The Galway Music Residency Announce Apprentice Ensembles

The Galway Music Residency Apprentice Programme, which provides coaching and performance opportunities with Galway’s Ensemble in Residence ConTempo Quartet, is delighted to announce its successful ensembles for 2015/16. They are violin and piano duo Aisling McCarthy and Anne Ralph; the Aurora Duo – Katie Hyland (flute) and Fiona Gryson (harp); the OAK Violin and Guitar duo – Orlaith McHugh and Katie Neville; and a second violin and piano duo, Hilda O’Mahony and Varazdat Khachatryan.

The Programme, now in its 9th year is rooted in TGMR’s commitment to community and education projects and provides advanced instrumental students an opportunity to further their experience of ensemble playing. During their time on the programme, September 2015 – June 2016, the ensembles will be mentored and advised on a monthly basis by each member of ConTempo Quartet. There is a particular focus in exploring the works of Irish composers and each ensemble will prepare a piece from the Contemporary Music Centre’s catalogue.

Aisling McCarthy (Violin) & Anne Ralph (Piano) met during their undergraduate studies at the CIT Cork School of Music, and during this time were regular collaborators. Prize-winners in CSM’s chamber music competition for both the Schumann piano quintet and with baroque group Paulino Ensemble, they further explored historical performance practice in their MA studies. Besides their commitment to historically informed playing, Anne and Aisling are interested in French and Scandinavian music, and are keen to explore the works of living composers from Ireland and elsewhere.

The Aurora Duo was established in 2012 by Katie Hyland (flute) and Fiona Gryson (harp) whilst studying at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama. They have both just completed their BMus degrees, both graduating with First Class Honours. Recently awarded first prize in the DIT Duo competition, the Aurora Duo has performed at Áras an Uachtaráin, the National Concert Hall, Christ Church Cathedral and the Boyle Arts Festival among others. The duo receives regular coaching from the Vanbrugh Quartet.

OAK Violin and Guitar Duo were formed in 2014 in Maynooth University where its members Orlaith McHugh (Violin) and Katie Neville (Classical Guitar) are both BMus students. The duo was formed with the aim of exploring the rarely performed existing repertoire composed for violin and guitar duo, as well as works transcribed and arranged for the ensemble. With a strong interest in contemporary music, OAK has performed and premiered a number of new compositions for violin and guitar.

Hilda O’Mahony (violin) and Armenian-born Varazdat Khachatryan (piano) are both prizewinning musicians in their own right. As keen chamber musicians, together they recently completed the residency programme of the KBC Great Music in Irish Houses Festival, performing in the ‘Support Act’ concert at the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin. Hilda recently completed her Postgraduate Studies in Music Performance at the DIT Conservatory of Music where Varazdat is currently pursuing his PhD exploring Rachmaninoff’s musical legacy.

The first semester of the Apprentice Programme will culminate in two lunchtime concert events at NUI Galway’s Aula Maxima on Wednesday 2nd and Thursday 3rd December, 2015. For further information email