Vanessa Sweeney

As a young student in Trinity College Dublin in the seventies, Vanessa was given her first opportunity to work as a violin teacher when her own viola teacher asked her to deputise for him for a three month period in one of the schools where he worked. She very soon discovered that teaching music to children was the perfect solution to a career choice as it combined those three passions of her life; music, teaching and working with children.
As a founder member of the Dublin Youth Orchestra she has conducted the Junior String Orchestra since its formation in 1982, a role she enjoys as much today as she did 35 years ago. She was Artistic Director of the IAYO Festival of Youth Orchestras for many years. As a viola player she has always been passionate about playing chamber music and was able to share this enthusiasm in her teaching of chamber music to young children in her work at the DYO Summer Chamber Music courses at Aravon, where she was Director of the Courses for nearly 20 years. In 2008 she completed an MA in performance as viola player with the Delmaine String Quartet at the Cork School of Music where she studied with the RTE Vanbrugh String Quartet.Having retired from her teaching job at Alexandra College last June, she continues to
teach students at home and has enjoyed having more time for working on projects with her quartet. In collaboration with the Bewleys Theatre Group she has toured a programme called “Love and War” in a dozen venues all around Ireland. She also plays in the Hibernian Orchestra where shares the role as leader of the viola section.
She has worked as an examiner for the Royal Irish Academy of Music local centre and has adjudicated string competitions in music festivals in Kilkenny, Wesley College, Newpark, Kilcoole and Arklow.She is especially pleased to be invited back to adjudicate string competitions at Kilkenny Festival again this year.
She has two children and five grandchildren of whom she is immensely proud.

Kevin O’Carroll

Kevin O’Carroll is a Waterford based freelance conductor.  He holds a regular position as director of the Waterford based chamber choir Madrigallery and the Wexford Festival Singers.  He also directs two other groups – Vocalis (a professional ensemble) and Vox Humana (a Renaissance choral group).  These two specialist groups get together on an occasional basis or for special events.  The music performed by these various groups ranges from early plainchant to modern liturgical compositions; from unaccompanied quartets to orchestra accompanied Requiems by Brahms, Mozart and Duruflé.  Apart from his work in Waterford and Wexford he is in regular demand as a choral consultant and has provided workshops for choirs from Ireland, N. Ireland, Finland and the USA.
Having studied with the internationally renowned conducting teacher Dr. John Dickson in the USA and Cambridge, Kevin teaches conducting on courses in NUI Maynooth, and at the University of Limerick.   He is also in demand throughout Ireland as an adjudicator, having adjudicated in Navan, Arklow, Kilkenny, New Ross, Limerick and Cork Choral Festivals.  In 2012 he was conducting consultant on the film Loving Miss Hatto for BBC television.
Kevin’s 2013 book on choral conducting (Choral Conducting – A Handbook for Irish Choir Trainers and Conductors), is aimed at supporting new or reluctant choral conductors and is now used as a text book by several universities and is on the recommended reading list of Total Choir Resources, an international choral director’s support website. In addition to his conducting and teaching work, Kevin is also an examiner with the Royal Irish Academy of Music.
On a lighter note, Kevin also has wide experience in the area of musical theatre having conducted such shows as Jesus Christ Superstar, The King and I, Brigadoon, Cabaret, and Honk!.  He has appeared as guest musical director for theatre groups in both Ireland and the UK.
Kevin holds Master of Music in Choral Conducting performance, a B.A. (Hons.) in Music and Business Management and a Dip. ABRSM in Choral Conducting.  He is currently completing a PhD Arts Practice at the Irish World Academy, University of Limerick.  The topic of his research relates to the impact of modern notation on the performance practice of Renaissance choral music.

Lynda Lee

Lynda Lee is an Irish soprano who trained in Dublin with the renowned singing teacher Doctor Veronica Dunne. She made her professional debut in 1992 with Opera Theatre Company in their production of Handel’s Tamerlano. She went on to have a long association with Handel’s operas, performing at many of the leading Handel festivals throughout Europe. She was nominated twice for performance of the year in Opernwelt magazine for her interpretation of Zenobia from Radamisto and the title role in Xerxes. Throughout her career she has performed at many prestigious festivals and opera houses, such as the Dresden Festival, Halle Handel Festival, Karlsruhe Handel Festival, Oper Leipzig, Theatre de Caen, Covent Garden Festival, Wexford Festival Opera, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Aldeburgh Festival to name a few. Her favourite roles have included Fiordiligi from Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutti, Elisabeth in Wagner’s Tannhauser, Female Chorus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia and Adalgisa from Bellini’s Norma. Other career highlights were being invited to perform Handel’s Messiah at the Vatican for Pope Benedict with Our Lady’s Choral Society and the RTECO, conducted by Proinnsias O Duinn. Performing for the Emperor of Japan on his visit to Ireland as the Crown Prince and appearing in the Miramax film Becoming Jane, the story of Jane Austen’s life starring Anne Hathaway. Lynda joined the vocal faculty of the Royal Irish Academy of music in recent years where she is also a member of the Academy Chamber Ensemble.  With this ensemble she has appeared throughout Ireland, New York, Riga and extensively in China.

Pádhraic Ó Cuinneagáin

Pádhraic Ó Cuinneagáin received his music education at the RIAM; the Schola Cantorum, St. Finian’s College, Mullingar; UCD and NUI Maynooth. He is currently a lecturer of piano and academic studies at DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama.  Over the years, he has been programme co-ordinator for the BMus(Performance) and Bachelor in Music Education programmes, Head of Academic Studies (Acting) and, over the last decade, programme co-ordinator for the MMus(Performance) programme.  In addition, he has supervised undergraduate and postgraduate research work.
Pádhraic studied piano with Dr Mabel Swainson and Louis Kentner (London), organ with Fr. Frank McNamara and Professor Gerard Gillen, and played clarinet in the Irish Youth Orchestra. He participated with success at all major national music festivals, was the winner of the prestigious Players-Wills Bursary for piano, and was a finalist in the RTE ‘Young Musician of the Year’ competition.  He has performed across Ireland and abroad as soloist, in partnership with prominent singers and instrumentalists, as accompanist and in chamber music. He has given first performances of works by Irish/international composers, and performed with the contemporary music ensemble Concorde and members of the RTE Concert and Symphony Orchestras.  CDs recorded have included sonatas for violin and piano by Irish composer Tom Cullivan with Italian violinist Carmelo Andriani, sonatas for violoncello and piano with cellist Annette Cleary, Tchaikovsky songs with Irish bass-baritone Conor Biggs, ‘Joyce Songs’ for Lyric FM with various Irish singers, a live CD recording of songs by Tchaikovsky, Borodin and Mussorgsky at ‘Music for Galway’ 2009, and some arrangements of Irish Folksongs by Beethoven.  He has given lectures and masterclasses on piano repertoire and has contributed to CMC and TCD publications of contemporary Irish piano music.  He contributed 6 articles to the Encyclopedia of Music in Ireland (EMIR), published in 2013.
Pádhraic has wide experience as a teacher/assessor/external examiner for the Department of Education and Skills, NCCA, NCEA, HETAC, WIT, CIT, TCD and RIAM.  He has adjudicated at most music festivals throughout Ireland, including Feis Ceoil.  He was for many years been a committee member of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and represents NCCA on Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI).  He is also a member of EPTA Ireland, and was Vice-Chairman and a Director of Electric Ireland Feis Ceoil.