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Article recently published in The Musical Times by Dr Kevin O’Connell

Dr Kevin O'ConnellCheck out the latest edition of The Musical Times in the library. The Spring 2014 issue contains an article by RIAM composition teacher, Dr. Kevin O’Connell.

The article focuses on Alban Berg’s Orchestral pieces Op. 6, and challenges the assumption that they remain intractably complex, even 100 years after their composition. Noting the presence of clearly demarcated main and subsidiary themes throughout he writes: “This Ariadne’s thread … makes listening to op. 6 surprisingly straightforward, at any rate melodically. In plain language, there is always a tune to hang on.”

Kevin O’Connell, ‘Why is Berg’s op. 6 still so difficult to understand’, Musical Times, 155 (1926), 35-54

ms of berg's op. 6

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Academy Chamber Ensemble on Concert Tour in China!

ACE China 2014The Academy Chamber Ensemble (ACE) is about to commence a concert tour of China which is being supported by Culture Ireland.

During the tour ACE will perform  music by JS Bach, Beethoven, Handel/Halvorsen, Wallace, Messager, Messiaen, Poulenc, Piazzolla and Benoit Granier.


Details of Concerts are as follows:

Monday, March 10th, 2014 at 2.30 pm
YK Pao School

Presented in association with YK Pao School


Monday, March 10th, 2014 at 6.30 pm
Fudan University, 220 Handan Road, Yangpu, Shanghai

Presented in association with the Irish Consulate, Shanghai


ACE Tsinghua Poster 2014Thursday, March 13th, 2014 at 7.00 pm
Meng Minwei Concert Hall, Tsinghua University, Haidan District, Beijing

Presented in association with the Irish Embassy, Beijing and Tsinghua University





Friday, March 14th, 2014 at 8.00 pm
Room 701 Central Conservatory of Music, 43 Baojia Road, Xicheng District, Beijing

Presented in association with Central Conservatory of Music


Saturday, March 15th, 2014 at 6.00 pm
Intercontinental Hotel, Chongqing, 101 Minzu Road, Chongqing 400010

Presented in association with the Intercontinental Hotel, Chongqing


All concerts supported by Culure IrelandCulture Ireland logo

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Tuned In – A Workshop for Singing Teachers

Sylvia O'ReganThis exciting course will be conducted by Sylvia O’Regan, Head of Vocal Studies.  Teachers will find this workshop a positive and inspiring step on their path of continuing professional development!

Closing date for receipt of applications is Friday 11th April, 2014.

Workshop Details


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Winner of Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Scholarship Awards Announced

Eliza PuchianuFinal year Bachelor student, Eliza Puchianu, is this year’s recipient of the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Scholarship Awards.

Three students representing the cream of Piano talent from the Republic of Ireland’s conservatoires were selected to perform at the finals of the 2014 Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Scholarship Awards on Tuesday 11th February at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

All finalists performed on Yamaha’s acclaimed CFX concert grand piano, which is an increasingly regular feature on concert platforms the world over, and had their performances, each of thirty minutes duration, judged by a panel of world-class artists and tutors.

Eliza received €2000 to assist the furthering of her studies and musical ambitions.

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BEETHOVEN BOOTCAMP with acclaimed pianist JOHN O’CONOR

Beethoven Bootcamp June 2014The RIAM is delighted to present the Beethoven Bootcamp Summer Course with acclaimed pianist JOHN O’CONOR


Venue: Royal Irish Academy of Music, Westland Row, Dublin 2, Ireland

Dates: June 16th to 27th 2014

Tuition Fee: €1,000 for the two week course

Accommodation: If required, private guest accommodation will be sourced by the Royal Irish Academy of Music

Practice Facilities: Excellent, extensive practice facilities at the Royal Irish Academy of Music

Application Form and further details of Beethoven Boot Camp available from Beethoven Boot Camp


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Riverdance and Trinity College Dublin to offer unique International Summer School to Celebrate 20 Years of Groundbreaking Show


The Riverdance – Trinity International Summer School
to mark 20 Years of the Show

Marking its 20th anniversary, the internationally acclaimed Irish performance, Riverdance, has joined forces with Ireland’s leading university, Trinity College Dublin to announce ‘The Riverdance-Trinity International Summer School’.

