Latest Appointments and Awards in Music (July 2022)

Professor Helen Phelan – new Director of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.

Latest Appointments and Awards in Music (July 2022)

A round-up of recent appointments and awards in music with news from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, Music Network, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Chamber Orchestra, Gael Linn, and the Fulbright-Creative Ireland Professional Fellowship Awards.

Professor Helen Phelan has been appointed as the new Director of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. Professor Phelan is an educator, academic and singer whose work specialises in the areas of music, migration and the use of arts-based research methods. She is the co-founder of the female vocal ensemble Cantoral, which specialises in Irish medieval chant, and the founder of the Singing and Social Inclusion research group and Chair of IMBAS – a national network for artistic research in Ireland. Professor Phelan is also the author of books including Singing the Rite to Belong: Music, Ritual and the New Irish with Oxford University Press, and The Artist and Academia, co-edited with Graham Welch. She is the HRI cluster lead for PART-IM: Participatory and Arts-Based Methods for involving Migrants in Health Research.



Music Network has announced the recipients of its Music Capital Scheme – a programme that provides funding for the purchase of musical instruments. A total of €306,096 in funding from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media has been awarded to 28 performing groups, 18 established musicians and 9 emerging musicians from across Ireland as part of the scheme.

Recipients include flautist Lina Andonovska, guitarist Luan Parle, fiddle player Frankie Gavin, harper Cormac De Barra, concertina player Caitlín Nic Gabhann, cellist Sharon Howley, and singer-songwriter Niamh Regan. Na Píobairí Uilleann, Dublin Concert Band, Irish Association of Youth Orchestras, and Sligo Academy of Music are among the organisations that have received funding. 

For the full list of awardees, see the document below. For further information, visit:

Music Network has also announced the six musicians taking part in its RESONATE programme. The project teams up established musicians with cultural spaces across the country and offers an award of €8,000 to each artist to support the making of new work and creative partnerships.

The recipients include mezzo-soprano Naomi Louisa O’Connell who will develop a song cycle for voice, piano and live electronics with pianist Gary Beecher and composer Emma O’Halloran during her residency at Glór; singer Pauline Scanlon will work on a collaborative traditional singing project with piper and flute player Barry Kerr at Ionad Cultúrtha in Baile Mhúirne; concertina player Niall Vallely will collaborate with Kate Ellis on cello and Kenneth Edge on soprano saxophone for a project at the National Opera House in Wexford; Irish-Dutch singer and guitarist Patrick Stefan Groenland will collaborate with the group Navá at the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny; soprano Elizabeth Hilliard will work with composer Gráinne Mulvey to create a new, comic work for voice and tape during her residency at the Dock in Carrick-on-Shannon; and classical violinist Patrick Rafter will work with composer Sam Perkin in a residency at Triskel Arts Centre in Cork.

For more, visit


The Royal Conservatoire Of Scotland has announced violinist Nicola Benedetti as Honorary President. The Honorary President supports the Conservatoire in a range of ways including as an ambassador and in graduation ceremonies. Appointees serve for a five-year term. Commenting on her appointment, Benedetti said: 

It is such an honour to be appointed Honorary President of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland as it celebrates its 175th anniversary and to follow such an illustrious list of people in this role. Institutions that nurture the highest excellence have a vital role to play in the future of Scotland.

In 2019, Benedetti founded the music education company Benedetti Foundation and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in recognition of her music career in the same year. In 2017, she was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music and holds nine honorary degrees to date. In March 2022, she became the Director Designate of the Edinburgh International Festival, becoming Festival Director on 1 October 2022. 

For more, visit


Professor Jonathan Vaughan has been appointed as the new Principal of Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. 

Vaughan joined the school fifteen years ago as Director of Music and has been working as Interim Principal since the retirement of Lynne Williams in 2021. Commenting on his appointment Vaughan, said:

Since starting work at Guildhall School in 2007, I have loved the place to its bones, so it is an enormous honour and privilege to lead the School into the next chapter of its development… In a fast-changing society, our job is to create next generation artists, who are not only exceptional performers and makers, but global citizens, cultural leaders, and change makers. Guildhall School is ready to rise to the challenge. 

