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  • World Premiere of New Composition at 3rd April Concert
  • Tickets available for Showcase Ireland
  • Blackwater Valley Opera Festival
  • Irish Heritage Charity Golf Day
  • News from and about Irish Heritage People

Irish Heritage Newsletter – March 2019
Following Amy Gillen’s superb London debut recital earlier this month, all at Irish Heritage are excited about our “Showcase Ireland” concert on 3rd April – details below.
A highlight of the evening will be the world premiere of the successful composition in the inaugural Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Composition.

Tickets can be purchased by clicking on the button below or by visiting

World Premiere of New Composition at 3rd April Concert

The world premiere of the winning entry in Irish Heritage’s Music Bursary for Composition will take place at the “Showcase Ireland” concert in Princess Alexandra Hall, Over-Seas House off St James’ Street, London SW1 on Wednesday 3rd April.

Niall Tormey's winning composition, “Give me your hand and come what may”, will be performed by flautist Amy Gillen, recipient of the 2018 Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Performance, and harpist Tara Viscardi who was highly commended in the Bursary auditions.

Commenting on the successful entry, adjudicator Dr Teresa O’Donnell said, “The new composition captures the Bursary’s theme of peace and reconciliation. Tormey's treatment of the Irish harper, Ruaidhrí Dall Ó Catháin's air, “Tabhair dom do Láimh” marries elements of the rich Irish musical tradition with the art music tradition and contemporary currents. The composer's own experience of dual heritage inspired the work and that resonated in his composition.”

Niall Tormey will attend the premiere of his composition.

April 3rd

“Showcase Ireland” - a new initiative by Irish Heritage
 Princess Alexandra Hall, Over-Seas League House, St James’ Street, London SW1 1LR at 7.30pm

Showcase Ireland is an initiative by Irish Heritage in which the organisation is bringing three outstanding young performers from Ireland and providing them with a London debut. 
This inaugural event will feature the exceptional talents of soprano Fiona Flavin, pianist Kevin Jansson and cellist Killian White.   
Fiona Flavin is a lyric soprano and honours graduate of the Cork School of Music where she studied voice with Robert Craig (Mmus Juilliard) who described her voice as remarkably “pure”. 
Kevin Jansson, a student at the Cork School of Music, is emerging as one of the finest musicians of his generation.  He already has six international first prizes to his name on both piano and violin. 
Killian White (cello), the recipient of the 2018 RDS Music Bursary, is regarded as one of the most exceptional young cellists ever to come from Ireland. 
The concert is being curated and produced by Audrey McKenna, Irish Heritage’s Artistic Advisor-Ireland.  An exceptional evening’s entertainment is assured in the elegant surroundings of Over-Seas League House in the heart of the West End.

Tickets are £20 each for adults (including wine reception and programme) and £5 for students on production of ID.  Adult tickets are now available online via the Irish Heritage website (, there are no booking fees.  Adult and student tickets will be available on the door on the evening (card payment facility available) and are subject to availability.
Kevin Jansson

31st May

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival, Lismore, County Waterford

See the stars of the 2018 Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Performance: Amy Gillen, Tara Viscardi, Peter Harris and Brian Hughes, in a special recital in the Festival’s unique Dromore Yard venue at 12.00pm on Friday 31st May. 

Visit for details.

14th June

Irish Heritage Charity Golf Day at Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf and Spa

Irish Heritage’s popular, annual fund-raising event. Entries will be welcomed from teams of four golfers.  Please contact Tom Scanlon at for further details about participation and sponsorship.
Superb London debut by Amy Gillen

Amy Gillen, recipient of Irish Heritage’s 2018 Music Bursary for Performance, made her official London debut with a recital in the elegant St Marylebone Parish Church in the West End on Wednesday evening 6th March.
The 23-year-old flautist from Donegal entertained the audience with a beautifully balanced programme of music that had something for everyone.

The acoustic of the church complemented Amy’s impeccable technique as she gave soul and animation to the most technically demanding of pieces.  Amy was supported by accompanist Brian Hughes, who also participated in the Bursary auditions last November, and complemented the flautist’s playing in the most natural manner. 

Another Bursary participant, harpist Tara Viscardi, played on a number of arrangements chosen by Amy Gillen that brought the harp in to enhance the impact. Amy and her friends received a standing ovation from the audience who had experienced an exceptional and enjoyable performance from a remarkably talented musician.  
Caption: Pictured (left to right) after the recital are Tara Viscardi, Brian Hughes, Amy Gillen and Patrick Lennon, Chairman, Irish Heritage.
Niall Tormey awarded inaugural Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Composition

Niall Tormey, who is studying for a Masters in Composition at National University of Ireland - Maynooth, is the recipient of the inaugural Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Composition.
Twenty-seven year-old Niall who was born in Nottingham and moved to Ireland when he was 10, now lives in Killucan, County Westmeath.  He received a Batchelor of Music degree from NUI Maynooth and has already had compositions performed on two continents.

The new Bursary, worth £3,000, was open to young, first or second generation Irish composers studying at recognised music conservatoires and other colleges in Ireland and Britain.  An encouraging number of entries was received in this first year of the award.

An important addition to the performing arts organisation’s annual programme of collaborations, concerts and recitals, the new Bursary, which was made possible through the support of The Ireland Funds Great Britain and a generous donor, complements the Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Performance that was launched in 2015 and which has already had a major impact.

Entries were adjudicated by a panel consisting of Dr Teresa O’Donnell, Professor John Buckley and Audrey McKenna, Irish Heritage’s Artistic Adviser-Ireland.
Caption: Niall Tormey

News from and about Irish Heritage People

Eamonn Carroll appointed Director of BVOF


The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival has announced the appointment of Eamonn Carroll as Festival Director, a position which he will take up in April 2019.


Eamonn Carroll is currently the Membership Relationship Manager with the RDS. He previously held a senior position with Wexford Festival Opera as Development Manager from 2008-2015. He is a former Board Member at the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival.


Speaking of the announcement Eamonn Carroll commented: “The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and it has developed into a truly unique Festival, with a special and extraordinary atmosphere, musical excellence, and settings that are second to none. Having served on the Board of the Festival for two years, I am delighted and honoured to be asked to now lead the Festival executive team. I am very much looking forward to working with the Board, Artistic Director Dieter Kaegi and the executive team, volunteers, funders, sponsors and donors.”


Irish Heritage congratulates Mr Carroll on his appointment and looks forward to working with him.

Have you considered becoming a “Friend of Irish Heritage”?

By becoming a Friend of Irish Heritage you join a special community of people who are committed to making the dreams of young Irish classical performers and composers a reality and to helping maintain the high quality and breadth of our programme of concerts and other events.

Your subscription provides vital funding for the essential support and performance opportunities Irish Heritage is able to offer talented musicians, singers and composers that are awarded Bursaries or are identified by Irish Heritage’s artistic advisers.

For further information and an application form, please visit: and click on the “Join Us” tab.

Without the generosity of our Friends, much that we do at Irish Heritage would be impossible.
Irish Heritage – An Overview

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 awards two valuable Bursaries annually, one for performance, the other for composition.

Irish Heritage presents a programme of public events in established music venues and supports other organisations, including the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival that share 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 our founder Ethna Kennedy that we are committed to maintaining and enhancing.


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