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Harp Festival Mentors 2023

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Festival Mentors

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. 2023 mentors will include:

Áine Ní Dhubhghaill

Áine Ní Dhubhghaill 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 MacMathúna’s series A Touch of the Master’s Hand.

Áine has played with orchestras and ensembles including RTÉCO and RTÉNSO. Áine was Festival Director for 5 years when Cairde na Cruite was awarded a TG4 Gradam. She is also co-editor of Rogha na gCruitirí, Harpers’ Choice, 100 Tunes for Irish Harp.

Kim Fleming

Kim Fleming is one of Ireland’s most respected harpers and enjoys a successful career as a musician, teacher and arranger of traditional Irish repertoire. Having travelled throughout Europe, Africa, USA and Russia, Kim is now settled in Longford where she teaches music in Ballymahon Vocational School.

Kim has adjudicated the All Ireland Fleadh Ceoil for many years and continues to be in high demand as an adjudicator and examiner for the Department of Education.

Gráinne Hambly

Gráinne Hambly from County Mayo is an internationally recognised exponent of the Irish harp, and is in great demand as a performer and teacher, both at home and abroad.

She studied music at Queen’s University Belfast and also plays concertina. Gráinne has toured and recorded with various artists, including performances as far afield as Japan, Brazil and Colombia as well as frequent tours to the USA.

She has released 3 critically acclaimed solo CDs, as well as 2 books of harp music. Her most recent collaboration is with her husband Scottish harper William Jackson, with whom she frequently tours. They have released a recording Music from Ireland and Scotland (2009) as well as publishing some arrangements of Irish music for harp ensemble.

Úna Ní Fhlannagáin

Úna Ní Fhlannagáin is an award-winning harper-composer and singer from Co. Galway, Ireland. An instrumentalist of verve and imagination, she is rooted in diverse musical influences such as the dance music tradition of North Clare, the sean-nós singing style of Maigh Seola, the American post-minimalists and free jazz.

She has performed her wildly energetic jigs and reels, delicate hornpipes and emotive slow airs throughout Ireland, Europe, North America and the Middle East, winning multiple prizes at the All-Ireland Fleadh, Keadue International Harp Festival, Oireachtas, O’Carolan Harp Festival, and Granard Harp Festival along the way.

While studying for a first-class honours university degree, she branched into jazz and contemporary music, studying and performing with Anthony Braxton, the legendary free jazz musician and composer.

Since then she’s won a commission from the World Harp Congress, had one of her pieces published by Cairde na Cruite, and performed her own compositions in Ireland, Croatia, Canada and the U.S., and performed with Grammy Award winner Bobby McFerrin. Úna strives to mine the richness of her native tradition, explore the potential of her instrument, and respectfully engage with other genres… in short, to play music which makes you feel good.

Kathleen Loughnane

Kathleen Loughnane

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 The Harpers Connellan.

She has taught in Ireland and at major festivals in the US, Japan and throughout Europe. She was invited to play at the World Harp Congress in Dublin in 1995. Her arrangements have appeared in various publications and feature on the Harp Syllabus of The Royal Irish Acadamy of Music.

Kathleen is currently arranging a selection of tunes for harp from the MSS of Patrick O Neill (1763-1830).

Deirdre Granville

Hailing from Dingle, Co. Kerry, a multi-instrumentalist and singer, Deirdre studied both traditional and classical music from a young age. She has toured and performed extensively worldwide and has featured on Radio, commercial recordings and TV performances both solo and with other celebrated musicians including Kerry Chamber and Youth Orchestras, Aoife Granville, folk singing group; Deluce’s Patent and duo; Sirmione amongst others.

A music graduate from University College Cork and a MA performance graduate from University of Limerick. She has won numerous solo and group performance medals, including the first ever All-Ireland Senior Harp Slow Airs title at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.

She is one of the most recognised names in contemporary Irish harping and has a particular interest in the Goodman Collection, slow air-playing and the music of the Blasket Islands … where her family are originally from.

Deirdre released her first solo album, Imram, in 2015. She was Co-Director and founder of Dingle Tradfest and was appointed to the board of CÉHI on 2/11/2017.

Deirdre Ní Bhuachalla

Deirdre Ní Bhuachalla is a harpist and educator originally from Co. Meath, now based in Dundalk, Co. Louth. She inherits her love of traditional Irish music from both parents and particularly grandfather, piper Peter Carberry (RIP) who was a founding member of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ) and patron of Na Píobairí Uilleann. It was at Gaelscoil na Cille in Ashbourne where her journey with the harp began under the tutelage of Siobhán Ní Dhúill.

Deirdre attended University College Dublin where she received an Honours Degree in Archaeology and Modern Irish, which lead to a successful albeit short career in archaeology. Deirdre pursued formal training in harp with Nancy Calthorpe, Evelyn Hearns and finally Denise Kelly at DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama (now TU Dublin).

