Claire Duff, Artistic Director
Internationally renowned baroque violinist, Claire Duff is in demand as soloist, chamber musician, leader and director. Her ‘stylish solo violin playing’ (Gramophone) has been described as having ‘all the excitement of a high-wire act’ (The Irish Times). In 2016 she was elected Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, London (ARAM), for her significant contribution to the music profession.
Claire is leader of the Irish Baroque Orchestra with which she regularly performs as soloist and often as director, to critical acclaim. She has led Florilegium, I Fagiolini, English Touring Opera, The Kings Consort and Camerata Kilkenny and co-led the Academy of Ancient Music and The English Concert. Claire has an extensive discography, including a highly acclaimed CD of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto with Monica Huggett and IBO. She is passionate about baroque music and is a fervent exponent of period instrument performance. She is Artistic Director of the Irish Youth Baroque Orchestra and teacher of baroque violin at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.
Claire often has solo works composed for her and this year she performed a Jane O’Leary Fantasia as part of a Music Network Bach recital tour with the award-winning French harpsichordist, Benjamin Alard, and a piece for modern and baroque violin composed by Sam Perkins and performed with Diane Hunka as part of the Killaloe Chamber Music Festival.
Malcolm Proud, Continuo (Harpsichord)
Malcolm Proud won first prize at the Edinburgh International Harpsichord Competition in 1982. He has performed at all the major Irish festivals and has toured Finland, Denmark, Holland, UK, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, USA., Japan, Canada, Estonia, Latvia, Belgium, Austria and Portugal. In 2016 he gave harpsichord recitals at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, at Fenton House in London playing the Queen’s 1612 Ruckers, at the Cobbe Collection of Historical Keyboard Instruments in Hatchlands, Surrey, and at Handel House in London.
Organist of St Canice’s Cathedral in Kilkenny, his CD of Bach’s Clavierübung III recorded on the Metzler Organ at Stein am Rhein in Switzerland was released in 2008 on the Maya Recordings label.
In 2010 Malcolm Proud played all six of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos with Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s English Baroque Soloists at the London Proms and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany. He is co-founder with Swiss violinist Maya Homburger of Camerata Kilkenny and has performed concertos with the Academy of Ancient Music and the European Union Baroque Orchestra.
He has recorded Bach’s 5th Brandenburg Concerto with both the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the English Baroque Soloists. His most recent recording – J.S. Bach’s Six Partitas for Harpsichord on the Maya Recordings Label – has been critically acclaimed.
Malcolm Proud is supported by Music Network’s Music Capital Scheme, funded by The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Music Network is funded by the Arts Council.
Sarah McMahon, Baroque Cello
Sarah McMahon began her cello studies with Nora Gilleece at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin in 1987. In 1995 she moved to London where she studied at the Royal Academy of Music with David Strange, Jenny Ward-Clarke and Colin Carr, graduating in 2001 with a first class BMus and a DipRAM distinction.
Sarah is passionate about historical performance and is principal cellist with the Academy of Ancient Music, the Irish Baroque Orchestra and Camerata Kilkenny. She is also regularly invited to play as guest principal cellist with Arcangelo, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Aurora Orchestra.
Sarah is a dedicated chamber musician and a founder member of the Callino String Quartet. The Quartet was founded in 1999 and enjoys performing a challenging and eclectic repertoire, having worked with numerous composers including Kurtàg, Vasks, Kevin Volans, Aleksandra Vrebalov and Ian Wilson on their compositions for string quartet. They have also collaborated with diverse artists such as the Belcea Quartet, Edgar Meyer, rock band Arcade Fire and jazz guitarist John Abercrombie.
Sarah has appeared as concerto soloist with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Irish Baroque Orchestra and featured in a critically acclaimed disc for Hyperion of the Vivaldi Double Cello Concerto with Jonathan Cohen and the Kings Consort.
Sarah McMahon gratefully acknowledges the support of The Arts Council and Music Network which enabled her to purchase her cello through the Music Capital Scheme 2009.
Lisa Dowdall, Baroque Viola
Born in Dublin, Lisa Dowdall is one of Ireland’s most innovative and versatile musicians. Alongside teaching at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Lisa enjoys a career of diverse music making in chamber ensembles.
As a member of Crash Ensemble, she has collaborated with artists such as Dawn Upshaw, Iarla O’Lionard, Sam Amidon and Gavin Friday, and has premiered works written for the Crash Ensemble by Terry Riley, David Lang, Michael Gordon, Nico Muhly and Donnacha Dennehy.
Lisa has performed internationally at many festivals including The Edinburgh Festival, Canberra International Music Festival, Ban on a Can Marathon, residencies at the 2012 Huddersfield International Contemporary Music Festival and Princeton University and performances in Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Centre and the Royal Opera House – Covent Garden.
