Aibhlín McCrann has been involved with the Irish harp as a performer, teacher, arranger and organiser for many years and has been a strong force for encouraging the integration of the Irish harp into mainstream Irish traditional music. She studied Concert Harp with Caitríona Yeats and Mercedes Garvey and holds BA Hons, BMus degrees from University College Dublin.
Aibhlín has extensive radio, television and recording experience and has devised and arranged music for a number of film scores and television series. Her arrangements feature in Cairde na Cruite’s Sounding Harps publications and she was co-editor of Rogha na gCruitirí (100 tunes for Irish harp) published in 2010. She is currently Chair of Cruit Éireann, the recently established national umbrella organisation for the harp in Ireland. She has served on the board of the Irish Traditional Music Archive and was a member of The Arts Council, An Chomhairle Ealaíon for two terms. She served as Deputy Chair of the Arts Council 2012 - 2016.
The Festival mentors/tutors are drawn from the foremost figures and in the world of Irish harping represent some of the most respected and experienced teachers in Ireland and include a number of internationally renowned performers. Harpists who have taught at the festival in the past include:
Drawn from the most internationally renowned performers in the world of Irish harping, the Festival mentors/tutors are among the most respected and experienced teachers in Ireland. 2017 mentors will include:
Áine has worldwide acclaim as a harper and teaches harp at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Her recordings include several film scores and CDs and a feature on Ciarán Mac Mathúna's series A Touch of the Master's Hand.
She has also premiered compositions by Dr Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and Savourna Stevenson. As a Concert Harpist, Áine has played with orchestras and ensembles including RTÉCO and RTÉNSO.
Under Áine’s stewardship as Festival Director at An Chúirt Chruitireachta 2011 – 2016, Cairde na Cruite was awarded the TG4 Gradam award for its contribution to the development of the harp in Ireland since its inception in 1960.
A native of Dublin, Cormac was raised in an Irish-speaking family of musicians and singers. He is a third generation harper, having first studied Irish harp with his grandmother, Róisín Ní Shé, before going on to study concert harp in the United States. He has performed across the globe both as a solo artist and with many of Ireland's most respected and well-known artists including Clannad, Dervish, Altan, Moya Brennan and Brian Kennedy.
Cormac has made numerous recordings, including two CDs with members of the De Barra family and two under the title Voices & Harps, with Grammy Award-winning singer and the voice of Clannad, Moya Brennan. He has also recorded two harp duo CDs with harpist and composer, Anne-Marie O'Farrell. Cormac has also enjoyed a career in televison, having presented the traditional music series Flosc and three years as main host of the flagship arts series, Imeall, on the Irish language television station TG4. www.cormacdebarra.com
Máire is the doyenne of Irish harp players, Female Musician of the Year in the Live Ireland 2016 awards and sole harper recipient to date of Irish music’s most prestigious award Gradam Cheoil TG4 – Traditional Musician of the Year.
A multiple All-Ireland and Pan-Celtic winner, Máire has developed profoundly influential techniques for harp performance of traditional Irish music. Her celebrated virtuoso partnership with guitarist Chris Newman has made seven duo and two quartet albums and toured in twenty-two countries worldwide to venues ranging from the tiniest of village halls to palaces in Kyoto and Istanbul, London’s Barbican, Sydney Town Hall and Cologne's Philharmonie. Her new recording with her sisters, The Casey Sisters: Sibling Revelry was released in 2016. www.mairenichathasaigh.com
Since 1996, Dearbhail has combined a busy solo performance career with her role as director of the Meath Harp Academy and founder of the Meath Harp Ensemble. Dearbhail has released five recordings and was delighted to record a track for Masters of the Irish Harp CD, released by Lyric FM and Cairde Na Cruite.
Dearbhail has also published two books of Irish Harp arrangements, which are on the harp syllabus of the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Her music was featured in the animated movie “Nim’s Winter Tale” by Ola Schubert and was nominated as a finalist in the “Best Original Sound” category at the Flash Forward Conference in Seattle, USA. In 2014 she was made a Distinguished Honorary Member of Sigma Alpha Iota. Most recently she has released a recording with her harp ensemble entitled The Chronicles of Meath composed by Vincent Kennedy. www.dearbhailfinnegan.com
A First Class Honours Music graduate from University College Cork, Deirdre Granville was a founding member and auditor of Triantán harp ensemble. She received her Masters in Music Performance from University of Limerick in 2014. Deirdre has performed extensively throughout the UK, Europe, Russia, America and Australia. She is a member of folk singing band Deluce's Patent and has toured and recorded with them and also with Aoife Granville (Sráid Eoin Shuffle & Sáimhín Só).