Participants will travel to Trinity from all over the world to learn from special guest tutors on aspects of the performance, choreography and the Irish cultural context. They will also examine the development of the music from its ethnic roots through to its Grammy Award-winning success. The international summer school will be hosted by Trinity’s School of Drama, Film and Music, The Lir − Ireland’s National Academy of Dramatic Art at Trinity, and the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

“This is an innovative coming together of culture and higher education, where international participants will gain insight into the award winning performance that has contributed to the re-shaping of Irish cultural heritage. Trinity is delighted to host the international summer school, where our global participants will be provided with a deep understanding of one of Ireland’s great success stories and cultural milestones,” said Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity.

The summer school’s seminars and workshops will provide the theatrical, historical, social and cultural contexts of Riverdance, its emergence from the Eurovision Song Contest where it was first performed in 1994 to its global success. It will also provide an overview of the use of popular culture in the construction of a national success narrative for Ireland. Seminars will include guest speakers such as the show’s producer, Moya Doherty and director, John McColgan, costume and set designers Joan Bergin and Robert Ballagh, and Professor of Drama and Theatre at Trinity, Brian Singleton.

The Royal Irish Academy of Music will host the musical component of the summer school, including a master class with Riverdance score composer, Bill Whelan, as well as practical workshops with the show’s percussionists who will explore the relationship between the rhythm of music and the rhythm of dance.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with Trinity, Ireland’s auspicious seat of learning and the leading cultural institutions, The Lir National Academy of Dramatic Art and the Royal Irish Academy of Music, in this summer school. Twenty years on, the journey that is Riverdance continues, and with the aid of our prestigious collaborators we hope to share some of the knowledge that we have gathered along the way with our international participants,” said Moya Doherty, Riverdance producer.

The Riverdance – Trinity International Summer School will take place in August 11th-22nd, 2014 and prospective participants are currently being invited to apply. There are 45 places available. Application details are available on The Lir website.



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Royal Irish Academy of Music Student Wins Major International Piano Competition

Soo JungSoo Jung Ann, a piano student of the Royal Irish Academy of Music has brought honour to Ireland on December 14th following her win at the prestigious International Telekom Beethoven Competition Bonn. The Korean pianist, a student of John O’Conor and Therese Fahy at the Royal Irish Academy of Music since 2007, performed Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto before a distinguished audience at the Beethovenhalle in Bonn, the city of Beethoven’s birth. Soo Jung Ann was one of three finalists vying for the coveted First Prize title, a prize of €30,000 and significant performance engagements worldwide.

The bi-annual International Telekom Beethoven Competition Bonn was founded in 2005. Almost 100 pianists applied to take part in the 2013 Competition with 28 young virtuosi from 12 countries around the world selected to participate. Soo Jung Ann and fellow finalists, Stefan Cassomenos (Australia) and Shinnosuke Inugai (Japan), performed this evening with the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn under the baton of the Estonian conductor Olari Elts in the Beethovenhalle.

Speaking from Bonn, John O’Conor said “This win is a tremendous achievement for Soo Jung Ann and highlights the teaching standards at the RIAM which is increasing its prestige worldwide every year.” Soo-Jung Ann has previously won prizes at the Dublin International Piano Competition and also at competitions in Japan and Hong Kong and in 2012 won First Prize at the Maria Canals Competition in Barcelona. John O’Conor also stated: “The list of engagements to include concerts in Germany, Russia, Italy, Holland, France, Portugal, Austria and Switzerland, and the attention which this success brings will set her on the road to a wonderful career”.


