Claire Duff, Artistic Director
Claire Duff is an eminent baroque violinist whose ‘stylish solo violin playing’ (Vickers, Gramophone) has been described as having ‘all the excitement of a high-wire act’, (M.Dervan, 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, Flights of Fantasy with IBO chamber soloists which was chosen by Newyorker.com as one of the most memorable moments in music for 2010, and most recently Telemann’s Gulliver Suite with Camerata Kilkenny. She is Artistic Director of the Irish Youth Baroque Orchestra and professor of baroque violin at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.
Claire is the grateful recipient of Music Network’s Music Capital Scheme Award 2010 and a 2007 Arts Council of Ireland Bursary
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.
Malachy Robinson (Double Bass/Violone)
Malachy Robinson is a dedicated chamber musician, as passionate about Early Music as he is about New Music. Principal double-bass with the Irish Chamber Orchestra since 1995, he is also a founder member of the Irish Baroque Orchestra and Crash Ensemble. A prizewinning graduate of the Guildhall School of Music, he also holds a Masters’ degree in Historical Musicology from the University of London, and has appeared with period-instrument orchestras such as The Sixteen, the English Concert, the OAE and the Academy of Ancient Music.
He has collaborated with the Vanbrugh, Callino, Parisii, T’ang, Con Tempo and Vogler String Quartets and his Robinson Panoramic Quartet is challenging the accepted string quartet paradigm. As a viola da gamba player he has played as St John Passion soloist with the Dutch Residentie Bachkoor and performs with the Spackling Band, Eidola Trio, the Dublin Viols and the Gregory Walkers among others.
Aoife Nic Athlaoich (Cello)
Dublin born Aoife Nic Athlaoich enjoys a versatile musical career, dividing her time between both modern and Baroque cello. Since moving back to Ireland in 2013 Aoife joined the Irish Chamber Orchestra and has made solo and chamber music debuts at some Ireland’s leading festivals including Galway Early Music Festival, Ardee Baroque Festival, Killaloe Chamber Music Festival and the East Cork Early Music Festival. Aoife is a member of the highly acclaimed Orchestre Revolutionaire et Romantique with whom she has toured the USA and Europe as well as performing at the BBC Proms.
Aoife has performed with the orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, La Serenissima, the Avison Ensemble, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Classical Opera Company and was a member of the London Mozart Players from 2010-2013.
Aoife has won prizes for solo and contemporary music performance at Feis Ceoil, Dublin as well as being awarded a Belfast Classical Music Bursary in 2007 and was awarded scholarships for her studies at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and at the Royal College of Music, London.
Aoife teaches cello at the Cork School of Music, the University of Limerick, and at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin.
Lisa Dowdall (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.
Carina Drury (Cello)
Carina Drury grew up in Dublin and started learning the cello when she was nine years old with Nora Gilleece. She was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2003, where she studied with Philip Sheppard and Jonathan Manson. She continued her MMus studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Richard Lester, supported by the Tower Hamlets and Canary Wharf Trust.
Carina performed as principal cello with the European Union Baroque Orchestra in 2010 and worked under the direction of Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Ton Koopman and Christina Pluhar. She was awarded places on the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Experience Scheme and the Monteverdi Apprenticeship Scheme with the English Baroque Soloists and has toured with both orchestras. She has also toured and recorded with La Serenissima since 2010. Carina has toured in Norway as continuo cellist with Det Norske Blåseensemble and has performed as continuo cellist with the Irish choir Resurgam. She was a founding member of the trio ʻEnsemble Caravaggioʼ who won the Royal Academy of Music Nancy Nutall Prize, the Fenton House Ensemble Competition and performed at the Goettingen International Handel Festival.
Equally at home on modern and baroque instruments, she has toured in Europe, China, India, USA and South America with Camerata Ireland, and performed with pianist Barry Douglas and Cameratino at the Irish and UK Embassies in Paris. Carina has recorded and performed with Opera Holland Park for their productions of Alice in Wonderland at the Royal Opera House and at Holland Park. She has also recorded as solo cellist for the BBC ‘Shark’ television series and for Boosey and Hawkes. As a soloist, Carina performed C.P.E. Bach’s Cello Concerto at the National Concert Hall in Dublin with the Orchestra of St. Cecilia in 2013, and Leo’s Cello Concerto at the Tilford Bach Festival in 2016. She has recently released a Geminiani cello sonata recording on the ‘Directed by Handel’ album with Barn Cottage Records.
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.
Elizabeth Vogel (Early Flutes)
Elisabeth Vogel was born in Germany and studied baroque flute and recorder at Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Leipzig with Marcello Gatti, Anne Freitag and Anna Januj. She plays baroque, renaissance and early classical flutes and specializes in historical improvisation, chamber music and music education. She deepened her skills during masterclasses with Barthold Kujken, Maurice van Lieshout and Nikolaj Ronimus amongst others and performs throughout Germany with ensembles such as Exxentiale Bach, Leipziger Barockorchester, camerata lipsiensis and capella arnestati.
Elisabeth has performed at festivals like the Playground festival of historical improvisation in Weimar and the world folk music festival TFF Rudolstadt. In addition to her passion for baroque music that she enthusiastically shares with others, she also plays the Irish flute and works on projects that bring together baroque and Irish traditional music.