Born in London, Katherine Hunka began playing the violin at the age of four. Whilst growing up under the guidance of teacher Sheila Nelson, she performed chamber music at London’s South Bank and the Royal Albert hall, was soloist with the City of London Sinfonia and led the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
Katherine was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where she spent five years studying with Gyorgy Pauk, and then furthered her studies in the USA at Indiana University where she also acted as teaching assistant to her professor, Mauricio Fuks. This instilled in her a great love of teaching. She has since returned to Indiana as a guest Professor and been made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.
Katherine is Leader of the Irish Chamber Orchestra since 2002 and regularly directs from the leader’s chair. As director and soloist, with the ICO, she has toured Germany, China and Singapore, appeared at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, and more recently, at the Kilkenny Arts Festival where she co-directed late Beethoven quartets, arranged for string orchestra, with ICO principal cellist, Christian Elliott.
Katherine directs ICO national tours, which take the orchestra all over Ireland. In 2017, Katherine released her first solo CD recording with the ICO of Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. As part of her role with the ICO, Katherine collaborates with contemporary composers. She has directed premieres with Irish composers including Sam Perkin, Ian Wilson, Raymond Dean, Elaine Agnew, Linda Buckley, and John Kinsella. As leader, she has also enjoyed performing solo concertos and chamber music with Jörg Widmann, Pekka Kuusisto, Anthony Marwood and Nigel Kennedy amongst others.
Katherine performs regularly, as a chamber musician and soloist, at festivals throughout Ireland and the UK. At the Aldeburgh Festival she premiered Benjamin Britten’s rediscovered Double Concerto. Last year Katherine appeared at the Sligo International Chamber Music Festival, the Killaloe Chamber Music Festival and performed much of Brahms’ chamber music at the Kilkenny Arts Festival. She is a regular guest to concert venues across Ireland. Her trio, Far Flung with accordionist Dermot Dunne and bassist Malachy Robinson delights audiences with its light-hearted approach, their repertoire spans from Bach to Klezmer with anything in between. They are currently touring Ireland and will soon be releasing a CD recording.
Katherine has been a guest leader with the Manchester Camerata, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and will perform in that role with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for several projects this year. She has also been guest soloist with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra and Concert Orchestra.
She is currently a Professor at the CIT Cork School of Music and the Irish World Academy of Music. She plays a Grancino violin and her bows are by Irish maker Gary Leahy.
Nicola is in demand as a freelance chamber and orchestral musician in the UK where she has lived since she gained her 1st Class Honours performance degree from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She studied with David Takeno and won every violin competition during her time there. She has been Assistant Leader/Principal 2nd with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Nash Ensemble, Manchester Camerata and London Mozart Players. She frequently records music for tv, film and pop in London and loves playing different types of music. Highlights include recording and live shows with Stevie Wonder.
Nicola has been Assistant Leader of ICO for more than twenty years and loves her connection with Ireland. She has been very lucky to lead the orchestra on several major tours, to South America, Europe and the USA. She has played numerous concertos, double concertos and chamber music with her fabulous colleagues. Her CD recording of Moeran Violin Duos with Darragh Morgan will be released shortly.
Johannesburg-born André Swanepoel enjoys a varied musical life as a chamber musician, orchestral player and teacher. Chamber Music is integral to his activities as Principal Second Violin of the ICO – leading to recent Chamber performances at the Heidelberg Spring Festival, the Würzburg Mozart Festival; the Bozar in Brussels, and the Tonhalle in Zurich.
Other chamber highlights include the Kilkenny Arts Festival, and Ryedale, City of London, Chichester and International Donau festivals. He performed in South America for the German Goethe Institut, and has been broadcast on West German, Bavarian, Irish and South African Radio. His CD recordings include a critically acclaimed live recording of Terry Riley’s legendary In C. As soloist he has appeared in South Africa, Ireland, Germany and the UK.
He has guest lead Welsh National Opera and frequently plays guest Principal with Royal Northern Sinfonia, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Hallé, and other UK orchestras.
André teaches violin and chamber music at the Royal Welsh College of Music in Cardiff, and and annually teaches on the ConCorda Chamber Music course in Ireland, and the Xenia Chamber Music course in the Italian Alps.
