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NCH International Master Course

  • Monday 29th July to Saturday 3rd August 2024

The National Concert Hall is pleased to announce the return of its International Master Course next summer.

This intensive summer school provides national and international musicians with the opportunity to take part in a series of masterclasses and seminars by world-renowned musicians. Over the duration of the course, participants will receive one-on-one masterclasses, chamber music coaching with new ensembles and performance opportunities. On Wednesday 31 July the faculty will give a unique chamber music concert and on Saturday 3 August the faculty and students will take part in concerts in the National Concert Hall’s John Field Room to mark the end of the International Master Course. The IMC strives to build confidence in students and promote participation in chamber music.

The International Master Course is led by one of Ireland’s foremost musicians, Artistic Director Gwendolyn Masin (violin). Gwendolyn is one of today’s most significant concert violinists and an innovator in classical music. She is much in demand globally as a soloist and collaborator, regularly performing throughout Europe and the US as well as Asia, South Africa and the Middle East. We are also delighted to share that Emma O’Halloran will be the composer in residence during the course and will be working with the students. In addition, renowned violinist Zoë Conway will lead a traditional Irish music workshop for the course participants. 

This year, Gwendolyn leads an impressive faculty of musicians that comprises German violinist Sarah Christian, concertmaster of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, acclaimed soloist and chamber musician; violist Hartmut Rohde who is renowned for his stylistic versatility and counts Heinrich Schiff, Lars Vogt and Jörg Widmann amongst his chamber music partners; one of the leading cellists of his generation, Maximilian Hornung, who regularly performs as a soloist with such esteemed orchestras as London Philharmonic Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Symphony and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and celebrated pianist Nicholas Rimmer whose CD of works by Wolfgang Rihm with Tianwa Yang received the Diapason d’Or. 

Collectively they are all highly regarded soloists and chamber musicians who have performed in some of the world’s most illustrious concert halls and festivals with renowned conductors and ensembles. The wealth of their combined experience is outstanding, providing a unique and rare opportunity for aspiring musicians to learn from.

Also bringing their expertise to this year’s International Master Course are our Irish mentors; Abbie McDonagh, violin; Martin Moriarty, viola and Patrick Moriarty, cello.

Apply online here

Deadline for applications: 5pm, 29th April 2024.

Course fee: €600, a limited number of bursaries are available.

Collaborative Composition Workshops with Emma O’Halloran 
Over the course of the week, participants will engage in a series of hands-on workshops, guided discussions, and collaborative explorations designed to unravel the intricacies of the composition process. Led by composer Emma O’Halloran, these sessions are aimed at fostering a rich exchange of ideas in a supportive and inspiring environment. Participants will collectively create original compositions and have the opportunity to share their work and gain insights into the creative processes of their fellow musicians. Emma will also be available for individual composition lessons throughout the week.

The International Master Course is kindly supported by TJ O'Connor, the Sheridan Family in memory of Patricia Sheridan, and Blánaid Hayes in memory of her father Roy Hayes. 

Gwendolyn Masin, violin

Artistic Director

Gwendolyn Masin is one of today’s significant concert violinists.

She performs internationally to praise from press and audiences alike as a soloist, chamber musician and as guest with orchestras. Gwendolyn teaches violin and chamber-music master classes at institutes and festivals throughout Europe and North America and gives talks concerning her areas of expertise. She is also an artistic director and PhD scholar. She is Professor of Violin Studies at the Haute École de Musique de Genève, Switzerland, since September 2013. She is also the author of the award-winning book, Michaela’s Music House, The Magic of the Violin which is available in English and German and is part of the ESTA Edition collection available via Müller & Schade. In 2017, born out of the wish to shine a light on home-grown talent and offer international perspectives to young musicians and audiences in Ireland alike, she shaped a chamber music series and later the National Concert Hall International Music Course.

Sarah Christian, violin

Sarah Christian seeks to convey to her listeners the diversity, sincere emotion and energy of classical music. She enjoys drawing together uncompromisingly the manifold elements of her musical life, as soloist, concertmaster of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, chamber musician, and artistic director of a chamber music series in her hometown of Augsburg.

As a regular guest concertmaster in other orchestras, she can be heard with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the DSO Berlin and the Kammerakademie Potsdam. At the 2017 BBC Proms she led the BBC Symphony Orchestra in RimskyKorsakov’s “Scheherezade” under the direction of James Gaffigan

Chamber music is equally important to her. She has performed in various ensembles at the Spannungen Festival in Heimbach, the Schwetzingen Festival, the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival and the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival. In her hometown of Augsburg, she launched a chamber music series, which she runs together with Maximilan Hornung.

