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:

Brief biographies of the panelists follow.

Audrey McKenna
Audrey McKenna is founder and director of the Kingston Academy of Music based in Dalkey in Ireland’s capital city.
She is a post-graduate of the National University of Ireland (Maynooth) where she graduated with an MA (Composition); BA Hons (in German and English) and BMus Hons.

Audrey is widely experienced practitioner in Ireland’s cultural sector and has combined performance with business to build a successful career in performance, education and promotion of Irish culture both in her native country and overseas.

She has had a professional performing career including over two decades of National Concert Hall (Dublin) performances as pianist, mezzo soprano, composer and music director. In addition, she has been awarded first prizes at the Feis Ceoil for original composition, choral direction and performance. She organised the inaugural “More from the Harp Festival” in Dalkey which now has a festival in Tokyo based on it.

Simon Aspell
Simon Aspell is one of Ireland’s leading viola players. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London, Simon teaches viola and chamber music at both the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin and CIT Cork School of Music.

In 1985 he and three colleagues formed the Vanbrugh Quartet which won the London International String Quartet Competition in 1988. An international performing career quickly followed throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas at major concert halls and international festivals, as well as the release of over thirty CDs.

As a member of the Vanbrugh Quartet, he has with his colleagues dedicated his musical life to bringing chamber music to all corners of Ireland and to supporting the country’s composers and young musicians.

Simon has previously been a Director of West Cork Music, and continues to be Artistic Director/Manager of The Vanbrugh Camerata.

Dieter Kaegi
Dieter Kaegi is one of Europe’s most dynamic and influential festival directors. He was born in Zurich and studied Musicology and German Literature there and in Paris.

In 1980, Dieter became assistant director at the Zurich Opera and in 1982 he became assistant to leading French opera director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. During his time with Ponnelle, he worked on opera productions for the stage, film and television.

From 1986, he joined the Deutsche Oper am Rhein as assistant before moving to the Opéra de Monte-Carlo in 1989 as production manager. From 1990 until 1998, he worked as director of productions at the Festival d'Art Lyrique d'Aix-en-Provence.

In 1998, he was appointed Artistic Director of Opera Ireland in Dublin. In 2010, he co-founded Lismore Music Festival which changed its name to the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival in 2018. Dieter continues to be the event's artistic director.

Seven years ago, Dieter was appointed Director General of Theater und Orchester Biel Solothurn (TOBS) in Switzerland.