From Farran in Cork, Máire Ní Chéileachair was born to parents from Kilnamartyra in the Muskerry Gaeltacht of Co. Cork. From them, she got her love of singing and the Irish language. Máire trained as a teacher at University College Cork and worked at Ashton School in Blackrock in Cork. She later became a lecturer on sean-nós at UCC. She began singing in public in 1993 and training to sing. She won an All-Ireland at her first try in 1996. From there, she began to compete in the Oireachtas in 1997, and has won the Corn Mháire Nic Dhonnchadha, the Sean-nós na mBan and the Corn Uí Riada competitions. She was named TG4 singer of the year in 2018, and was singer in residence in Muskerry for a year, which lead to the sean-nós scheme Aisling Gheal. Máire has recorded two albums and takes part in festivals of music around the world, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada and the United States.
Sarah Groser first played the viol as a nine year old when her father lent her one to keep her happy while she was waiting to start on the cello. She didn’t play a viol again until her late teens when she heard a viol consort and fell in love with the sound of viols playing together. She studied both baroque cello and viol with Charles Medlam at Manchester University, then went on to Rotterdam Conservatorium to study baroque cello with Jaap ter Linden. Since her studies Sarah has concentrated on the viol and more recently the violone. She has been a member of the Rose Consort of Viols for fifteen years, Sonnerie for three years and has worked with many other ensembles including Fretwork, Charivari Agreable, London Baroque and the Dowland Consort. In 2001 Sarah moved from England to West Cork with her daughter Gracie. Since then she has performed in Ireland with The Little Concert, Castalia, the Orchestra of St. Cecilia, and with Sarah Cunningham and Tara Brandel at the East Cork Early Music Festival.
Speaker, concert artist
A world-renowned piper, Jimmy has been teaching the advanced uilleann pipes class at the Willie Clancy Summer School since 1977. As a member of the group Scullion he recorded an album and toured Ireland and Europe. Since then Jimmy has released two solo albums and played on many other recordings. Jimmy teaches part-time at Waterford Institute of Technology and has taught in several third level institutions around Ireland, including UCD and the University of Limerick where he earned his Ph.D. He spent five months at Boston College in 2008 as Fulbright Visiting Professor and made a close study of the Hudson music manuscripts there. On his return to Ireland he joined the board of the Irish Fulbright Alumni Association and served as President of the IFAA from 2015 to 2017. As a performer, Jimmy has played around Ireland, Europe, Japan, as well as Australia and New Zealand, the USA and Canada.
Soprano Róisín O’Grady has performed in recital and oratorio throughout Ireland and specialises in the performance of early music. Róisín studied Music and Italian at University College, Cork and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in concert singing at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow. She received a First Class Hons. M.A. in Performance at the Cork School of Music in 2008, and was a soloist with the National Chamber Choir of Ireland for over two years. Róisín has performed with early music ensembles, orchestras and choral societies throughout Ireland and the UK including the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Irish Baroque Orchestra, The Irish Consort and early-music duo Tonos. The duo has released two CDs, Songs of Identity and Belonging and Wintersong. She regularly performs with harpsichordist Malcolm Proud. Festival performances include Galway Early Music Festival, East Cork Early Music Festival, Ardee Baroque Festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival, West Cork Chamber Music Festival and Gŵyl Gregynog Festival.
Malachy Robinson is a dedicated chamber musician, as passionate about Early Music as he is about New Music. He is a founder of the Gregory Walkers, a group performing ‘Early Music from Ireland and beyond’ 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 as well as appearing with several period-instrument orchestras and ensembles. He was a founder member of the Irish Baroque Orchestra and of the quintet Lunfardia. Solo double-bass performances have included many Irish premieres, and he has worked closely with a number of Irish composers including Kevin O’Connell, Donnacha Dennehy, Ian Wilson and Raymond Deane. His double-bass playing has been described by the Irish Times as ‘rich in rhetoric’ with ‘rhythmic life’ and ‘unassuming virtuosity’. The Irish Examiner has cited his ‘remarkable virtuosity’ employing a ‘variety of timbres’. His 2021 album – The Irish Double Bass – was described in a review on planethugill.com as ‘dazzling… intriguing… thoughtful… pure magic’.