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  • The Harps of Ireland Concert
  • Afternoon Classical Music Recitals at the ICC
  • Full programme for 2019/20

Welcome to the first issue of the Irish Heritage newsletter for the 2019/20 season.  This is the organisation’s 45th season, we are sure that our founder, the late Ethna Kennedy, would be pleased that her legacy continues to develop.

We start our season with a special concert “The Harps of Ireland” in the stunning Wolfson Room of the British Academy in London on Thursday 24th October.  The concert will present two outstanding harpists from Ireland, Siobhán Armstrong and Clare McCague.  Our audience is assured of an educational and entertaining evening, full details are below.

This month also sees the start of our new Outreach and Community programme in association with the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith.  We are launching a series of afternoon recitals of classical music, including Irish composers, performed by our talented bursary recipients.  There is more information below.

The auditions for our 2019 Music Bursary for Performance and our new Brackaville Bursary for Vocal Studies will take place in the Wigmore Hall on Thursday 7th November starting at 10.00am.  If you are available please stop by to see the talented musicians and singers competing for our valuable bursaries.

Details of our updated “Friend of Irish Heritage” offer which features a £75 season ticket giving access to all our musical events are below.

The first half of our calendar of events for the season is below, the full calendar is available on our website.

The latest news and further details can always be found at

The Harps of Ireland – Concert on 24th October
Irish Heritage’s first event of its 45th season is a special recital that explores the extraordinary history and heritage of the harp in Ireland.

We are bringing two leading exponents of the Irish harp to the stunning Wolfson Room of The British Academy in the heart of the Westminster.

Siobhán Armstrong and Clare McCague are at the forefront of rediscovering forgotten riches of harp music from earlier times - Siobhán on the brass-wire-strung early Irish harp and Clare on the gut-strung, European pedal harp which replaced the ancient harp in Ireland in the early nineteenth century.

In this shared recital from either side of the watershed year 1800, when one harp was dying out and the other gaining ground, Siobhán presents music from the last Irish harpers: evocative laments, marches, love-song airs and sparkling dances while Clare performs 19th century repertoire for the pedal harp which flourished through the influence of visiting virtuosi. These harpists extemporised on popular Irish airs incorporating the melodies into their compositions.
Much of the evening’s programme will include music never performed before in London.

Tickets are £20 each for adults (including wine reception and programme) and £5 for students on production of ID. 

Adult tickets are available online by clicking on the link below (there are no booking fees) and on the door; student tickets are only available on the door on the evening.

Thursday 24th October 2019 at 7.30pm
Wolfson Room, The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH

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Photos: Siobhan Armstrong (left) and Clare McCague (right)
Afternoon Classical Music Recitals at the ICC

Irish Heritage and the Irish Cultural Centre are pleased to announce the launch of a series of afternoon classical music recitals in the Centre’s auditorium.

The recitals will be performed by leading musicians and singers from Irish Heritage’s music bursary competitions.  The recitals will last between 45 minutes and an hour and will be followed by tea and biscuits.

Tickets are £5.00 each for adults and are available from the ICC. All proceeds from the recitals will be donated to the Centre’s new piano fund.
Wednesday 23rd October at 3.30pm - Harp Recital by Tara Viscardi

Tara hails from the Beara Peninsula in Co Kerry, she is an honours graduate of DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, Dublin and has been studying for a Master of Music in Harp Performance at the Royal College of Music.

An avid chamber and orchestral musician, Tara has performed extensively with various ensembles and orchestras.  She is also a passionate traditional Irish musician and plays a beautiful Killarney Harp hand-crafted for her by Tim O’ Carroll in her native Kerry.
The Friends of Irish Heritage – Season 2019/20

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.

Friends receive the following benefits:
  • An invitation to the annual Music Bursary auditions;
  • A “behind the scenes” experience with an Irish Heritage artist during the season;
  • Nine issues of the Irish Heritage newsletter each season;
  • An exclusive invitation to the Irish Heritage AGM and reception.

The annual subscription for the 2019/20 season is £75 this includes a season ticket for the organisation’s five recitals and concerts.  It also includes a complimentary guest ticket for one event.

When you become an individual Friend for the first time there is a one-off joining fee of £50, when added to the annual subscription that makes a total of £125 for the first year.

For further information about becoming a Friend and an application form please contact or visit the Friends pages on the website.

For information about becoming a corporate Friend of Irish Heritage, including event sponsorship opportunities, for a minimum subscription of £250 please contact Patrick Lennon, Chairman, Irish Heritage at

Annual Review and Announcement of Programme

Thanks to the support of the partners at Killik & Co. Irish Heritage was given rare access to the Music Room at the company’s elegant offices in the heart of Mayfair for its annual review and programme announcement reception on 3rd October.  The event was attended by the organisation’s Friends and corporate supporters.
The offices were created in their current incarnation as the home of American-born industrialist and philanthropist Sir Edgar Speyer (1862 – 1932). Speyer was a music lover and patron of the arts, frequently holding concerts in his home. He was friends with composers Edward Elgar, Edvard Greig Richard Strauss and Claude Debussy. Debussy and Strauss performed in the Music Room.
The evening featured a conversation with and performance by Irish Heritage’s 2018/19 Music Bursary recipient for Performance, flautist Amy Gillen who was accompanied by Brian Hughes.
Pictured (left to right): Brian Hughes; Rachel Ingersoll, Embassy of Ireland; Tom Scanlon, Irish Heritage; Amy Gillen and Peter Power-Hynes, Irish Heritage.
Programme for 2019/20

23rd October
New Outreach and Community programme
Harp recital by Tara Viscardi in the Irish Cultural Centre, 5 Blacks Road, Hammersmith, London W6 9DT at 3.30pm

24th October
Concert – “The Harps of Ireland” in Wolfson Room, The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH at 7.30pm

7th November
Irish Heritage Music Bursaries for Performance and Vocal Studies: auditions at Wigmore Hall, London W1 starting at 10.00am

19th November
New Outreach and Community Programme
Piano and Violin recital by Brian Hughes (piano/keyboard) and Sarah Walsh (violinist) in the Irish Cultural Centre, 5 Black’s Road, Hammersmith, London W6 9DT at 3.30pm

16th December
“Christmas by Candlelight” music and carol concert at St George’s Church, Hanover Square, London W1S 1FX at 7.00pm
Irish Heritage – An Introduction

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 now awards three valuable Bursaries annually, one for performance, one for composition and another for vocal studies.
Irish Heritage presents a programme of public events in established music venues and supports other organisations, including the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival that shares 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 its founder Ethna Kennedy that it is committed to maintaining and enhancing. 
These values are the inspiration for the organisation’s Outreach and Community programme which brings the joy of live music to people who cannot normally access it, to children in education and to those who benefit from music as therapy.
Visit for more information.
Follow Irish Heritage on Twitter: @HeritageIrish, Facebook: IrishHeritageLondon and YouTube at Irish Heritage

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Irish Heritage · Apt 71 Vida House · 50 Trundleys Road · London, se8 5ej · United Kingdom

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