Latest Appointments in Music (February 2022)

Stephen Bell – newly appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra (Photo: RTÉ Concert Orchestra)

Latest Appointments in Music (February 2022)

A round-up of recent appointments news including the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Irish Traditional Music Archive, Ivors Academy, Manchester International Festival and Gael Linn.

Stephen Bell has been appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

Bell studied French horn and conducting at the Royal College of Music – including under conductor Norman Del Mar – and subsequently played with the BBC Concert Orchestra, where he remained until leaving as Principal Horn in 2015. Highlights included working on two of the Star Wars films with John Williams.

Also a recording musician, his discography includes a collaboration with vocalist Clare Teal on MUD Records. He also appears frequently on Classic FM and on BBC radio and television, conducting projects that have included a tribute to composer and conductor Stanley Black at the Royal Festival Hall and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with pop band Texas in 2017.  He has appeared extensively at the BBC Proms, including a performance of the music of Doctor Who at the Royal Albert Hall in 2008.

Prior to his role with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, he was Artistic Director of the City of Oxford Orchestra in 2009 and since 2013 he has held the post of Associate Conductor of the Hallé.

Commenting on his appointment, Bell said, ‘Ever since my first appearance as a guest conductor with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra back in 2015, I’ve always enjoyed my visits to Dublin and the opportunities to work with this wonderfully talented and creative collection of musicians.’ He added: 

Having spent over 30 years as a principal player in a broadcasting orchestra in the UK, I feel I bring a unique insight into this new role as Principal Guest Conductor, especially in terms of the huge variety of repertoire and musical styles the RTÉ CO are required to play. Their versatility and expertise is infectious, and I can’t wait to re-engage with the loyal and knowledgeable audiences at the National Concert Hall and further afield in the coming months and years.

Of course, there is a legendary vibrant music scene in Ireland with a rich history and tradition, and, in addition, my aim is to bring as wide and varied a musical experience to as broad and diverse an audience as we can reach through our concerts and broadcasts. We look forward to welcoming you back to the joy of live music!

For further, visit:

The Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) has announced the appointment of Seán Potts to the position of Office Manager.

Potts is a widely respected uilleann piper who has been involved in Irish traditional music for over 35 years as a recording and performing artist, and as a teacher, primarily with Na Píobairí Uilleann, where he also served as a Board member.

He studied journalism at Queen’s University Belfast and subsequently DCU, where he graduated with an MA in Journalism. He worked as an editor with Independent News and Media before becoming Head of Communications with the Gaelic Players Association in 2010. In 2017, he helped establish the Dublin city music venue Pipers Corner. Potts is a regular music and current affairs contributor to TG4 and Raidió na Gaeltachta.

Commenting on his new role, Potts said:

I am delighted to be getting the opportunity to work with the dynamic team in ITMA, supporting the Archive’s strategic aims and serving the Irish traditional music community at home and abroad.

For further information, visit:

Composer, musician and campaigner Tom Gray has been elected as the new Chair of The Ivors Academy. Gray, who is a member of Mercury Prize-winning band Gomez, follows Crispin Hunt who stepped down from the role last month after five years.

Gray recently led the #BrokenRecord campaign that called for a reform of the music industry and a rebalance of power towards artists. He has managed #BrokenRecord alongside the Academy’s #FixStreaming campaign that resulted in an international conversation about reform of the streaming market.

Commenting on his new role, Gray said: 

The Ivors Academy represents British songwriters and composers: their challenges, their rights and, significantly, their successes. To become Chair is extraordinary and humbling, and the weight of the role does not come without some anxiety. However, I know why I have been elected and I intend to do what is expected of me. In this moment, songwriters and composers feel the need for strong advocacy and representation. The Academy’s excellent campaigning has been a source of hope for many. We are a brilliant and joyful community who wish to be our better selves without any grievance, but these are challenging times.

For more, visit:

Manchester International Festival (MIF) has announced the appointment of Low Kee Hong as its new Creative Director.

Kee Hong will join MIF in April, working alongside Artistic Director and CEO John McGrath and the festival’s curatorial team on developing the artistic programme for the festival and The Factory – the festival’s new year-round venue which is currently under construction. 

Currently Head of Theatre, Performing Arts at West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong, Kee Hong has been responsible for establishing its artistic direction and strategies for Contemporary Performance, Dramatic and Theatre Arts. His previous roles included Artistic Director and General Manager of Singapore Arts Festival and Founding Director and General Manager of the Singapore Biennale. Kee Hong has also won awards for his work in lighting design and performed on the international arts festival circuit touring in Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, and Indonesia.

Commenting on his appointment, Kee Hong said: 

I am truly honoured and excited to be given this amazing opportunity to work with Manchester International Festival and The Factory. It is an organisation I have always admired for its visionary and bold take on what tomorrow can look like. I look forward to working with a team of amazing humans who firmly believe in the extraordinary and transformative experience of the arts for our communities as we build towards futures we all want to be part of.

For more information, visit:

Gael Linn, the Irish-language organisation, record label and organiser of the Siansa music competition, has announced the retirement of CEO Antoine Ó Coileáin and is now embarking on a recruitment campaign to fill the role. Ó Coileáin will retire at the end of his contract in late May 2022.

Commenting on Ó Coileáin’s tenure, Pádhraic Ó Ciardha, Cathaoirleach, Gael Linn, said:

I would like to thank Antoine Ó Coileáin for 20 years of dedicated service and deep commitment to Gael Linn as CEO. He has played a pivotal role in transforming the organisation. He leaves as his legacy a culture of innovation built on a nimble and effective structure achieving outstanding results in challenging times.

His knowledge and expertise will doubtless ensure that Antoine will continue to contribute in many ways to enriching the Irish cultural sphere. I wish him and wife Mairéad and family an abundance of happiness in this exciting new chapter in their lives. Sonas is sláinte oraibh.

Ó Coileáin added:

It has been a privilege to serve as Chief Executive of Gael Linn, an organisation which continues to play such a significant role in Ireland’s cultural life. I have enjoyed the richness and diversity of my work, and am pleased at the quality of our many projects. I wish to pay tribute to the Board members and staff, past and present, whose commitment and dedication to the promotion of Irish has been a constant support to me during my time as CEO. As Gael Linn approaches its 70th anniversary, I am proud to have played my part in its evolution and wish the organisation continued success.

For information on the position and application process, see here.


Musician, event producer and curator Síobhra Quinlan was recently appointed Cultural Officer at the Consulate General of Ireland, Los Angeles. See full details here.

For January 2022 appointments in music, see here

Published on 22 February 2022

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