Inaugural NCH Female Conductor Programme
celebrates much-anticipated finale
with RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra


Participants in the programme given the opportunity to conduct the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra for Beethoven’s 1st Symphony

The NCH Female Conductor Programme is one of the first of its kind in the world

Participants learned the necessary business, communication, and leadership skills with help of partner, Grant Thornton


The inaugural NCH Female Conductor Programme, which saw twelve hand-picked participants engage in a specifically curated 10-month programme of workshops and tutorials, will celebrate its much-awaited finale on Wednesday 27th June. On the evening, renowned British conductor Sian Edwards will lead three of the participants as they prepare Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.

Over the course of the programme, the participants were given the opportunity to work closely with acclaimed British conductor Alice Farnham and a host of world-renowned conductors. The programme was born from the need to address the current gender imbalance in the world of conducting, and is one of the first of its kind in the world.

The Female Conductor Programme Finale will see a selection of participants showcase the skills they learned, while conducting Ireland’s leading orchestra on the main stage of the National Concert Hall. For those in attendance, it will present a behind-the-scenes look into the workings and processes of a conductor at the very top level, while also presenting a fascinating insight into the relationship between orchestra and conductor.

One of the participants, Maebh Martin said of the programme: “My experience of the Female Conductor Programme has been incredible. From the very first day I was delighted to discover that everyone, participants and professionals alike, were welcoming and supportive.

Over the course of nine months, during workshops with some of the most renowned conductors in Ireland and the U.K., I have gone from having next to no conducting experience to being given the tools to decide on my interpretation of a piece, prepare the score, lead a rehearsal and direct a large chamber group. I no longer feel terrified of making mistakes, but rather intrigued by and excited to see how my gestures can mould and influence the sound an orchestra makes.

Not only has the programme considerably developed my conducting ability and general musicality, but I have also grown in confidence socially. Our leadership sessions with Grant Thornton gave us the opportunity to view things from a marketing and business perspective; we gained insights into personal promotion, online presence and the financial aspects of being a musician, as well as analysing different methods of communication, discussing how to tailor the delivery of a message to different situations and identifying ways to best use our own strengths and weaknesses.

I could never have imagined the multitude of ways in which this programme would benefit me. All in all, it has been an unforgettable experience which has equipped me with skills and knowledge that I will use for the rest of my life".

Paul Jacobs, Partner at Grant Thornton, the programme’s sponsor, said: “In partnership with the NCH, we have taken a holistic approach to the Female Conductor Programme. Grant Thornton, through collaborative workshops, have equipped the participants with the necessary business, communication, and leadership skills to navigate successfully the opportunities ahead. It has been exciting to see the participants develop their skills over the course of the programme. They are an inspiration to other women, to break the glass ceiling in the world of conducting.”

Looking forward to the finale, Alice Farnham said: “What a privilege for these young aspiring conductors to work with such a fine orchestra. With Sian Edwards’ expert guidance they will be able to put into practise some of the techniques they have been acquiring during the past nine months.”
The NCH Female Conductor Programme Finale takes place on Wednesday 27th June at 8pm, tickets are available at or by contacting the box office on 01 417 0000.

The NCH Female Conductor Programme, in association with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra is proudly supported by Grant Thornton.

Editors notes: The candidates chosen to participate in the NCH Female Conductor Programme were: Raimonda Zalisauskaite, Lithuanian/Irish music student of Maynooth University; Lynsey Callaghan, Dublin-based conductor and Trinity College graduate; Molly Rose Lucy Burke from Co. Cork; Hilda Chan, graduate of CIT Cork School of Music; Raeghynya Zutshi, Trinity College Graduate; Grace Bergin, graduate of Kodály Institute, Kecskemét; Síobhra Quinlan, student of composition at Trinity College Dublin; Santa Ignace, practising musician and piano teacher; Meabh Martin, Graduate of University of St. Andrews; Naoise Whearity, graduate of Trinity College Dublin and Catriona Clarke, teacher and student of MA in Conducting at CIT School of Music.

For further information please contact: Sinéad Doyle or Michael Quinn, Press and Marketing, National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2. Tel: 01 417 0057/84