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The Royal Irish Academy of Music and Trinity College Dublin Join Forces in an Exciting New Partnership in Performing Arts Education in Ireland

RIAM to become Associated College of Trinity with the aim of developing an International Centre of Excellence in the Performing Arts

The Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD) have entered a new partnership, fostering academic links for the benefit of performing arts education and creative arts practice in Ireland.  Building on its existing relationship with TCD, the RIAM will become an Associated College of Trinity College, with its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes validated by Trinity College.   The Provost of Trinity, Dr Prendergast and the RIAM Director Deborah Kelleher signed a Memorandum of Understanding this week.

Trinity College has a long track record in performing arts education and research at the School of Drama, Film and Music. Recent developments include the Creative Arts, Technologies and Cultures initiative, and the foundation of the Lir, the National Academy of Dramatic Art and the Music Composition Centre.

The Royal Irish Academy of Music’s history of success in music performance education spans over 160 years.  Today, by providing instrumental and vocal tuition of the highest international standard, the RIAM holds a central place in the promotion of Ireland’s cultural and educational agenda.

TCD RIAM Memorandum of Understanding

Brian Aylward, RIAM, Deborah Kelleher, RIAM, TCD Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast and Prof Michael Marsh, TCD.

Commenting on its significance, Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast said: “Building on each institution’s expertise, together we aim to develop an internationally renowned centre of excellence in the performing arts.  Linking research to practice and focusing on the interface between innovation and tradition are key values that Trinity and the RIAM share.  This collaboration will specifically concentrate on the future education and training of performing arts students, the performance of new music compositions as well as the enhancement of teacher music education.“

RIAM Director, Deborah Kelleher welcomed the new partnership stating: “By maximising collaborative creativity and resources, as well as the education and artistic strengths of both institutions, we are confident that we can develop a dynamic and thriving partnership which will foster and nurture outstanding twenty-first century musicians.”

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All RIAM Local Centre Exam Syllabi (except piano) extended until December 2019!

new riam logoThe RIAM Local Centre has decided to extend all syllabi, except piano, until the end of 2019.

In 2019 candidates and teachers will have the option of working from the current or the new syllabi.

The forthcoming piano syllabus and albums will be available at the end of June 2018.

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RIAM alumnus Gavan Ring makes BBC Proms debut under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle

Gavan RingRIAM Master and Doctorate graduate, Gavan Ring, will make his BBC Proms debut alongside Irish mezzo-soprano Patricia Bardon, under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle, on Saturday 18th August.

The concert performance of Ravel’s fantasy opera, ‘LEnfant et les Sortillèges’ will take place at the Royal Albert Hall.

As a RIAM Master in Music Performance student, Gavan made many role debuts in RIAM operas, including an acclaimed production of ‘Cosi fan Tutte’ in 2010.

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World première of Seóirse Bodley work

Concert to celebrate Seóirse Bodley’s 85th birthday

Monday, 18th June, 1.00 pm

Organ Room, Royal Irish Academy of Music

This performance includes the world premiere of Reservoir Voices, a new song cycle by Seóirse Bodley, set to poems by Brendan Kennelly, and dedicated to Sylvia O’Brien and Imelda Drumm.

Reservoir Voices Song Cycle:
I. Grace II. Shadow III. Prayer IV. The System V. Mockery VI. Listening VII. Leaf  VIII. Hope
IX. Whisper X. Moment XI. Loneliness XII. Peace

Performed by Sylvia O’Brien, Imelda Drumm and Dearbhla Brosnan.

While admission to this concert is free of charge, booking is advised. Places can be reserved by emailing sylviaobrien@riam.ie, and will be assigned on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

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RIAM Students awarded Major Bursaries

Two RIAM students were the recipients, on 5th April, of significant national bursaries.

Killian WhiteCellist , Killian White, was awarded the RDS Bursary of €15,000


Clarinetist, Christopher Moriarty Pearson, was awarded the Jago Bursary of €5,000.




Both students will use the awards to fund their further studies and were shortlisted from prize winners of this year’s ESB Feis Ceoil.

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Kingsburg International Piano Competition 2018

Kingsburg International Piano Competition 2018

This event is supported by the Royal Irish Academy of Music. A full scholarship will be awarded to the winner of the Open Category.

