Prof. Dr. Aylish E. Kerrigan, Mezzosoprano, was born in San Francisco of Irish parents. She studied with the renowned vocal pedagogue, Professor John de Merchant, and received a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Master's Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Oregon.
After winning awards in international vocal competitions, she continued her studies in Germany at the Stuttgart Musikhochschule, receiving Soloist Diplomas in Opera and Lieder Interpretation. In addition to her commitment to the art of the vocal recital, she is a dedicated performer of contemporary vocal music, premiering new works in particular from Ireland throughout the world. She is recognized as one of the foremost interpreters of Irish vocal music, documented in her recordings and her extensive collection of Irish traditional songs, arranged for her by acclaimed Irish composers. Her work together with the noted Brecht specialists Gisela May and Peter Palitzsch established her as an interpreter of German Theatre Music. Her one-woman Broadway shows have won her acclaim in Paris, Dublin, New York and Berlin.
Since 1994, Ms Kerrigan has been a guest professor at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music in China, where she gives master classes regularly in the performance of German Lieder. She has established a competition for the Interpretation of German Lieder, the first of its kind in China, and is working to establish a Foundation to promote further study of this music by Chinese singers. Her concert work in China, presenting Irish works and German Lieder, has been made possible with the support of Culture Ireland and the Irish government.
In 2007, with the aid of the Irish Foreign Affairs Department and the help of the Contemporary Music Center and the Irish Traditional Music Archive, she established the first library of Irish music in China at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music. In May 2011 she was made a ‘Chu Tian Scholar’, the highest academic award given to foreign professors by the Chinese government.
Ms. Kerrigan lives in Stuttgart, Germany and performs throughout Europe, China, Russia and the USA. She was awarded a PhD in November 2009 for her research project on the vocal music of Arnold Schoenberg. Her thesis has been highly praised by both Nuria Schoenberg Nono and Lawrence Schoenberg and was published by Peter Lang in September 2011.
2011-2012 she directed and performed in the concert series ‘GRENZTÖNE’, which presented American contemporary vocal music and was sponsored by the cultural department of the city of Stuttgart, Germany and the Robert Bosch Foundation. The concert series continued with the support of Culture Ireland and the Kulturamt Stuttgart in 2013, presenting contemporary and traditional Irish music. The 2014 series continued with traditional and contemporary music from China, the USA, Germany and Ireland entitled ‘China Meets the West’ including a tour by Chinese musicians to Germany and Ireland and concert performances with Irish musicians. During 2015 the series is presenting international women composers.
Born in Lima/Perú in 1970 begann his musical studies at the age of five at the National Conservatory of Music in Lima. At an early age he was giving concerts in Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil and was the soloist with several orchestras. In 1988 he finished his studies and took his degree, gaining a gold medal with distinction.
In 1989 he paid his first visit to Germany, where he was immediately accepted into Professor Ludwig Hoffmann ́s master class at Munich ́s College of Music. The German Academic Exchange Institute gave him a grant in 1990, and in 1991 he emerged as the winner in a competition of recordings for the radio organized by Bavarian and Hessen Radio.
Valdivia has attended master classes held by Vladimir Kraniev, Jerome Rose and Bruno Leonardo Gelber. He has appeared as soloist with the Munich Youth Orchestra, the symphony orchestras of Munich, Prague and Karlsbad, with the Collegium Musicum Bonn, with the Georgian Chamber Orchestra, and with the Kamakura Symphony Orchestra (Japan).
Since 1990 he has given countless, enormously successful concerts in Germany (Berlin Philharmonic Hall, Liederhalle Stuttgart, Herkulessaal Munich), Sweden (Stockholm Music Festival), Italy (Sorrento Music Festival), Austria, The Czech Republic (Dvorak Hall in Prague), France, Switzerland, Hungary (Franz Liszt Museum Budapest), South Africa (University of Pretoria, University of Johannesburg), USA, Japan and South America.
Dublin born William Dowdall, one of Ireland’s leading musicians, combines a busy career as a soloist, chamber musician, and teacher.
He trained in Cleveland, Ohio, where his teachers included Maurice Sharp of the Cleveland Orchestra, and his interest in new music was sparked by Donald Erb, composer in residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music. On returning to Ireland at the age of 21 he was appointed principal flute of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. From 1979 to 2004 he was principal flute of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. He was appointed professor of flute at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in 2004.
He has given over 50 solo performances with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and Irish Chamber Orchestra, and has appeared at all the major festivals in Ireland. He has been a member of the Daedalus Wind Quintet, Ulysses Ensemble, and the Ulysses Wind Quintet which was a prize-winner in the Colmar International Chamber Music Competition in 1980. As a chamber musician he has also guested with the RTÉ Vanbrugh and Parisii string quartets.
Solo performances abroad have taken him around Europe, and to the USA, China, and New Zealand, and Australia. His work has been broadcast extensively by the Irish public service broadcaster, RTÉ, and he has also broadcast on BBC radio and television, Australian Television, and Shanghai Radio.
In addition to a wide ranging repertoire, his interest in contemporary music led him to develop a workshop based on contemporary solo flute music by Irish composers, which has been presented in Europe, United States, New Zealand, and Australia to considerable acclaim. He has introduced Irish audiences to new works from the international repertoire, and has actively promoted the music of Irish composers abroad. Many Irish composers have written works for him and he premiered a new work by John Buckley for flute and orchestra with the RTÉ NSO and toured with it around Ireland in 2006 and performed it again with the NSO in January 2009.
In the last 2 years alone he has given 8 world premieres of works by Irish composers and has espoused the flute music of composers such as Bernstein, Boulez, Takemitsu, Henze, Varèse, and Maxwell Davies in Ireland. He recently gave the Irish premiere of Takemitsu's “I Can Hear the Water Dreaming” with the RTÉ NSO.
As a solo artist he has made critically-acclaimed recordings for Goasco, Naxos, Marco Polo, Black Box, and Celestial Harmonies labels and is currently involved in a project with Atoll Records to record Irish and New Zealand works for solo flute and flute and electronics.
He plays on a platinum flute by Brannen, a wooden flute by Abell, a Louis Lot dated 1891 and an alto flute by Eva Kingma.