Hartmut Rohde, viola

Violist and conductor Hartmut Rohde delights the audience with his tone and musical language as well as his special commitment to the respective style. Rohde is one of the leading European violists and a founding member of the Mozart Piano Quartet, with which he received the coveted OPUS Klassik Award for the first time in 2018.  

For the past 20 years Hartmut Rohde is member of the “Spectrum Concerts Berlin” series in the Berliner Philharmonie bringing together most famous soloists under violinist Janine Jansen. 2024 will be its 35th jubilee season.

Hartmut Rohde has been a professor at the UdK Berlin since 1993 and is an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music London. He plays a viola by Giuseppe Fiorini (1899) and an Ivo Luliano (2016). 

Maximilian Hornung, cello

Maximilian Hornung has established himself as one of the leading cellists of his generation in recent years. 

He has been invited to perform at the festivals in Schwetzingen, Salzburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Rheingau, Lucerne, Verbier, Ravinia, and Hong Kong. He has appeared in concert halls such as the philharmonic halls of Berlin, Cologne, and Essen as well as the Vienna Musikverein, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, and London’s Wigmore Hall. Highlights of the 2023/24 season include debuts with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester, the Estonian Festival Orchestra and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.

Maximilian Hornung has been supported and sponsored by the Anne-Sophie Mutter Circle of Friends Foundation and Borletti-Buitoni Trust London. Since the spring of 2022, he has been Artistic Director of the Traunsteiner Sommerkonzerte.  

Nicholas Rimmer, piano

Nicholas Rimmer was born in England in 1981. He studied piano in Hanover with Christopher Oakden and read Music at Clare College, Cambridge. He subsequently studied with a diverse range of musicians including Hatto Beyerle, Ferenc Rados, Roger Vignoles, Wolfram Rieger, the Trio Jean Paul and the Alban Berg Quartet.

Nicholas Rimmer has performed at prestigious venues such as Wigmore Hall London, Gasteig Munich, Tonhalle Zürich and the Berlin Philharmonie. As a soloist he has appeared with the NDR Radiophilharmonie Hanover, Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, CHAARTS Chamber Orchestra and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. He has been a regular guest at many of Europe's most renowned music festivals including Aldeburgh, SchleswigHolstein, Schwetzingen, Ludwigsburg, Grafenegg, Hitzacker, Heidelberger Frühling, Lucerne Festival and Boswiler Musiksommer. 

As a passionate chamber musician, Nicholas Rimmer plays in several ensembles, including the Trio Gaspard (with Jonian Ilias Kadesha, violin and Vashti Hunter, cello) and the unique Trio Belli- Fischer-Rimmer blending trombone, percussion and piano.  He also pursues an interest in improvisation and has realised several silent movie projects with Johannes Fischer.

From 2020 Nicholas Rimmer will hold a position as Professor of Piano at Freiburg Conservatory of Music.

Emma O’Halloran, composer

Composer in Residence

Irish composer Emma O’Halloran is interested in joy, wonder, hope, and connection, and her music is driven by a desire to capture the magic of what it means to be human. Freely intertwining acoustic and electronic music, Emma has written for folk musicians, chamber ensembles, turntables, laptop orchestra, symphony orchestra, opera, and theatre, and her work has been described as “intensely beautiful” (Washington Post) and “unencumbered, authentic, and joyful” (I Care If You Listen). 

Known for her unique ability to fuse elements of pop, rock, and electronic music while exploring the colours and textures of acoustic instruments, her work has found a wide audience and has been featured at various music festivals such as Classical NEXT, PODIUM Esslingen, New Music Dublin, Tokyo’s Born Creative Festival, and Bang on a Can LOUD Weekend.

Emma loves working with people of all ages to explore and create music, and she has served as a mentor for various composition programmes in Ireland and the United States. In 2021, in partnership with the NCH, she founded the Creative Lab, an award-winning mentorship programme for young composers from traditionally under-represented groups in music composition. 

Emma holds a Ph.D. in Music Composition from Princeton University and is currently working as a freelance composer. Current and future projects include works for Friction Quartet, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, a saxophone concerto, and a new opera with Naomi Louisa O’Connell.

Zoë Conway, Irish Fiddle Player & Composer

Irish fiddle player, Zoë Conway, is a prodigious talent, equally at home in both traditional Irish and classical styles. Zoë has performed across the globe, both as a solo artist and also playing with international acts such as Riverdance, Damien Rice, Rodrigo y Gabriella, Lisa Hannigan, Nick Cave and Lou Reed among others.

She has performed at festivals such as Glastonbury, L’Orient, Tonder and Womad and has also performed in some of the most prestigious concert halls in the world.

Zoë is increasingly in demand as a tutor, specialising in teaching her students both traditional and classical styles. Learning both genres allows for a wide musical education, as the traditional side develops a strong ear, memory, and free bowing technique, while the classical training promotes tuning, tone, posture and reading.

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