Applications will be accepted from 1st April 2018

Closing date is the 15th July 2018

Applicants may opt for a video audition by uploading videos to YouTube or attend live auditions on the following dates:

(i) 25th August 2018 in Ipoh (Northern Malaysia)

Chye Music (Address: 35, Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah Utara, Taman Ipoh Selatan 31400 Ipoh, Perak)

(ii) 26th August 2018 in Kuala Lumpur (Central Malaysia)

Kingsburg Pianos Music & Art Studio (Address: No. 10-1, Block 5, Jalan Jalil Jaya 6, Jalil Link, Bukit Jalil, 57000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

(iii) 31st August 2018 in Johor Bahru (South Malaysia)

Huzza Music & Enterprise (Address: #L1-10/11, Block B, Akademik Suite, Jalan Austin Heights Utama, Taman Mount Austin, 81100, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia)

(iv) 1st September 2018 in Singapore

Forte Musicademy (Address: 51, Waterloo St, #03-05, 187969 Singapore)

(v) 13th September 2018 in Kota Kinabalu (East Malaysia)

Orff Musica (Address: E-1-3, Lot 3, 1st Floor, Block E, Lorong Pusat Komersil 88/2, 88 Marketplace, Jalan Pintas, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia)

The final rounds will be staged in Yantai, China on 6th to 8th November.

This event is supported by the Royal Irish Academy of Music. A full scholarship will be awarded to the winner of the Open Category.

All participants will receive Gold, Silver, Bronze, or Participation certificates with comment sheets from the international and local adjudicators.

Applications can be made via the online application form at: http://goo.gl/forms/Wa1jtqrpy3

Website: www.orffmusic.com.my

Facebook Page: Kingsburg International Piano Competition 2018

Enquiry email: KIPC2018@outlook.com

Competition Poster

Seho Lee, Chairman of Kingsburg International Piano Competition 2018



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Bass baritone Robert McAllister wins Maura Dowdall Senior Solo Competition

Robert McAllisterCongratulations go to bass baritone, Robert McAllister, who is this year’s winner of the Maura Dowdall Senior Solo Competition.

The award includes a cash prize from the Dowdall Family and a solo appearance with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland.

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Gemma Ní Bhriain Semi-Finalist in Glyndebourne Cup

Congratulations to RIAM graduate, Gemma Ní Bhriain, who has been announced as a semi-finalist for the Glyndebourne Cup. Gemma studied at the Academy with Veronica Dunne and currently lives in Zürich where she is in her second year with the International Opera Studio of Opernhaus Zürich.

The semi-finals will take place at Glyndebourne on the 22nd March, after which 10 finalists will perform at the final on the 24th March. The final will be broadcast on Sky Arts and the artists will be accompanied by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. The winner will receive £15,000 and a guarantee of a role within five years at a top European opera house.

Best of luck, Gemma!!

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Financial Assistance for Part-Time Tuition in 2018/19

We welcome applications for financial assistance from families of current part-time students at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

If you wish to apply, please read the Guidelines, complete the Tuition Fee Assistance Application Form, and return it to the RIAM on or before May 1st 2018.

For further information please contact generaloffice@riam.ie .

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The Musicianship Clinic

new riam logoA New Music Theory Course at RIAM

The RIAM is delighted to introduce a new Musicianship Clinic, a pilot scheme that will run in the Royal Irish Academy of Music from January for 8 weeks (see dates below).

Musicianship is important: it provides the skills to engage with music meaningfully while making the learning process enjoyable. The RIAM and Local Centre are keen to nurture these skills and have introduced this clinic with the aim of rolling out workshops tailored to the musicianship needs of Local Centre teachers around the country.

Gráinne Deery, who will provide an overview of the grades, explore their content and requirements, as well as strategies, where appropriate, for learning, will lead the clinic. She will also use past papers from the Local Centre Theory & Harmony exams relevant to the session as a route into musicianship and addressing any needs as they arise. There is no coursework required and two past exam papers for the relevant grade will be supplied as part of the clinic. A special offer on the RIAM Theory Workout books (3 books for the price of 2) from preparatory to grade 8 will also be available.