André studied with Alan Solomon in South Africa, and with Winfried Rademacher and Charles-André Linale in Germany. He had masterclasses from Christian Altenburger, and private tuition from Eugene Fodor and Ana Chumachenko.
Anna began her musical studies in Ireland before training at the Yehudi Menuhin School and the Royal College of Music in London. Whilst at the College she studied with Itzhak Rashkovsky and was awarded many prizes including the college’s prestigious Mills Williams Junior Fellowship and the Tagore Gold Medal which was presented to her by Prince Charles. She also won the Raymond Fox Bursary from the UKs ‘Making Music Society’ and the Serena Neville prize from the Concordia Foundation.
She has given concerts in venues such as the Wigmore Hall, the Forbidden City concert Hall in Beijing and at the Banff Institute of Music in Canada. With her sister Sophie she performs in the Cashell Duo and they are currently represented by Music Network Ireland. Anna has performed as a soloist with many orchestras in Ireland and the UK, such as The National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and Camerata Ireland conducted by Barry Douglas.
Chamber music is one of Anna’s passions; she performs regularly with her husband Simon Watterton in the Cashell-Watterton duo. She is also a founding member of the Schumann String Quartet and a member of the Irish Chamber Orchestra. This year she has been invited to perform at the International Musicians Seminar Open Chamber Music Sessions at Prussia Cove and to perform in America with the Crash Ensemble.
As the 2006 winner of the Heineken Violin Competition Anna was loaned a 19th century violin made by George Chanot for four years. Anna is very grateful for the generous support given to her from the Arts Council and Music Network through the Music Capital Scheme 2011 which enabled her to purchase her violin made by Bernard Simon Fendt.
Diane has been a member of the Irish Chamber Orchestra since 1998. During this time her reputation as a freelance chamber musician has spread, having toured internationally with various orchestras and chamber music groups, including the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the EU Chamber Orchestra and the Crash Ensemble.
Based in Co. Clare, she works extensively as an animateur, workshop leader and certified Dalcroze teacher. Combining her particular skills in improvisation, Diane Daly also plays in a gypsy jazz trio. As an IRC scholarship recipient, she is currently undertaking a Arts Practice PhD in the University of Limerick. She is married to Boris, has three noisy children, Ella, Liam and Molly, and a multitude of various pets.
Having started learning music in Dublin with Geraldine O’Grady, Oonagh studied in Salzburg at the Mozarteum and in Paris with Jean Fournier. Her competition successes at that time included multiple prizes at the Feis Ceoil Dublin, the string category winner of the Lombard & Ulster music foundation award, Arts council bursaries and while in Paris gaining 1st Prix in the Concour Leopold Bellan and 2nd in the Concour JS Bach. She graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama having studied with Yfrah Neaman and David Takeno and subsequently completed an MA at the University of Limerick. In addition to her performing work, Oonagh is very involved in teaching and she is the founder and artistic director of the ‘Ceol na Mara Summer School for Strings’ which was established in 2008 and takes place every summer in Kylemore Abbey in the west of Ireland. She also is the founder and conductor of the ‘Ceol na Mara Chamber Orchestra’ a String Orchestra for young musicians that are based in Limerick, they have performed twice at the National Concert Hall.
Oonagh has arranged and composed a variety of music for strings over the years, most recently for her youth orchestra. She performs regularly with pianist/composer Conor Linehan and together they have performed music written by themselves at recitals at the Hugh Lane Gallery, the Lexicon Library Theatre and on radio. Oonagh has been involved in the ICO’s I Create Online series and has written original music to be part of a collaborative project involving story and animation. She has also narrated ICO’s collaborative film with Vincent Hyland, Fiadh’s Voyage, released in 2021. Oonagh is involved in ongoing music education projects as part of the Whistleblast Quartet, This group (including Conor Linehan, Ken Edge and Mary Curran) brings concerts and composition projects all over Ireland. In 2021 they delivered their new composition programme entirely online which was called Let’s Laugh and provided free online composition workshops on their website and on YouTube. Oonagh has been a member of the Irish Chamber orchestra since their new beginning in Limerick in 1995.
