Welcome to Irish Heritage
Irish Heritage is a not-for-profit, voluntary, performing arts organisation, established in London in 1974, to promote the appreciation and understanding of classical music and music composed by Irish composers performed by Irish musicians and singers in Great Britain to a wide audience.
It is the only Irish arts organisation in Britain dedicated to helping young Irish musicians and composers in the early part of their careers when their needs are greatest. It now awards three valuable Bursaries annually, one for performance, one for composition and another for vocal studies.
Irish Heritage presents a programme of public events in established music venues and supports other organisations, including the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival that shares its aims in music and the arts. It has links with the Royal Dublin Society and conservatoires in Ireland and Britain to identify emerging, talented young performers and composers.
The organisation’s values: Creativity, Encouragement, Collaboration, Enjoyment and Inclusivity, reflect the legacy inherited from its founder Ethna Kennedy that it is committed to maintaining and enhancing.
These values are the inspiration for the organisation’s Outreach and Community programme which brings the joy of live music to people who cannot normally access it, to children in education and to those who benefit from music as therapy.
You can support the work of Irish Heritage by becoming a Friend. (See Join Us)
Successful Bursary Auditions at Wigmore Hall
Three talented young ladies receive awards
Bursaries with a combined value of over £10,000 were at stake when 12 very talented Irish musicians and singers met in the elegant surroundings of the Wigmore Hall in London on Thursday last, 7th November for the annual Irish Heritage Bursary auditions.
The 12 candidates, who represented music conservatoires and colleges from all over Britain, were competing for the Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Performance which is valued at £5,000, the Brackaville Bursary for Vocal Studies valued at £2,500 and the Accompanist Prize for the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival.
In addition to the prize money, the bursaries also involve valuable performance opportunities in London and at the Black Water Valley Opera Festival where all three recipients will perform on the 29th May 2020.
Three hours of auditions before a distinguished adjudication panel consisting of Audrey McKenna, founder and Director of the Kingston Academy of Music in Dublin who is also Irish Heritage’s Artistic Adviser for Ireland; Simon Aspell, founder of the Vanburgh Quartet and current teacher at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin and CIT Cork School of Music, and Dieter Kaegi, co-founder and Artistic Director of the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival and Director General of Theater Orchester Biel Solothum in Switzerland, resulted in the bursaries being awarded as follows:
The Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Performance went to Mollie Wrafter, a violinist from Tullamore in County Offaly, who is studying at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester;
The first Brackaville Bursary for Vocal Studies was awarded to Ellen Mawhinney, from Glengormley, County Antrim who is studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow;
The special Accompanists Prize for the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival went to Justine Gormley from Belfast who is also studying at the Royal Northern College of Music.
Commenting on the candidates and bursary recipients, Audrey McKenna, Chair of the Adjudication Panel, said, “All of the candidates took the opportunity to appear in what is the palace of classical chamber music and delivered enthusiastic and spirited performances that did themselves, their families, teachers and conservatoires justice. As a result we had difficult decisions to make with very little to choose between performers. The three recipients are special talents; we congratulate them and look forward to seeing them perform at Irish Heritage events over coming months.”
Entries for Irish Heritage’s 2019/20 Music Bursary for Composition close on 31st December2019.
Pictured (left to right are) Dieter Kaegi (adjudicator), Mollie Wrafter, Simon Aspell (adjudicator) Justine Gormley, Ellen Mawhinney, Audrey McKenna (adjudicator) and Patrick Lennon, Chairman, Irish Heritage.
Successful Start to 45th Season
Entertaining and Informative “Harps of Ireland” Recital
Irish Heritage started its 45th season with an entertaining and informative “Harps of Ireland” recital in the stunning surroundings of the Wolfson Room of the British Academy in London on Thursday last, 24th October.
The recital featured two leading exponents of the harp: Siobhan Armstrong who is one of Europe’s foremost historical harpists and Clare McCague, a talented solo, chamber and orchestral harpist who is recognised as the leading authority on the life and compositions of Boleyne Reeves, Ireland’s leading nineteenth century pedal harpist.
Siobhan, who played a brass-wire-strung early Irish harp and Clare a gut-strung, European pedal harp, introduced and presented an exceptional range of music, some of which had not been performed in London previously, including compositions by Carolan, Connelon, Handel, O’Hampsey, Dowland, Scott, Lyons, Taylor and Reeves.
Clare made her London debut with the recital - the latest, gifted Irish musician that Irish Heritage has provided with that special experience.
Commenting on the recital, Patrick Lennon, Chairman of Irish Heritage, said, “Our audience enjoyed an exceptional evening thanks to the informative insights given by Siobhán and Clare to the history of the harp in Irish culture and music and to their superb playing.”
Edited highlights of the recital are available on Irish Heritage’s YouTube channel.
Caption: Clare McCague (left) and Siobhán Armstrong (right) on stage in the Wolfson Room.
Join us for “Christmas by Candlelight” at St George’s, Hanover Square
Monday 16th December at 7.00pm
Join Irish Heritage and its friends for its popular “Christmas by Candlelight” music and carol concert on Monday 16th December at 7.00pm.
This year’s concert takes place in St George’s Hanover Square in the heart of the West End.
Handel’s Church as it is also known, was refurbished in 2010 and provides an appropriate ambiance for one of the most popular events of Irish Heritage’s calendar.
This year’s programme of popular Christmas Carols and seasonal readings with an Irish flavour features The Arb Ensemble under the direction of Jonathan Darbourne, soprano Carolyn Holt who was the recipient of the first Irish Heritage Bursary or Performance in 2015, and accompanist Brian Hughes with guest readers His Excellency Adrian O’Neill, Ambassador of Ireland, Cecilia Gallagher of the Women’s Irish Network and Petroc Trelawny of BBC Radio 3.
Tickets are £20 each for adults (including wine reception and programme) and £5 for students on production of ID. Adult tickets are available online by clicking on the link below (there are no booking fees) and on the door; student tickets are only available on the door on the evening.
Date: Monday 16th December 2019 at 7.00pm
Venue: St George’s Church, Hanover Square, London W1S 1FX
Tickets: Adults £20 each on door or at www.irishheritage.co.uk in advance
See news story for further information.
Irish Heritage Announces 2019 Bursary Adjudication Panel
Irish Heritage is pleased to announce the adjudication panel for the auditions for the organisation’s 2019 Music Bursary for Performance and Brackaville Bursary for Vocal Studies which will take place in the Wigmore Hall, London W1 on Thursday 7th November starting at 10.00am.
The three person panel consists of Audrey McKenna, founder and Director of the Kingston Academy of Music in Dublin who is also Irish Heritage’s Artistic Adviser for Ireland; Simon Aspell, founder of the Vanburgh Quartet and current teacher at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin and CIT Cork School of Music, and Dieter Kaegi, co-founder and Artistic Director of the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival and Director General of TOBS in Switzerland. Ms McKenna will chair the panel.
The auditions are open to the public and admission is free, however, tickets must be booked via the following link:
See news story for further details.