You can sign up for a specific week, a selection of weeks, or for all weeks as best suits your needs. Places are limited to 20. It is open to current and aspiring teachers and/or students.


General queries

Is this clinic for me?

Why should I attend this clinic?

Do I need to be a teacher?

Do I need to be able to read music?

Where is the senior certificate grade?


Course Content

Preparatory and Grade I
Note names, values, and rests; time signatures, bar lines, treble and bass clefs; writing and naming notes, tones and semitones; C and G major scales; adding notes to solfa; and observation.

Grade II and Grade III
Writing and naming notes and values; grouping and rewriting melodies; adding rests and notes, bar lines; time signatures and descriptions of time signatures; scales of C, G, D, F B♭ major, A, E, and D minor; tonic triads, tones and semitones; transcribing melodies; intervals; completing a melody; rewriting melodies in double and half values; and observation.

Grade IV
Major scales up to four sharps and four flats, and minor scales up to two sharps and flats; grouping of rests and notes in simple and compound time, triplets included; major and minor, and perfect intervals; major and minor triads; completing a melody, observation and terminology.

Grade V
Keeping the rhythmic effect; grouping; adding rhythm to words; transcribing with the alto clef; major scales up to five sharps and flats, and minor scales up to four sharps and flats, chromatic scales also; intervals including major, minor, perfect, augmented, and diminished; enharmonics; transposition; completing an 8-bar melody; technical names; simple and compound time; observation; instruments of the orchestra.

Grade VI
Major scales up to seven sharps and flats, minor scales up to five sharps and flats; tenor stave; open and closed score; transposing and transcribing; primary triads, inversions, melody writing and setting a rhythm to words; major, minor, augmented, and diminished triads; irregular time signatures, instruments; the Baroque era.

Grade VII
Melody writing including modulating; setting a text to music; compound intervals; transposing including treble, bass, alto, and tenor clefs; cadences; harmonic analysis; completing cadences for SATB; adding roman numerals and a melody to a given bass; the Classical era.

Grade VIII
16-bar melody and setting a text to music; harmonic analysis; score reading.

Adding alto and tenor voices to a harmonisation; counterpoint; adding bass and roman numerals to a given melody; the Romantic era.


The Musicianship Clinic – timetable and price scheme


About Gráinne Deery MMus, BMusEd, HDip, GRIAM, ARIAM

Gráinne Deery holds a dual appointment as Lecturer in Musicianship at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Lecturer in Music Education at the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education at Maynooth University. As a passionate advocate of music education and key contributor to the development of music education in Ireland, Gráinne was a central figure in the recent development of the new and innovative DipRIAM, an instrumental teaching Diploma focusing on the teaching and learning environment. Gráinne recently served as a committee member of the Society for Music Education in Ireland (SMEI) and the European Piano Teachers’ Association (EPTA). In addition, Gráinne held the position of Chair of the Irish branch of EPTA 2009–2013 during which time she founded and directed the EPTA Ireland Piano Competition.

Gráinne holds a Masters in Music Performance (University of Leeds), and a Bachelor in Music Education (Trinity College Dublin and the Royal Irish Academy of Music). In addition, she holds a Higher Diploma in Music Teaching, Graduate and Associate Diplomas in Piano Teaching and was awarded a Commendation for Excellence in Teaching by Trinity College Dublin. As a prizewinner and scholarship recipient Gráinne also continues to be active as a pianist, adjudicator, and piano/keyboard harmony teacher.


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Defne Gultoprak wins inaugural Ursula Uí Chuinneagáin Bursary for Pianists

Defne Gultoprak

We send our congratulations to young pianist Defne Gultoprak, who was the inaugural winner of the Ursula Uí Chuinneagáin Bursary.

Defne, pictured here with the guest of honour, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan, is a student of Professor Thérèse Fahy.

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