As a baroque violist Lisa is a member of the Spackling band and has worked and performed with the Irish Baroque Orchestra, Sestina, Resurgam, Cork baroque Orchestra, and leading baroque musicians Elizabeth Walfisch, Pablo Beznosiuk, Christian Curnyn, Mark Padmore and Christophe Rousset. Lisa also plays the viola d’amore and is particularly interested in using old instruments to play contemporary works.
Miriam Kaczor, Baroque Flute
Having always been fascinated by early music, Miriam picked up the traverso while studying for her BA and was initially mentored by the organ/harpsichord professor, David Adams. Encouraged by a class with Jana Semeradova, she continued to teach herself until receiving an Arts Council Travel and Training Award, which enabled her to take regular lessons from Lisa Beznosiuk and Rachel Brown in London. Since then she has performed with period-instrument groups such as Ex Cathedra, Camerata Kilkenny, Ensemble Marsyas and is a regular guest with the Irish Baroque Orchestra. As a Britten-Pears Young Artist, she has taken part in Bach Cantata projects directed by Philippe Herreweghe and Mark Padmore. She was also a scholarship participant of the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra mentoring programme, where she worked with members of Tafelmusik, Opera Atelier and Claire Guimond.
An accomplished modern flautist, Miriam was the Irish Freemasons’ Young Musician of the Year 2015 and recipient of the innaugural RDS Jago Award in 2017. She has appeared as soloist with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, RTE Concert Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Dublin Orchestral Players and the Esker Festival Orchestra. A keen chamber musician, she has previously performed with the Vanbrugh Quartet, Crash Ensemble, Westland Wind Quintet and at the Killaloe, Westport, Sligo and East Cork festivals. She is a member of the Dublin-based experimental new music group, Kirkos Ensemble, and has brought contemporary Irish music to audiences at home, as well as in England, New York and Beijing.
A graduate of the Royal Irish Academy of Music, she studied flute with William Dowdall and piccolo with Patricia Morris. She also spent a semester in the class of Barbara Gisler-Haase in Vienna and is currently taking lessons with Michael Cox.
Miriam is grateful for the support of Music Network funded by the Arts Council and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, RTE lyric fm, Flax Trust, South Dublin County Council, RIAM,
Mary Collins, Early Dance
Mary Collins is an Early Dance specialist whose research and teaching approach has inspired musicians to look afresh at the dance music that is at the heart of the baroque repertoire bringing, in turn, a fresh perspective on the great composers of the baroque era. A practitioner and researcher, she has worked with dance, theatre and TV companies as an adviser, choreographer, dancer and actress and tours regularly giving master-classes, lecture-recitals and workshops. A faculty member of Aestas Musica in Croatia, the Austria Barokakademie and, for 26 years, The Ringve International Summer Course in Norway, she regularly collaborates with many of the world’s leading exponents of early music.
Reviving original choreography and gesture for historical performance, Mary promotes a vibrant, multi-disciplinary approach to music making, valued by artists and audiences alike.
A practitioner and researcher, she performs regularly with the London Handel Players and Florilegium, giving master classes, lecture-recitals and workshops to dancers and musicians throughout the world. Mary teaches at the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music in London, also as a guest at the University of Birmingham. She is often invited to work with orchestras, most recently the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Southbank Sinfonia.
Sabine Volkmann, Feldenkrais
Sabine Volkmann’s entry into working with people was through music. She completed her BA course in music 1987 – 92 in Nuremberg, Germany and became a flute teacher and performed with small ensembles.
An Ilse Middendorf breathing therapy workshop in 1986 was the beginning of her exploration into working with the body. She explored different methods, including Eutonie, Alexander Technique, Biodynamic Massage, and finally ended up doing the Feldenkrais training in England in 1991 – 94. Since 1993, she has been teaching the Feldenkrais Method with groups and individuals and was a board member of the German Feldenkrais Guild from 1998 – 2002.
In 2001, Sabine moved to Ireland where she started her full-time Feldenkrais practice in Dublin.
Since then, she has completed training in Deep Imagery (2001 – 03), a way of inner journeying to connect more deeply to one’s inner resources, and Hakomi (2006 – 09), a mindfulness-based method that helps us to gain more choice and freedom to be nourished and supported in life. In 2010, Sabine became a certified Hakomi practitioner. In 2014, she trained in Reconnective Healing.
In her practice, she synthesises all four methods, depending on the needs of the client. As they all are based on an organic learning process and the self-healing capacity of our body, mind and spirit they complement each other and can mutually support each other’s benefits.