, and also that the advancements made with the diversity and inclusion agenda in this space, were not negatively impacted.  This finale performance will be a great showcase of the culmination of all the hard work put in by the participants, their mentors and all stakeholders and evidence of the strides made in building a successful female conductor network and platform”.

Anthony Long, General Manager of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra said:

“The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra is pleased to partner with the National Concert Hall in its Female Conductor Programme. Nothing beats standing in front of an orchestra. Make it a highly experienced professional symphony orchestra and one is in a different league where in an instant, every moment can be a learning. We have been delighted to provide opportunities for these talented participants and to allow them access to our conductors, rehearsals and concerts. We wish them every success”.

The twelve participants for 2019/2022 Programme are: Áine Gell (choral music enthusiast, graduated with Degree in Music and Modern Irish from Trinity College Dublin and with Postgraduate Diploma in Music Pedagogy and Advanced Choral Conducting from the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Hungary); Amy Ryan (Graduate of Advanced Diploma in Choral Conducting and Master of Arts in Kodály Music Pedagogy from Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy of Music, Hungary, professional choral conductor and instrumentalist); Margaret Bridge (Graduate of BA in Musicology and Theory from Trinity College Dublin, Master in Music in Vocal performance, Royal Irish Academy of Music and   Graduate of Diploma in Voice, New England Conservatory); Celine Leong (Associate Diploma in Recital Piano, Trinity College of London, Diploma programme in Music Pedagogy at the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, and graduate of the Bachelor's Degree in General Music Studies at the same Academy); Dara Pender (French horn player, graduated with Bachelor of Music Education, TU Dublin); Emily Cox (Graduate of Bachelor in Music Education from Trinity College Dublin and Royal Irish Academy of Music with a First-Class Honours and Gold Medal Award, Diploma in Piano Teaching); Muireann Ní Dhubhghaill (flautist and Graduate of Royal Northern College of Music Graduate with Masters of Music Performance); Siobhan O’Donnell (Choral conductor, composer and instrumentalist and Graduate of Degree in Music, CIT Cork School of Music), Siofra Ní Dhubhghaill (Graduate of Bachelor of Music (Pedagogy) at Technology University Dublin, graduate of Royal Irish Academy of Music and keen harpist); Mary Walsh ( MA in Performance (conducting) at Cork School of Music); Meadhbh Campbell (chamber musician, graduate of Degree in Music, CIT Cork School of Music, current student of Kodály Institute of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Hungary) and Tamasine Plowman (Double-bass player, Master in Classical String Performance from University of Limerick and BA from Royal Northern College of Music). 



National Concert Hall Female Conductor Programme Finale, supported by Grant Thornton  

Featuring the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra 

National Concert Hall Main Stage 

Monday 31st January 2022, 6pm – 7.30pm (no interval) - public event. The event will also be livestreamed on the NCH YouTube channel

[and Tuesday 1st February 2022 closed event] 

Tickets: €10, unreserved seating. Friends of the NCH: €5. Student: €5.  



The NCH wants to reassure customers that strict public health guidelines and measures remain in place to protect audiences, musicians, and NCH staff and ensure the utmost protection and safety for all.  Customers are advised to review all public health guidelines and measures in place at the NCH to protect against the spread of the Covid-19 Virus. For a full list of guidelines and safety measures in place at NCH see or  NCH Public Health and Safety Measures.