Canadian born violinist Emily Nenniger started studying the violin at the age of four after falling love with a performance by Itzhak Perlman on Sesame Street. She began her studies in her hometown of Calgary, Alberta, Canada and went on to earn a BM in violin performance, as well as a MM in chamber music performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Emily currently lives in Glasgow and has been a member of the Irish Chamber since 2014. She also enjoys a busy freelance career with many orchestras and ensembles across the UK and abroad when she is not with her ICO family.
Violinist Kenneth Rice – www.cyberstrings.com – violinist, violist, composer and arranger working in many musical genres. Kenneth’s unique expertise evolves from his immersion in multiple genres of music from classical and baroque to rock, pop, jazz and traditional Irish.
A classically trained violinist from the outset Kenneth finished his formal training in London with David Takeno, head of strings at the Guildhall school of music and drama, and promptly joined a psychedelic pop band, Engine Alley (with whom he enjoyed/wasted many years recording and gigging from Dublin to LA). On the way he has met and worked with many contemporary artists and bands (and continues this to this day). Having survived relatively unscathed he is now a sought after freelance orchestral player and leader of Dublin (Ireland) based orchestras such as the Orchestra of the National Concert Hall, the Lyric Opera Orchestra, Dublin Sinfonia and the Lombard Ensemble.
His other projects include ‘Good Evening Mr.Kreisler’ a tribute to Viennese violinist Fritz Kreisler; The Nuevo Tango Quartet playing the music of Astor Piazzolla and The West Ocean String Quartet playing original traditional Irish-inspired music. He has performed on over 500 major release tracks and his arrangements and compositions feature on numerous albums, radio theme tunes and advertisements. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.
Cliodhna Ryan is a scholar and first class honours graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, London and continued her studies in Dallas as a Fullbright Scholar. She is a recipient of awards from the Martin Musical Fund and the Countess of Munster Trust and many prizes, including the Roth Prize for top final recital from the Royal Academy of Music.
She also performs regularly with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the European Community Chamber Orchestra. She is much in demand as a solo recitalist and chamber musician in top festivals and venues across Europe.
Louis Roden was born in Dublin in 1963. At six he was accepted as a student of the Royal Irish Academy of Music to study violin with Sidney Griller and Kevin Kiely. After graduating in 1982 he was accepted to study with the Israeli violinist, Yossi Zivoni in London where he remained for six years until winning the French government scholarship for Ireland to study in France in ‘89/90.
He attended the conservatoire in Marseille where he studied chamber music and violin. He maintained a special relationship with France and returned to perform on numerous occasions to play with the Camerata de Provence.
Since returning to Ireland to live he has played numerous recitals, chamber music concerts and toured in many countries across Europe, the Far East, Australia and the USA. He gave numerous first performances of contemporary works and collaborated with the Rubato Ballet Company in various festivals.
Over the years Louis has had a special interest in educational work. He has taught, coached the youth orchestras and took part in the Music Network projects in schools. More recently he has been giving concerts in hospitals as part of an outreach project.
Born in East Germany, Joachim Roewer graduated from the Hochschule für Musik “Franz Liszt” Weimar and the Orchesterakademie of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, having performed frequently with this world-class orchestra in Berlin and internationally. During his studies in Germany (and just after the fall of the Berlin Wall) he was invited to lead the viola section of the International Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra under Claudio Abbado in concert halls throughout Europe.
In 1994 Joachim decided to leave Germany to seek a new and exciting musical home for himself. He moved to Ireland to become principal viola with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, a position which he has held ever since. Over the last few decades he appeared on numerous occasions as a soloist with the Irish Chamber Orchestra. He performed Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante both with Anthony Marwood and Katherine Hunka, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.6 alongside Bruno Giuranna and Berlioz’ “Harold in Italy” with the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland.
Joachim is a passionate teacher and a busy chamber music player. For 13 years he was Course Director of the annual international ConCorda Chamber Music Course for Strings.
He is a member of the Esposito String Quartet and was frequently invited to perform with the Vogler Quartet, the RTE Vanbrugh Quartet and the Contempo Quartet. From 2013 until 2019 he was Artistic Director of the newly founded Killaloe Chamber Music Festival.
Joachim teaches viola and chamber music on the MA programme in Classical Strings at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick.
Mark studied the viola at the Royal Academy of Music under the direction of John White. Whilst there he gained scholarships to study at both the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute and then consequently at the Aspen Music Festival studying with both Lawrence Dutton and Yizhak Schotten.
