Press release

Participants announced for National Concert Hall Female Conductor Programme for 2019/2020

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Today, Saturday 19th October 2019 the National Concert Hall (NCH) announces twelve chosen participants to take part in its award-winning Female Conductor Programme for 2019/2020. Together with Grant Thornton and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra the NCH is delighted to continue the programme for 2019/2020. Born out of the need to address the current gender imbalance in the world of conducting, the programme which is now in its second iteration, is one of the first of its kind in the world.

Led by acclaimed British conductor and Artistic Director Alice Farnham together with David Brophy (leading Irish conductor) with contributions from prominent Irish conductors such as Eimear Noone (LA based Irish conductor of Video Games Live), the programme, which won best large sponsorship category at the Business to Arts Award 2019, aims to encourage high calibre female musicians to take up the baton and become orchestral conductors.

Alice Farnham, Artistic Director of NCH Female Conductor Programme is quoted as saying:

“I want to inspire young women and show them that conducting is an option, something that they may not have even considered …these workshops offer a safe place to take the first steps into conducting training and explore the possibility of an exciting new career path”.  

The twelve participants for 2019/2020 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 (Student of Bachelor of Music (Pedagogy) at Technology University Dublin, graduate of Royal Irish Academy of Music and keen harpist); Mary Walsh (participant in MA in Performance (conducting) at Cork School of Music); Meadhbh Campbell (chamber musician and undergraduate student of Degree in Music, CIT Cork School of Music) and Tamasine Plowman (Double-bass player, Master in Classical String Performance from University of Limerick and BA from Royal Northern College of Music).

Paul Jacobs, Partner at Grant Thornton said:

“Grant Thornton are delighted to continue its partnership with the NCH on this cutting-edge initiative which aims to provide opportunities for female conductors to develop themselves, and potentially pursue conducting as a professional career. We will be actively participating in the programme through development of a series of collaborative workshops that aim to equip the participants with the necessary business, communication, and leadership skills to navigate the opportunities ahead successfully.  This collaboration for 2019/2020 follows the inaugural programme 2017/2018 that has already had a positive impact to help break the glass ceiling in female conducting. The programme speaks to what Grant Thornton stands for as a firm and a culture, and not accepting ‘the status quo’.” 

Together the participants will engage in a specially curated 12-month programme of workshops and tutorials designed to coach, mentor, encourage and promote talented female conductors at the outset of their careers. The programme is designed to provide expertise and hands-on practical experience on preparing and interpreting musical scores, leading rehearsals, practical conducting sessions, career advice, shadowing opportunities as well as a showcase concert with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, September 2020.

The NCH Female Conductor Programme 2019/2020 will be supported by:

  • Six Intensive Weekend Tutorials with visiting conductor and Artistic Director Alice Farnham and David Brophy;
  • October 19th & 20th 2019 (with Alice Farnham)
  • November 9th & 10th 2019 (with David Brophy)
  • January 11th & 12th 2020 (with David Brophy)
  • February 22nd & 23rd 2020 (with Alice Farnham)
  • April 25th & 26th 2020 (with Alice Farnham)
  • June 6th & 7th 2020 (with Alice Farnham)
  • Professional advice and support from Grant Thornton -Workshops and Tutorials:
    • 21st February 2020
    • 23rd April 2020
    • 4th June 2020
  • Series of online tutorials to include one-on-one tutorials with Alice and other female conductors connected with similar projects around the world
  • Ongoing mentorship with local and visiting International conductors and musicians
  • Finale concert with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, September 2020

The 2019/2020 NCH Female Conductor Programme is presented by the National Concert Hall and is supported by Grant Thornton and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.