After studying double bass and piano at the Royal College of Music, Vaughan became a member of the London Symphony Orchestra for ten years, where he was elected Chairman in 1999. He was Director of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for five years, before joining Guildhall School. He is currently studying for a PhD on the subject of ‘Artistic Citizenship and Performance Excellence in Music Conservatoires’.

For more, visit

The London Chamber Orchestra has announced the participants of its 2021/22 LCO New scheme, which supports emerging composers whose work has yet to be performed by a professional orchestra.

The five successful composers are Alexander Papp, Darius Paymai, Florence Anna Maunders, James Banner and Robert Crehan.

The programme will see the composers engage in meetings and workshops throughout the summer with LCO 2021/22 Composer in Residence Freya Waley-Cohen. Each workshop offers the participants opportunities to work with LCO musicians in composing a new piece for the orchestra. All five new works by the composers will be performed and recorded at LCO’s 2022/23 season opening concert. 



Gael Linn has announced the appointment of Réamonn Ó Ciaráin as CEO. Ó Ciaráin has been working with the Irish-language organisation and music label since 1993, taking on various roles during this time, including Director of Education. 

Ó Ciaráin, from Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh, holds a degree in Education and Celtic Studies from Saint Mary’s University College, Belfast, an MA in Irish Studies from Queen’s University Belfast and an MA in Cultural Management from the Ulster University, Jordanstown. 

He has written three books on the legend of Cúchulainn as well as articles in a variety of publications. He is co-founder and Chairman of Aonach Mhacha, the new Cultúrlann in Armagh City, and has held many officer roles with the GAA at county level, as well its National Committee for the Irish Language. He has also been a member of the Board of Governors of St Catherine’s College in Armagh since 2006, as well as being a former Chairman of An tUltach, the Comhaltas Uladh magazine. 

Commenting on his new appointment, Ó Ciaráin said:  

I very much look forward to taking up this new role in an organisation which has so greatly influenced awareness in relation to the Irish language and its heritage for almost 70 years. Gael Linn has a committed and capable team and I welcome the prospect of working closely with them in the future to achieve Gael Linn’s objectives.

Ó Ciaráin succeeds Antoine Ó Coileáin who retired in May.


Tipperary singer-songwriter and educator Edel Meade has been awarded a Fulbright-Creative Ireland Professional Fellowship Award and the Mary McPartlan Bursary. Meade is one of 40 Fulbright awardees announced last month. 

From January 2023, she will be based at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley for six months, exploring the intersection between jazz and traditional music and song from Ireland. Her award will culminate in a world premiere live concert performance in collaboration with Bay Area musicians at the California Jazz Conservatory in June 2023. 


The 23rd Irish Times Theatre Awards took place last month in a ceremony at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, in Dublin. Awards were presented in fifteen categories, including Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Production.

In the Best Opera category, Irish National Opera, Theatre Lovett and Abbey Theatre were the winners for their joint production of Hansel and Gretel. The production of the Engelbert Humperdinck opera launched at the Abbey Theatre in February 2020 before going on a national tour. The opera was directed by Muireann Ahern and Louis Lovett, conducted by Richard Peirson, and starred Raphaela Mangan and Amy Ní Fhearraigh as the lead characters. 

Helen Atkinson, Teho Teardo and Seán Carpio won the award for Best Soundscape for their work on Medicine – a Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival piece by Enda Walsh. Medicine premiered at Galway International Arts Festival in 2021 and was presented both in-person and online. 

For further information, visit:


After thirty-one years as Musical Director, David Milne has announced his retirement from the Guinness Choir. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Milne has enjoyed a long association with choral music, particularly through his work with the Camerata Singers and St Bartholomew’s Church Choir. He has also worked with the RTÉ Singers and Chorus and with Musica Sacra, and was the founder-director of the West Dublin Youth Orchestra. He is also the former Head of Music at Kilkenny College. The choir is now seeking a new Musical Director for September and applications are open until 15 July at 5pm. 



For June appointments in music, see here.  

Published on 13 July 2022

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