Courtney Lewis – Guest Conductor 2018
With clear artistic vision, subtle musicality, and innovative programming, Courtney Lewis has established himself as one of his generation’s most talented conductors. The 2017/18 season will mark his third season as Music Director of the Jacksonville Symphony. Highlights of the past season included engagements with the Dallas Symphony and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.
Since his debut in November 2008 with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, he has since appeared with the Atlanta Symphony, Washington National Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Houston Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, and Ulster Orchestra, among others.
As a young conductor, Courtney Lewis has served as Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic, Associate Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, and Dudamel Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
From 2008 to 2014, Courtney Lewis was the music director of Boston’s acclaimed Discovery Ensemble, a chamber orchestra dedicated not only to giving concerts of contemporary and established repertoire at the highest level of musical and technical excellence, but also bringing live music into the least privileged parts of Boston with workshops in local schools.
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Lewis read music at the University of Cambridge during which time he studied composition with Robin Holloway and clarinet with Dame Thea King. After completing a master’s degree with a focus on the late music of György Ligeti, he attended the Royal Northern College of Music, where his teachers included Sir Mark Elder and Clark Rundell.
Gordon Bragg – Rehearsal Conductor 2018
Gordon Bragg is sub-principal second violin of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and from 2012-2017 was second violinist of the Edinburgh Quartet, one of Britain’s foremost chamber ensembles, performing throughout the UK as well as regularly broadcasting live on BBC Radio 3 and Radio Scotland. As a member of the Edinburgh Quartet, Gordon recorded the string quartets of James MacMillan on Delphian, which was labelled ‘outstanding’ by International Record Review and described in Gramophone Magazine as “deliver[ing] every detail of these sometimes complex scores with total commitment, communicating them with passion and intensity.”
As a conductor Gordon studied in Manchester and Zürich, and has conducted the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, NYOS Camerata, Scottish Ballet, Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie as well as participating in masterclasses with Bernard Haitink, Ivan Fischer and Sir Mark Elder. He acted as assistant to Donald Runnicles at the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra while being the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Conductor Fellow from 2011 to 2013. Gordon conducted a critically acclaimed performance of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with Scottish Ballet at the 2013 Edinburgh International Festival. Since becoming a member of Scottish Chamber Orchestra Gordon has led several projects throughout the organisation, including a large involvement in their education programme.
Gordon graduated in violin performance from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with first class honours, studying violin with Stephanie Gonley and Simon Fischer. He participated in masterclasses with members of the Amadeus and Takacs quartets, and an Erasmus exchange to the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He was also invited to participate in the International Musicians’ Seminar at Prussia Cove where he performed in the class of Gerhard Schultz. Gordon was Concertmaster of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and NYOS Camerata, and has been a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra, Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra.
Ryan Molloy - Composer
As a composer and performer, Ryan Molloy’s work has been performed to international audiences on four continents for over ten years, including major concert venues such as Tanglewood (U.S.A.), Lucerne Hall, KKL (Switzerland), Kölner Philharmonie (Germany), Holywell Music Room (England) and Waterfront Hall (N. Ireland). In great demand as an accompanist, he has recorded over a dozen albums and his repertoire spans numerous genres from traditional Irish music to contemporary classical music. Currently a lecturer in composition at Maynooth University, he studied at the University of Oxford and latterly at Queen’s University Belfast where he completed his PhD ‘The Traditional Contemporary Dichotomy in Irish Art Music: A New Compositional Approach’ under the supervision of Dr Simon Mawhinney and Prof. Piers Hellawell.
His compositional work has won numerous prizes and has been broadcast both nationally and internationally on BBC Radio 3 and Radio Ulster, RTÉ lyric fm, Radio 1 and Ráidió na Gaeltachta as well as on BBC 2, UTV and BBC World. From 2012 to 2014, his compositional work was supported by a BBC Performing Arts Fund Fellowship in association with Moving on Music.