Mark then worked in London as a freelance musician playing with CBSO, BSO, BBCO, RSNO, RTE, ENO to name but a few and also played in several shows in the West End. Mark was offered a job with the Irish Chamber Orchestra in 1995 where he has been ever since. A keen divermaster and pilot, Mark lives in Herefordshire with his wife Lorna and daughter, Poppy.
Robin Panter is from Liverpool and studied the Viola at the Royal Northern College of Music with Roger Benedict and Scott Dickinson. In 2004 Robin joined the viola section of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and while in Glasgow teamed up with a group of musicians to set up a Scottish version of “El Sistema” visiting Venezuela and applying its ground breaking social and community development programme into schools in Raploch, Stirling.
Robin now lives in Ireland where he is a member of the Irish Chamber Orchestra and regularly performs with the RTÉ and Ulster orchestras amongst others. Robin is also a keen chamber musician and is a member of the Robinson Panoramic Quartet (Violin Viola Cello and Bass) who have commissioned around 25 new pieces, many from Irish composers and four of which were performed as part of a residency at Kaliedoscope Night 2014.
Robin plays a John Dilworth viola and a Noel Burke bow, which were both part funded and supported by Music Network’s Music Capital Scheme, funded by The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Music Network is funded by The Arts Council.
Canadian cellist Christian Elliott enjoys a dynamic career as a chamber musician, soloist, arranger, and composer. Upon the recommendation of cellist Steven Isserlis and after a brief trial period, Christian joined the Zehetmair Quartet in March 2014, appearing at internationally celebrated venues and festivals. He was appointed Principal Cellist of Irish Chamber Orchestra in 2016, with whom he has appeared as soloist and director. He is also cellist of the Phoenix Piano Trio, whose latest disc entitled “The Leipzig Circle” has met with critical acclaim. He is a frequent guest at festivals throughout the U.K. and Europe.
As a composer, Christian premiered his own string sextet composition at London’s Wigmore Hall in July 2012, commissioned to commemorate the Prussia Cove International Musicians Seminar’s 40th anniversary. Other commissions include a work for the Francoise-Green Piano Duo, and a solo viola work for Ruth Killius. Christian was invited to perform his own solo cello pieces at the Spike Alternative Cello Festival in Dublin in February 2020.
During the past year-and-a-half, Christian arranged and multi-track recorded works of all genres from the 16th to 21st centuries. These videos can be found on his YouTube channel, ‘Christian Elliott cellist’, and several are featured on Irish Chamber Orchestra’s Facebook page.
Dublin born Aoife Nic Athlaoich enjoys a versatile musical career, equally at home playing on period instruments as performing newly commissioned works. She has collaborated with Jazz musicians and contemporary dance groups, as well as playing under the baton as such eminent conductors as Sir John Elliot Gardiner, Sir Colin Davis and Bernard Haitink as an orchestral musician.
Aoife has performed with the orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, la Serenissima, the avison ensemble, Irish baroque orchestra, Scottish chamber orchestra, classical opera company. London Mozart players and is a member of the irish chamber orchestra and the orchestre révolutionnaire et romantique
Aoife has won prizes for solo and contemporary music performance at Feis Ceoil, Dublin as well as being awarded a Belfast Classical Music Bursary in 2007 and was awarded scholarships for her studies at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and at the Royal College of Music, London.
Aoife teaches cello at the Cork school of music.
Sanghashura (Richard Angell) started off his musical career aged 16 in the Royal Marines Band service. After six years of mostly marching up and down the parade with a euphonium he left the Royal Marines and commenced cello studies with Amaryllis Fleming at the Royal College of Music. After graduating from the RCM he became principal cellist of the Chamber Orchestra of the North West province South Africa, and in 1995 he joined the Irish Chamber Orchestra.
In October 2005 Richard was Ordained into the Western Buddhist Order and became Dharmachari Sanghashura. He experiences performing with the ICO as an integral part of his overall Buddhist practice.
Malachy Robinson is a dedicated chamber musician, attracted to conversational music of all genres. He is a founder of the Gregory Walkers, in which he plays the viola da gamba, and is director of the Robinson Panoramic Quartet. Principal double-bass with the Irish Chamber Orchestra since 1995, he is also a founder member of the cutting-edge Crash Ensemble. A founder member too of the Irish Baroque Orchestra, he has appeared with period-instrument orchestras such as The Sixteen, the English Concert, the OAE and the Academy of Ancient Music.
