The harp programme at DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama (Dublin, Ireland) encompasses both classical and/or Irish traditional music, with students pursuing study at junior, undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Students specialise in either classical or Irish traditional harp through the Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Music Education, Master of Music Performance and PhD programmes, studying with Denise Kelly McDonnell, Clíona Doris and Grainne Hambly. The harp programme is designed to encourage both solo and ensemble skills, and students participate in a wide range of ensembles including the Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Irish Traditional Music Ensemble, Early Music Ensemble and a variety of chamber music ensembles. 105
The DIT Harp Ensemble is one of the most active ensembles performing classical, Irish and contemporary repertoire under the direction of Denise Kelly McDonnell. They had an incredible year in 2016, travelling to Scotland to play a lunchtime concert at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival, performing for HRH The Prince of Wales in Hillsborough Castle, and playing in the RDS Rising Stars Concert. They also took part in many events around Dublin, performing on Culture Night and in the RTÉ Reflecting the Rising events.
Cai is 17 years of age and is currently completing his A levels at Ysgol Tryfan, Bangor. Cai has been performing folk songs since an early age and is grateful to Mair Carrington Roberts, Arfon Gwilym am Sioned Webb for promoting his interest. “I love performing folk songs as it enables me to ‘speak’ directly with an audience as well as an opportunity to express myself as a person”.
Blánaid Murphy is one of Ireland’s foremost choral directors and has directed the Palestrina Choir since 2002. She was Organ Scholar at Cambridge University and obtained a Master’s Degree at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart. She has vast experience as choral director, conductor, adjudicator, consultant and educator. She is director of several choirs including the RTE Children’s Choir, Dublin Bach Singers, and Carlow Choral Society, and lectures on choral conducting at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Her many recordings include the record-breaking ‘Faith of Our Fathers’ CD and six CDs with the Palestrina Choir. Blánaid is chairperson of the RSCM Ireland (Royal School of Church Music) and she is Director of the Pro-Cathedral Concert Series.
Valeria Voshchennikova is a talented Russian harpist with a wide range of classic repertoire, a soloist of Bolshoi theatre orchestra and a Principal Harpist in Moscow Symphony orchestra ‘Russian Philarmonic’. Studying with Milda Agazarian in Gnessin’s School of Music and Russian Academy of Music, she became a prize winner of many All-Russian and International competitions, including USA International Harp Competition and III Wales International Harp Festival.The young harpist is an active performer on different concert stages in Russia and abroad. She gave a solo recital in HarpMasters Festspiele (Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland), was featured in Camac Harp Festival (Nancy, France).
Lowri-Ann Richards and Dylan Cernyw
“If ever there was an appropriate time to say- ‘I’ll have what she’s drinking’- it would be after watching the mini tornado that is Lowri-Ann Richards perform! – A siren of Cabaret” Broadway Baby, Edinburgh Fringe 2014. As a London Cabaret award nominee in 2015, Lowri-Ann pocesses a stellar and extensive career in performing live. This ensures that the evening’s repertoire of material is exquisitly diverse and ranges from songs by David Bowie to Judy Garland. Kate Bush to the Beatles (she appeared in Give My Regards to Broadstreet alongside both Paul and Ringo very early on in her career) Bessie Smith to Visage (L-A toured and sang with Steve Strange’s Visage in the early New Romantic 80’s and more recently in 2015/16). Combine this with the spectacular playing of internationally renowned harpist Dylan Cernyw, you have a stellar and hugely entertaining act.