In early 2016, he released a CD of his piano works entitled Innisfail, recorded by award-winning American pianist Alexander Bernstein. Other recently completed works include Gealach Chríoch Lochlann, a string quartet for BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists the Danish String Quartet, Cantaireacht for clarinettist Carol McGonnell and Seisiún, a commission from Concorde.
Past collaborations include diverse performers and ensembles such as EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble (UK), Ulster Orchestra (NI), Composers’ Ensemble (UK), Hard Rain Soloist Ensemble (NI), Konvergence Ensemble (CZ), Franziska Schroeder (AT/NI), Carla Rees (UK), Zoë Conway, New Dublin Voices, Elizabeth Hilliard & David Bremner, and Nick Roth (IE).
Aoife Miskelly - Soprano
Belfast soprano Aoife Miskelly originally studied ‘cello with Morag Stewart and was a member of CBYO and UYO sometime in the last millennium! Upon realising she would make more noise as a singer, Aoife gained a Masters Degree in Opera from the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2012. During her studies there, Aoife was a Kathleen Ferrier Awards finalist, the winner of the Ber-nadette Greevy award, winner of a BBC/ACNI Northern Ireland Young Artist’s Platform Award, fi-nalist and prizewinner at the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition and the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition.
During the 2012/16 seasons Aoife was employed as a principal artist for Cologne Opera where she sang roles including Gilda (Rigoletto), Gretel, Musetta (La Bohéme), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Despina (Così fan tutte), Servilia (La Clemenza di Tito), Frasquita (Carmen), Valencienne (Die Lustige Witwe), Papagena (Die Zauberflöte), and Harey in the German world-premiere of Solaris by Detlev Glanert.
Aoife’s other operatic roles include Pamina, Cecily Cardew in the Irish Premiere of Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Polissena Handel’s Radamisto, and Zerlina, all with Northern Ireland Opera, Thérèse in Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tiresias at both La Monnaie and the Festi-val d’Aix-en-Provence. Recent highlights include The Woman in The Last Hotel at the Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House for Wide Open Opera, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Hyogo Performing Arts Centre in Japan, and Eliza Doolittle for The Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman. Aoife made a critically acclaimed debut for Opera North in the title role of Snowmaiden by Rimsky-Korsakov, and covered the role of Sophie (Rosenkavalier) for Welsh National Opera.
Upcoming engagements include Despina Northern Ireland Opera, Clorinda (La Cenerentola) Welsh National Opera, Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro) Irish National Opera, and Susanna Nevill Holt Opera, together with recital and oratorio performances of Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben, Mozart’s Requiem and Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, and soprano soloist in a concert of Telemann for the RIAS Kammerchor in Germany.
William Curran - Clarinet
William Curran was born in Belfast and began his musical studies at the Ulster College of Music. He went on to read music at Queen’s University graduating in 2015 with first class honours and the joint highest recital mark in his year. He was subsequently awarded the QUB May Turtle Travel Scholarship and the Flax Trust Award 2015 which helped to support his postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. At the RNCM William studied with Nicholas Cox and John Bradbury, among others, and played principal clarinet with the RNCM Symphony orchestra on several occasions with performance highlights including Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall and the 42nd Cantiere Internazionale D’arte in Montepulciano, Italy. He also recently performed with the RNCM New Ensemble at the Wigmore Hall in a programme of music by Mark-Anthony Turnage.
A keen orchestral musician William was a member of the UYO from 2013-2017 and was principal clarinet from 2014. He was selected for Professional Experience Schemes with several orchestras in the 17/18 season, allowing him to perform with the BBC Philharmonic, The Hallé and the Ulster Orchestra. He also successfully auditioned for the RTÉ NSO’s Mentoring Scheme in 2017 and 2018. In 2016 William was chosen as the first ‘Young Artist’ with the Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble and gave a recital of contemporary clarinet pieces in the Harty Room at QUB. That summer he was also chosen as one of 12 musicians from all over Ireland to attend the Camerata Ireland Academy at the Clandeboye Festival.