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). Claire has recently been elected Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, London, an award to former students who have made a notable contribution to the music profession. Claire is leader of the Irish Baroque Orchestra, with which she regularly performs as soloist to critical acclaim. She has led Florilegium, I Fagiolini, English Touring Opera, The Kings Consort, and Camerata Kilkenny. Claire has co-led the Academy of Ancient Music and played principal second with The English Concert. She has an extensive discography, including a highly acclaimed CD of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto with Monica Huggett and the Irish Baroque Orchestra and, more recently, a recording of Telemann’s concerto for two violins and bassoon. Claire is passionate about music education and is a teacher 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 began playing the double bass with the Dublin and Irish Youth Orchestras and, with the Dublin Youth Orchestra, he performed his first bass concerto in the National Concert Hall. Following this, he studied double bass in London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama (where his second study was conducting) he graduated at the top of his year with first-class honours and the Dove Memorial Prize for General Excellence.
After taking a Master’s Degree in Historical Musicology at the University of London, Malachy returned to Ireland in 1994 and has since been in constant demand, working in all idioms both on stage and in studio. Malachy is a founding member of both Irish Baroque Orchestra and Crash Ensemble, and is principal double bass with Irish Chamber Orchestra.
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.
Lisa Beznosiuk (Early Flutes)
Born in England, of Ukrainian and Irish descent, Lisa Beznosiuk is one of the world’s leading performers on early flutes. In her dual capacities as soloist and orchestral principal, she has travelled the world playing a wide range of 18th and 19th century repertoire with some of its finest interpreters.
Her complete sets of the solo sonatas of Handel and Bach have been critically acclaimed, while her latest recording is of the Mozart Flute Quartets and Beethoven Serenade, which she performs on an original 4-keyed flute. Lisa also features on many discs of orchestral music, and particularly relishes the challenge of playing works by later 19th century composers on the conical, keyed flutes of that era.
Lisa is Professor of Early Flutes at London’s Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Royal College of Music.