My first music classes began at the age of four, sitting on cushions and playing with finger puppets in the Cork School of Music. I went on to play piano, then cello, following the footsteps of my mother; a piano teacher, but before that, an aspiring cellist. In my late teens I started travelling to and from Dublin for lessons with Bill Butt, who became my teacher for most of my degree at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. I studied with Chris Marwood in my final year and for my master’s, before studying in Leipzig with Peter Hoerr.
In my teens, I didn't play in any school orchestras or have many opportunities to make music with other kids, so it was really when I went to college that I discovered the of joy playing music with others. Like a lot of musicians, I'd say that chamber music is probably the most fulfilling thing for me, and I also really enjoy orchestral playing. My love of chamber music has lead me to perform the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, supported by the Vanbrugh Quartet Scholarship, and I've won several national awards for chamber music.
During my undergraduate studies, I was lucky enough to begin freelancing with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, and I've worked frequently with them, and the RTE Concert Orchestra since. I've also played in the Britten-Pears Orchestra (2017), under the incredible Marin Alsop, and am principal cellist of Fishamble Sinfonia, a young orchestra specialising in performances of early music.
During my degree, I joined what was then a student-run contemporary music ensemble, Kirkos. It has since become a successful and well-established group in Ireland. Since joining Kirkos, I've given over 60 premieres (including four solo cello commissions), worked on extraordinary projects, including performances in darkness, of Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time and Reich's Different Trains, and performed a recital of solo cello works by composers such as Saariaho, Lachenmann and Henze. I have also performed at five Irish Composers Collective concerts and worked with Crash Ensemble. New music is something I feel really passionate about, and I would love to somehow help people (the public and fellow musicians alike) lose their distrust of contemporary music.
I've also been fortunate enough to win several awards over the past few years, including the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe scholarship in 2016 and the John Vallery Memorial Prize in the 2015 Irish Freemasons' Young Musician of the Year competition. As soloist, I've performed the Elgar and Dvořák cello concerti in venues across Ireland, including the National Concert Hall.
Aside from Southbank Sinfonia, some of my most exciting engagements for 2018 include performances of two of my all-time favourite pieces; first, Beethoven's Triple Concerto, in the National Opera House, Wexford, and second, Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht, as part of the Beckett Chamber Music series.
Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy"
CIT Cork School of Music
Royal Irish Academy of Music
What’s on your playlist right now?
Lots of Schubert songs at the moment, he was such a genius...I'm preparing for a concert with lots of indulgent cello music in it, and I'm playing some arrangements of his works for voice. I'm also listening to the Schumann Piano Quartet, Brahms Piano Quintet (listening right now - so amazing!), one embarrassing Spotify Disney playlist, and Vulfpeck.
What do you do with your time when you’re not playing music?
I spend a LOT of time thinking about, cooking and eating food. I also like reading and exploring cities, spending time with friends and the first sip of a gin and tonic - my dream day would probably be some combination of all of the above.