Deirdre has won numerous titles at Fleadhanna Cheoil, harp festivals and Feis Ceoil and travelled extensively in Europe performing at festivals including Festival Interceltique de Lorient. In 2013 Deirdre received the Comhaltas TTCT Diploma in the teaching of traditional Irish Music where she is now a member of the mentor team.

Deirdre now works full-time with Music Generation Louth where she leads the traditional music programme, Harp Ensemble programme and is Co-Director and Project Manager of Nós Nua –Youth Folk Orchestra, a very successful collaboration with Oriel Centre, Dundalk Gaol (CCÉ NE Regional Centre). Her connection to the Oriel Centre does not stop there. She performs regularly at the Centre and is also engaged with Guth na nGael, a cross community language and musical exchange programme for young people in partnership with Feisean nan Gaidheal in Scotland.

Triona Marshall

Triona Marshall

Triona Marshall has played with The Chieftains since 2003, performing in concert halls around the world. During her time with The Chieftains she recorded multiple albums with them and other artist along with her own solo albums.

Previous to this phase in her career, she was the principle harpist with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, which in itself 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.

Maire Ní Chathasaigh

Máire is “the doyenne of Irish harp players” (SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY) and recipient of Irish music’s most prestigious Award, Gradam Ceoil TG4 – Musician of the Year – “for the excellence and pioneering force of her music, the remarkable growth she has brought to the music of the harp in Ireland and for the positive influence she has had on the young generation of harpers.”

A multiple All-Ireland and Pan-Celtic winner, she developed profoundly influential techniques for harp performance of traditional Irish music, heard on her pioneering New-Strung Harp (1985) and subsequent seven recordings with guitarist Chris Newman – with whom she tours worldwide. and

Anne Marie O’Farrell

Leading harpist of her generation, Dr Anne-Marie O’Farrell from Dublin has performed all over the world as a solo artist, accompanist and in ensembles, and is regularly featured in broadcasts.

On lever harp, she is particularly recognized for her expansion of repertoire and levering  techniques, as a result of which the world’s leading harp makers Salvi Harps redesigned their lever harps to become concert instruments.  She has performed with numerous orchestras, including the Irish Baroque Orchestra, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the Irish Memory Orchestra, and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. Last year she premiered her lever harp concerto, In Light Anew (commissioned by RTÉ Lyric FM) with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales at the World Harp Congress in Cardiff.

A prolific recording artist, she has released several CDs, including Just So Bach, Harping Bach to Carolan, The Jig’s Up, My Lagan Love and Embrace: New Directions for Irish Harp; Double Strung and Duopoly with Cormac De Barra; and Harp to Harp with harmonica player Brendan Power.

She is frequently invited to give recitals, workshops and masterclasses at international conferences and festivals around the world, in addition to performance at several World Harp Congresses.

She is Head of Harp at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where she runs a thriving harp department. Dedicated to the expansion of repertoire for the lever harp, she has published critical editions for lever harp of Bach’s cello, keyboard and lute repertoire. Anne-Marie holds a PhD in composition with Piers Hellawell at Queen’s University Belfast and masters degrees in performance, musicology and composition.

Recent large-scale commissions include a Civil War Cantata commissioned by UCD, several orchestral works, and a five-movement work for large harp ensemble commissioned by Harp Ireland/Cruit Éireann.

Cormac de Barra

Cormac de Barra comes from a family of traditional Irish musicians and singers, and first studied Irish harp with his grandmother, Róisín Ní Shé. He was awarded a scholarship to study concert harp in the United States at the age of fourteen. At the Dublin Feis Ceoil Cormac has won both the under eighteen harp competition and the O’Carolan Cup.

His performing career has taken him to places as far away as Africa and Asia, where he spent six months playing at Expo ‘90 in Osaka, Japan and to Spain where he also spent six months playing at Expo ‘92 in Seville. While in Japan he gave a command performance for Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at their Imperial Palace.

He has performed extensively and given workshops throughout Europe and the USA in addition to making several recordings of traditional music with other members of his family.

Cormac presented the award-winning traditional music series Flosc on TG4. He has also been involved in music for theatre, performing in a number of productions including The Cúchulainn Cycle by W. B. Yeats and Mysteries 2000 at the SFX, both directed by Michael Scott and the first tour of Irish Modern Dance Theatre’s Slam. Cormac also collaborated on the music  and lyrics for Siamsa Tíre’s latest production Tearmann.

Performing with singer and actress Hazel O’Connor he has toured Britain, Europe, the United States and Australia. Cormac released his first solo CD Barcó in 2002 to much critical acclaim.

He has toured internationally and recorded several albums with Moya Brennan of Clannad.