Deirdre is co-ordinator and founder of Dingle Tradfest; and is director of the newly established Kerry Harp Ensemble, Cruitirí na Ríochta. Deirdre has recently joined forces with uilleann piper Brendan McCreanor to form the duo Sirmione. Her debut solo album IMRAM was released in the summer of 2015. www.deirdregranville.com
Gráinne Hambly is an internationally recognised exponent of the Irish harp and is in great demand as a performer and teacher. With a Masters in musicology from Queens University in Belfast. She specialises ion teaching Irish traditional music ‘by ear’ and is also an accomplished concertina player.
Gráinne has been playing professionally as a solo musician for many years and has appeared on numerous occasions in Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Brazil, Colombia Israel and Japan as well as touring extensively in the United States giving concerts, workshops and masterclasses. Gráinne has attracted glowing praise for her mastery of the instrument and has released 3 critically-acclaimed solo CDs and a collaborative recording with Scottish Harper William Jackson. www.grainnehambly.com
Irish music Meteor Award (2010) nominee Kathleen Loughnane is highly regarded for her work in arranging traditional Irish dance tunes and airs for the harp and also for researching the music of Irish harp composers of the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1990, she co-founded Dordan, whose mix of Irish and Baroque music has received widespread acclaim. Dordan received the National Entertainment award for traditional music in 1993.
Kathleen has 4 CDs and accompanying books to her credit, Affairs of the Harp, Harping On, Harp to Heart and her most recent release The Harpers Connellan. She has taught in Ireland and at major festivals in the US, Japan and throughout Europe. Her arrangements have appeared in various publications and feature on the Harp Syllabus of The Royal Irish Academy of Music. Kathleen is currently researching the manuscripts of Patrick O Neill of Owning, Carrick- on- Suir and making a selection from the manuscript to arrange for Irish harp. www.kathleenloughnane.com
Triona Marshall has played with The Chieftains since 2003, during which time she has recorded two solo albums of Irish traditional music and performed in concert halls around the world. Prior to this, she was the principle harpist with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, which was preceded by many dedicated years of study, primarily under the esteemed harp teacher Aileen McArdle and latterly under Professor Edward Witsenburg at Koninklijk at Conservatorium in Den Haag and Daphne Boden at London’s Royal College of Music. In 2013, along with The Chieftains, Triona was awarded an honorary doctorate from Dublin Institute of Technology in recognition of the band’s contribution to music. Triona was recently awarded an Arts Council bursary to compose a series of harp études in the traditional style focusing on developing key areas of harping technique. www.trionamarshall.com
Harpist Anne-Marie O’Farrell from Dublin has performed worldwide as a solo artist, accompanist and in ensembles, from Moscow to Saudi Arabia. On Irish harp, she is particularly recognized for her expansion of repertoire and levering techniques, as a result of which the world’s leading harpmakers Salvi Harps redesigned their lever harps to become concert instruments. A prolific recording artist, she has released several CDs, including Just So Bach, Harping Bach to Carolan, The Jig’s Up, My Lagan Love, Just So Bach, Double Strung and Duopoly with Cormac De Barra and Harp to Harp with harmonica player Brendan Power.
Anne-Marie is regularly broadcast on LyricFM, which featured her 1916 Trilogy for soprano and harp in its commemorative broadcasting for the centenary year. Also active as a composer, Anne-Marie is Composer in Residence (funded by the Arts Council) at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, and lectures in composition at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama. www.annemarieofarrell.com
A seannós singer from the West Kerry Gaeltacht, Seosaimhín has been traditional singer in residence at An Chúirt Chruitireachta since 2010 and offers the richness of her musical heritage to the festival programme. She worked for many years as a producer and presenter in RTÉ Radio One and in Raidio na Gaeltachta. She is currently Adjunct Professor and Lecturer in Traditional singing in DIT Conservatory of Music, Dublin. Her many recordings, both solo and ensemble in Irish and in English, have met with wide acclaim.