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)

Annual Review and Announcement of Programme for 2019-20

Thanks to the support of the partners at Killik & Co. Irish Heritage was given rare access to the Music Room at the company’s elegant offices in the heart of Mayfair for its annual review and programme announcement reception on 3rd October.  The event was attended by the organisation’s Friends and corporate supporters.

The offices were created in their current incarnation as the home of American-born industrialist and philanthropist Sir Edgar Speyer (1862 – 1932).  Speyer was a music lover and patron of the arts, frequently holding concerts in his home. He was friends with composers Edward Elgar, Edvard Greig Richard Strauss and Claude Debussy. Debussy and Strauss performed in the Music Room.

Speaking at the event, Patrick Lennon, Chairman of Irish Heritage, said, “Our 45th season has the potential to be one of the most important for many years.  Among the reasons for that are: we will be applying for registered charity status, we will offer three bursaries including our new Brackaville bursary for vocal studies and we are launching a new Outreach and Community programme in association with the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith."

The evening featured a conversation with and performance by Irish Heritage’s 2018/19 Music Bursary recipient for Performance, flautist Amy Gillen who was accompanied by Brian Hughes.

Pictured at the reception are (left to right): Brian Hughes, Rachel Ingersoll, Embassy of Ireland; Tom Scanlon, Irish Heritage; Amy Gillen and Peter Power-Hynes, Irish Heritage.



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The Harps of Ireland - first recital of Irish Heritage's 45th season

Programme to feature music never before performed in London

Irish Heritage’s first event of its 45th season is a special recital that explores the extraordinary history and heritage of the harp in Ireland.

The London based performing arts organisation is bringing two leading exponents of the Irish harp to the stunning Wolfson Room of The British Academy in the heart of the Westminster.

Siobhán Armstrong and Clare McCague are at the forefront of rediscovering forgotten riches of harp music from earlier times - Siobhán on the brass-wire-strung early Irish harp and Clare on the gut-strung, European pedal harp which replaced the ancient harp in Ireland in the early nineteenth century.

In this shared recital from either side of the watershed year 1800, when one harp was dying out and the other gaining ground, Siobhán presents music from the last Irish harpers: evocative laments, marches, love-song airs and sparkling dances while Clare performs 19th century repertoire for the pedal harp which flourished through the influence of visiting virtuosi. These harpists extemporised on popular Irish airs incorporating the melodies into their compositions.

Much of the evening’s programme will include music never performed before in London.

Tickets are £20 each for adults (including wine reception and programme) and £5 for students on production of ID.  Adult tickets are available online via this website (go to news story and click on the buy tickets button, there are no booking fees) and on the door; student tickets are only available on the door on the evening.

Irish Heritage Announces New Music Bursary for Vocal Studies

£2,500 award for successful young singer

Irish Heritage is pleased to announce the introduction of a new music bursary for vocal studies valued at £2,500 per annum.  The Brackaville Bursary for Vocal Studies as it will be known has been made possible through the generous support of two of the organisation’s Friends.

The new bursary, which complements the organisation’s existing bursaries for performance and composition, is open to first and second generation Irish students attending recognised music conservatoires and colleges in Britain.

The Brackaville Bursary will operate in parallel with the existing bursary for performance and will be awarded to the singer who performs best in the auditions in the Wigmore Hall in London on Thursday 7th November 2019.

See news story for further information.

In addition to the cash award of £2,500 the recipient will receive a performance opportunity at an Irish Heritage event in London and may be included among those representing the organisation at the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival in Lismore in 2020.

Afternoon Classical Music Recitals at the ICC

Irish Heritage and the Irish Cultural Centre are pleased to announce the launch of a series of afternoon classical music recitals in the Centre’s auditorium.

The recitals will be performed by leading musicians and singers from Irish Heritage’s music bursary competitions.  The recitals will last between 45 minutes and an hour and will be followed by tea and biscuits.

Tickets are £5.00 each for adults and are available from the ICC.  All proceeds from the recitals will be donated to the Centre’s new piano fund.

Wednesday 23rd October at 3.30pm - Harp Recital by Tara Viscardi

Tara hails from the Beara Peninsula in Co Kerry, she is an honours graduate of DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, Dublin and has been studying for a Master of Music in Harp Performance at the Royal College of Music.

An avid chamber and orchestral musician, Tara has performed extensively with various ensembles and orchestras.  She is also a passionate traditional Irish musician and plays a beautiful Killarney Harp hand-crafted for her by Tim O’ Carroll in her native Kerry.

Pictured on right is Tara Viscardi

See news story for further details.