New Appointments in Music: UK and Ireland (September 2019)

Tianyi Lu, first Female Conductor in Residence at Welsh National Opera

New Appointments in Music: UK and Ireland (September 2019)

Appointments at Music Generation, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Irish Academy of Music, NUI Galway, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Welsh National Opera.

Following an open call earlier this year, Tianyi Lu has been appointed the first ever Female Conductor in Residence of Welsh National Opera (WNO). The residency has been developed by WNO in order to address the gender imbalance in the industry.

Born in Shanghai and raised in New Zealand, Lu studied in Auckland and Melbourne and subsequently completed a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD). While studying at RWCMD, Lu began working with WNO as part of the Youth and Community team on WNO Youth Opera’s award-winning production of Kommilitonen! in 2016.

Lu is currently the Assistant Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Conductor of the St Woolos Sinfonia in Gwent. 

Emma Flatley, Director of Partnerships and Engagement at WNO, said: 

We are taking positive action to re-address the imbalance of women in conducting posts and this is the first step for us creating a developmental position and opportunity specifically for women geared towards increasing diversity and opportunity. We recognise that there is much work to do to encourage further diversity across the opera sector, but this scheme will specifically enable women who are particularly underrepresented in the classical music sector at the moment; and provide the opportunity for greater diversity across the professional sector in the future.

Lu said on her appointment:

I am thrilled to be back in Cardiff, my second home, to work with the many creative and courageous individuals that make up the vibrant organisation that is WNO. The company has inspired me for many years and I will relish the opportunity to dive into the diverse range of projects during my post over the next 18 months.

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Ryan Bancroft has been appointed Principal Conductor of BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW), starting in September 2020. Bancroft is a multi-instrumentalist, studying trumpet at the California Institute of the Art with additional studies in harp, flute and cello. He later studied conducting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and has worked with Stockholm Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Norwegian National Opera Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony and Netherlands Philharmonic, among others. 

Ahead of taking up the new role, Bancroft will conduct BBC NOW for the Cardiff and Swansea subscription seasons, conducting two ballet scores, Debussy’s Jeux and Copland’s Appalachian Spring, as well as Ives’ Central Park in the Dark and the world premiere of Sir Karl Jenkins’ Stravaganza

Commenting on his new role, Bancroft said:

I am beyond grateful to the extraordinary artists and staff at the BBC National Orchestra of Wales for their warm welcome. My passion is for the people who play music and the audiences who love it. That puts me in excellent company here in Wales. Our recipe for spellbinding performances combines our unique sounds and stories with equal parts collaboration, growth and vision. 

Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director of BBC Wales, said:

I’m just thrilled to welcome Ryan Bancroft to Wales and to the BBC. He’s a remarkable young talent and I can’t wait to see how his partnership with our national orchestra and chorus develops. We’ve been lucky enough to work with Ryan already over the last year – and those intense, fluid performances underlined what a rare talent he is. I’ve no doubt his appointment as Principal Conductor with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales opens an exciting new chapter for music in Wales and beyond.

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At the National University of Ireland, GalwayCaitlín Ní Chualáin from Indreabhán has been appointed as Centre for Irish Studies Sean-Nós Singer-in-Residence for the academic year. 

Ní Chualáin, who currently works as a journalist at RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, won Comórtas na mBan (women’s sean-nós competition) at the Oireachtas na Gaeilge festival in the years 2005, 2008 and 2014, and, in 2016, she won Corn Uí Riada, the premier competition for sean-nós singing.

The residency will see Ní Chualáin host a series of workshops at NUI Galway and contributing to the expanding Sean-Nós Archive Collection. All workshops are free and open to the public and will begin on Tuesday 1 October at 7pm at the Centre for Irish Studies.

Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartháin of the Centre welcomed Ní Chualáin’s appointment and said: 

We are delighted to have Caitlín Ní Chualáin join us as Sean-nós Singer in Residence this year. Caitlín has a very distinctive voice which encapsulates the rich tradition that surrounds her. This appointment represents a fantastic opportunity for our students.

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Trumpet player David Collins has been appointed new Head of Wind, Brass and Percussion at the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM). Collins, who is currently a member of the teaching faculties of RIAM and Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin), has recently moved back to Dublin from Northern Ireland, where he held the position of 2nd Trumpet and Principal Cornet with the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast from 2016 to 2018. 

As a trumpeter, Collins works regularly with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and is the Artistic Director of Dublin Brass Week. He was also General Manager of the 2018 festival Beckett Music Week.

Commenting on Collins’ appointment, Director of RIAM Deborah Kelleher, said: 

I am delighted that David Collins, a dynamic and visionary performer and educator, has joined the RIAM as Head of Wind, Brass and Percussion. David brings a wealth of international perspective to the role, especially in looking at the future needs of our profession and how we must train our students to meet those needs. We look forward to implementing new curricula and forging exciting partnerships under his leadership.

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The BBC Symphony Orchestra (BBC SO) has appointed conductor Jules Buckley as its new Creative Artist in Association. Buckley first worked the BBC SO in 2012, for an Urban Classic concert in Barbican Hall, and subsequently collaborated with the orchestra a number of times, including performances at the BBC Proms.

Buckley is a Grammy Award winner, for Sylva, the Snarky Puppy album he featured on alongside the Metropole Orkest, and Classic House, his album with Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra, reached the number one spot in the UK album charts in 2016. 

His new role, beginning with an initial three-year tenure, will see Buckley lead the BBC SO in several projects, with his first concert taking place in February 2020 at the Barbican, featuring vocalist Lianne La Havas. 

Speaking about his new role, Buckley commented: 

It’s a huge honour for me to join the prestigious BBC Symphony Orchestra, having worked with them for Urban Classic. It feels amazing to come full circle and take on the role of Creative Artist in Association. I hope to continue to innovate and challenge the stereotypes of what orchestral music should be.

Paul Hughes, Director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, said: 

In 2012, the BBC SO and Jules first worked together on an Urban Classic celebration of pop culture in an orchestral context. His ability to bring together these two worlds produced something so thrilling and distinctive that we knew this was a very special relationship. Jules has the respect and affection of the BBCSO and the wider BBC, and I am tremendously excited to see the new directions he will take the orchestra in and the new audiences we will meet.

For more, visit:

Music Generation, Ireland’s national music education programme, has announced the appointment of Paula Phelan as the new Head of Quality, Support and Development within the National Development Office. This new role will see Phelan lead the implementation of a new national Music Generation Quality Framework, work with developing the network of Local Music Education Partnerships (LMEPs) across the country, and lead the professional development and education programmes of the music organisation.

From Kildare, Phelan has a BA in Music from NUI Maynooth, an MA in Baroque Performance Practice from Queen’s University Belfast, and an MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy from University College Dublin. She was previously LMEP Support Manager at Music Generation, Programme Director for Music Generation Carlow, and worked as General Manager with the Irish Baroque Orchestra, as a post-primary teacher, freelance musician, and General Manager of Belvedere Youth Service. 

For more, visit:

For July appointments, see here

Published on 11 September 2019


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