He has appeared as a guest with many chamber ensembles, including the Vanbrugh, Callino, Parisii, T’ang, Con Tempo, Navarra and Vogler String Quartets. Along with accordionist Dermot Dunne he was a member of the quintet Lunfardia led by Argentinean guitarist Ariel Hernandez, and together with the ICO’s Katherine Hunka, they constitute the super-eclectic Far Flung Trio who are favourites at festivals around the country. In November 2021 he will release his solo album The Irish Double Bass. www.malachyrobinson.com
Dan Bates is principal oboe with the Irish Chamber Orchestra. He also holds principal positions with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the City of London Sinfonia. He has played guest principal for various orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Born in London, Daniel studied at the Royal Academy of Music, Pembroke College, Cambridge and LAMDA drama school. He was the youngest ever winner of the Royal Overseas League Competition and also won two major international competitions, in Italy and Romania.
He has performed concertos with the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Mozart Players and the English Chamber Orchestra and has given recitals at the Wigmore Hall and the Purcell Room. He is the artistic director of FitzFest – a community chamber music festival based in Fitzrovia, Central London. As an actor his credits include the title role in The Picture of Dorian Gray (Vienna’s English Theatre) Fedotik in The Three Sisters (West End) and Adrian Green in Casualty (BBC TV). He has run the London Marathon twice, in aid of Barnado’s, and has a cat called Tolstoy.
Matthew Draper studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and as a postgraduate, he was awarded scholarships from the Wingate Foundation and the Countess of Munster Musical Trust to study at the Hochschule fur Musik in Munich.
As a busy freelance musician, Matthew is a member of the Irish Chamber orchestra and has been invited to play with other orchestras including the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra, English National Opera Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra.
He has also worked extensively in the theatre playing for current London productions of Wicked and Les Miserables, and in other West End shows including Cats, Ragtime, The Woman in White, Oliver, My Fair Lady and Joseph. In the world of commercial music, Matthew has played for numerous film scores including Harry Potter, Twilight, Lord of the Rings, Tron, Arthur Christmas, and Interstellar.
Matthew has forged a new career as a chat show host, anchoring ICO’s weekly Oboe Windfree programme which broadcasts across ICO’s social media channels.
Matthew has taught at the Royal Academy of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal College of Music. Matthew is currently a visiting consultant at Wells Cathedral School and is the oboe specialist at Brighton College.
James studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Michael Thompson, Richard Watkins and Andrew Clark and upon graduating received the Vice-Principal’s Award for Special Achievement. Before becoming Principal Horn of the ICO, James undertook trials with The Birmingham Royal Ballet Sinfonia, English National Ballet Philharmonic and BBC Scottish Orchestra.
James also continues to freelance with many leading orchestras and has performed with groups including the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the RTE Symphony Orchestra. He is a deputy for the London West-End show ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ and is also currently working with the Heritage Orchestra and Pete Tong with the ‘Ibiza Classics 2017’ tour.
Stephen started playing the horn with Sean Clinch in the Cork School of Music. In 2003 he moved to London to study with Jeffery Bryant, Hugh Seenan and Richard Bissill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He finished at the Guildhall in 2008 and in the same year was appointed as Second Horn of the Irish Chamber Orchestra.
When not working with ICO Stephen is based in London where he is in demand as a freelance player. He appears regularly with orchestras across Ireland and the UK and has appeared as Guest Principal with numerous orchestras including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Concert and Philharmonic Orchestras, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and RTE National Symphony Orchestra.
Stephen’s solo work includes performances of Mozart’s 3rd Horn Concerto, Schumann Konzertstück on 1st Horn, and Telemann concerto for 2 Horns. As a chamber player he has taken part in recitals for Horn, Voice and Piano and Horn, Violin and Piano across the UK, Ireland and Europe. He has appeared as a guest artist at the Boyne Music Festival and is a member of the Reigate Wind Quintet and Live Brass Quintet.
In his spare time Stephen likes to run, although is prone to occasional lapses in his training. He shares a passion for cars with his ICO section principal James, and over the years they have nurtured their competitive streaks at various go kart tracks and track events.