Young Artists

Showcasing the broad, varied and exceptional young talent in Ireland is key to our festival output.

Who’s who?

Emma Curtis

After beginning the violin at the age of 11, Emma Curtis went on to gain a music scholarship to St. Francis College Girls School in Hertfordshire in 2009. During her 5 years there her music studies thrived throughout, leading her to accept a four-year scholarship to study at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff in 2014, where she studied with Darragh Morgan. Highlights during her studies at RWCMD included being principal violin of the RWCMD Opera Orchestra in their 2018 production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola, as well as being selected for the Royal Welsh String Soloists Ensemble in 2017 which lead to opportunities to work with Maestro Valery Gergiev and other prominent musicians such as Stephanie Gonley and Mark Gothoni. Emma was also selected to take part in a joint collaboration with the Academy of Ancient Music on a tour of the Handel opera Semele in 2017. During her studies she was also accepted to become a member of Cardiff Sinfonietta, concerts have included working with musicians such as Dame Evelyn Glennie and conductor Jac Van Steen.

In 2018 she accepted two-year scholarship to study on the Orchestral Masters Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama which is in association with the London Symphony Orchestra, where she is studying with Janice Graham.

Highlights at GSMD include being Co-Principal 1st Violin in an open rehearsal with Marin Alsop on Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story in December 2018. As well as being a member of the Guildhall School Symphony Orchestra working with Takuo Yuasa and Vassily Sinaisky in concerts performed at the Barbican. Emma has also had the opportunity to sit in and play with the LSO during rehearsals and also work alongside the LSO musicians during orchestral repertoire sessions working with conductors such as Dinis Sousa, Felix Mildenberger, Jonathan Bloxham and Stephanie Childress.

Future concerts include performing in the joint GSMD/LSO project at the Barbican and being selected to take part in the LSO Trafalgar Square Concert both conducted by Sir Simon Rattle in June 2019.

Yseult Cooper Stockdale

Yseult Cooper Stockdale works extensively with both the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra while also performing as a soloist and chamber musician. Since moving to London in 2018 to join Southbank Sinfonia she has enjoyed working with Welsh National Opera, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the London Contemporary Music Festival Orchestra and returns frequently to perform in Ireland.

2018 concerto performances included Schumann with the Cork Fleischmann Symphony Orchestra, and Beethoven’s triple concerto with Wexford Sinfonia. She also played with Musici Ireland, Ficino Ensemble, and performed at the Beckett Chamber Music Festival. Yseult has worked with Crash Ensemble and is a member of Kirkos, with whom she has given over 70 premiers, including several solo cello commissions.

Yseult was a prizewinner at the 2015 Freemasons Young Musician of the Year and the 2016 Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe scholarship. She has a 1st Class Honours MA, from the CIT Cork school of Music, and BA, from the RIAM, where her teachers were Christopher Marwood and Bill Butt. In 2015/16 she studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Leipzig, with Peter Hörr.

Alexander Casson

Edinburgh born violinist Alexander Casson has gained considerable experience in recent years as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. After graduating from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2016, he received full scholarship for a two year Artist’s Diploma at Michigan State University, where he studied with Dr Walter Verdehr (The Verdehr Trio). While in Michigan, he performed regularly in chamber projects with faculty and served as concertmaster of the University’s Symphony, Opera and Contemporary Orchestras on several occasions.

Alexander is currently completing a Masters in Violin Performance at the Royal Academy of Music, where he is taught by Jack Liebeck.

Highlights during Alexander’s studies have included being awarded the Bridgewood and Nietzert string quartet prize (2015) and the opportunity to work with and learn from international artists such as the Emerson String Quartet, Brooklyn Rider String Quartet, Elias String Quartet and the Fidelio Piano Trio.

Alexander is delighted to be invited to play in Chamber Music on Valentia, and to play alongside his Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama teacher, Darragh Morgan.

Martha Campbell
2018 & 2019

Violist Martha Campbell completed her undergraduate studies at the CIT Cork School of Music with Simon Aspell and with Professor Frank Strauch at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt Weimar through the Erasmus exchange programme. She has been a prizewinner at both Feis Maitiu Cork and Feis Ceoil Dublin, and has performed in masterclasses with Bruno Giuranna, Nobuko Imai, Tatjana Masurenko, Nils Mönkemeyer and Martin Outram.

A keen chamber musician, Martha has performed at many of Ireland’s major venues and festivals, including the National Concert Hall Chamber Music Gathering, Finding a Voice Festival, and West Cork Chamber Music Festival. She has enjoyed masterclasses with Hugh Maguire and the Belcea, Carducci, Danel and Emerson Quartets, and has taken part in the West Cork Chamber Music Festival Mentoring Programme and the Irish Chamber Orchestra’s Academos project. As violist of the Doolan Quartet, she has performed at the National String Quartet Foundation Series at the Triskel Arts Centre and the West Cork Chamber Music Festival Mentoring Programme 2018 and 2019, as well as the Feis Ceoil Gala Concert at the National Concert Hall, and the RDS Rising Stars Series 2018.

Orchestral experiences include the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Mentoring Scheme 2019 and playing as principal with CIT CSM Symphony Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland, Ulster Youth Orchestra, and Fishamble Sinfonia, as well as professional work with the Ulster Orchestra and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. She looks forward to continuing her postgraduate studies with Professor Garfield Jackson at the Royal Academy of Music, London, in September.

Róise Cusack

Róise Cusack is 15 years old and has lived in Valentia for 8 years. She has just finished her third year in Coláiste Íde, an all-Irish boarding school in Dingle.  She has a huge interest in music, having taken singing lessons with Gavan Ring and Nicola Mulligan Ring from a young age and currently taking lessons with Aidan O’Carroll in Kerry School of Music in Tralee. She has also taken lessons in piano, classical violin, traditional violin and concertina with various teachers including Peter Mullarkey, Emma Bowles and Anna Connolly.  Róise is delighted to be asked to sing at this event.

Gearóid Riordan

Gearóid Riordan (baritone) is native of Portmagee County Kerry and studies with Dr Gavan Ring. Gearóid has distinguished himself as an emerging talent over the last number of years with some outstanding solo performances in particular as Jean Valjean in the 2015 CNS production of Boubil & Schönberg’s Les Misérables. Recently Gearóid was accepted to the prestigious Royal Irish Academy of Music where he may commence studies with renowned teacher Mary Brennan this coming September.

Francesca O’Connor

Francesca O’Connor (soprano) lives in Ballinskelligs. She has been studying music with Gavan Ring for 3 years and is a keen music student at school where she is a member of the school choir. She has performed in concerts with Gavan Ring.

Murrough Connolly

“My name is Murrough Connolly and I am nineteen. Guitar has always been a very important part of my life and I began to play at the age of eight. Throughout my early teenage years, I focused primarily on blues and jazz and I studied with Jimmy Canty in the Kerry School of Music. I collaborated with musicians my own age during secondary school and I really enjoyed the band experience. I was introduced to classical guitar when I was sixteen, during Transition Year. Under the expert guidance and teaching of Jerry Knipper, I soon grew to love classical guitar. I am currently an undergraduate at the Cork School of Music and I have completed the first year of my BMus course under the inspiring tuition of Jerry Creedon. I also teach guitar in my spare time.”

Murrough Connolly