with baroque ensemble lead by Claire Duff

Mezzo-soprano Sharon Carty is an alumna of the RIAM Dublin, MDW Vienna, and the Oper Frankfurt Young Artists programme. Recent engagements include Sesto in Giulio Cesare (Theater Freiburg) Flora in La Traviata with the NDR Radiophilharmonie, Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel (Landestheater Linz) Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte (Ministry of Operatic affairs, Belgium, Theater Freiburg, Theater Erfurt),) Ottone in Handel’s Agrippina (Irish Youth Opera), Dido in Dido and Aeneas (Oper Frankfurt), Piacere in Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno and Ariodante in Ariodante in Dublin with the IBO/OTC. She recently created the role of “Amy” in the world premiere of Donnacha Dennehy’s and Enda Walsh’s Fedora prize-winning opera “The Second Violinist”.

In much demand on the concert platform across Europe, her concert and oratorio repertoire includes all the Passions, as well as the Weihnachtsoratorium, Mass in b minor, and numerous other cantatas of J.S.Bach, Messiah, Mozart and Durufle Requiem, Mozart Great mass in c minor, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and St.Paul .  She is also a dedicated recitalist, most recently championing the songs of C.V.Stanford in recital with pianist Finghin Collins.

Upcoming highlights include St.Matthew Passion with the Niuewe Philharmonie Utrecht, J.A.Hasse’s Marc Antonio e Cleopatra in Moscow with Musica Viva, her role debut as Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice with Irish National Opera, as well as a world tour of The Second Violinst throughout 2018 and 2019.  Recordings include Gilbert & Cellier’s comic opera The Mountebanks with the BBC Concert Orchestra (2018 release on the Dutton label), and La Traviata on DVD with the NDR Radiophilhamonie alongside Thomas Hampson and Marina Rebeka.

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 (ARAM), which is awarded 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. She has co-led the Academy of Ancient Music and played principal second with The English Concert. Claire has an extensive discography, including a highly acclaimed CD of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto with Monica Huggett and IBO and more recently, a recording of Telemann’s concerto for two violins and bassoon. Claire is passionate about music education and is teacher of baroque violin at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.


The York Waits take their name from the ancient city band of York, the earliest evidence for which we find in 14th century records. Before they turned to music full time the waits had been night watchmen and, although their guard duties diminished, they continued to keepe the night watches in the weeks leading up to Christmas, playing at various points to mark the hours and wake the citizens. In York as in many towns, they were employed by the Lord Mayor as the city’s own band of musicians, paid and liveried by the corporation to play on public occasions. The band is known to have been in continuous existence for at least five hundred years until abolition in 1836.

Today’s York Waits have revived the band as it was in its heyday in the 16th century, playing a wide repertoire of period European music as well as their own arrangements of popular dance and ballad tunes.

The York Waits performed at the first Galway Early Music Festival (in fact, they were the inspiration for organising it!) and have performed at the festival several times since.

Deborah Catterall
Deborah began an interest in early music whilst at the Royal Northern College of Music. After a post-graduate course in early singing at the Royal College, London, she began life as a freelance soloist, working with orchestras, groups and lutenists alike. She began singing with The York Waits at the age of 26, whilst simultaneously becoming a Musical Director at the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and a vocal tutor at Chetham’s specialist music school in Manchester.

Deborah sings with lutenist, Hugh Cherry, directs opera, Shakespeare, three early music vocal ensembles, including Company of Voices and often writes articles for healing magazines. She teaches singing and healing and in 2005 was invited to Buckingham Palace in honour of her contribution to the British music industry.


Laoise O’Brien (recorders), Malachy Robinson (viols), Eamon Sweeney (baroque guitar, lute)

A ‘Gregory’ was the name of a wig worn in the 16th century, said to have been invented by a barber named Gregory. A lute, viol, or fiddle was part of the furniture of a barber’s shop in the era and his customers, while waiting for a hair cut or a minor operation, would amuse themselves on the instruments provided.

The Gregory Walkers comprises some of Ireland’s most respected musicians. They are experienced in delivering performances suitable for the whole family and have done so for Ardee Baroque Festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Music Generation, The ARK Children’s Cultural Centre, National Museum of Ireland and others.


Malachy Robinson, bass viol

Malachy Robinson (violone) had his early music education from his dad Andrew Robinson, Ireland’s viola da gamba crusader. He is a prize-winning graduate of London’s Guildhall School of Music and holds a Masters degree in Historical Musicology from the University of London. He has appeared with period-performance groups the Irish Baroque Orchestra, the Academy of Ancient Music, the OAE, the Sixteen and the English Concert; he has also founded some of his own, Trio Quattro and Armoniosa. He is principal double-bassist with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and is a founder member of Dublin’s Crash Ensemble and Louth’s EQ Ensemble. His Robinson Panoramic Quartet is a new take on the string quartet medium and the quintet Lunfardia gives a contemporary virtuosic twist to South-American folk musics. His violone playing has been described by the Irish Times as demonstrating a “remarkable lyrical dexterity”. He likes to write songs and to sing them.

Laoise O’Brien, recorders

Laoise O’Brien (recorders) has a growing reputation as a virtuosic performer and imaginative concert programmer and has been commended in the Irish Times for her ‘mesmerising skill’. Laoise studied recorder at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and holds a Masters in Performance & Musicology from NUI Maynooth.

In repertoire from the 12th to the 18th centuries she has appeared with the Irish Baroque Orchestra, Camerata Kilkenny and the Irish Consort, as well as international ensembles such as the Royal Wind Music, Amsterdam. She has released two albums conceived in collaboration with artist Lorna Donlon, How Happy for the Little Birds and Sonnets for the Cradle (assisted by the Arts Council of Ireland) which have had global radio exposure. Sonnets for the Cradle was the subject of a radio feature on RTE Lyric FM which won an award at the 2013 New York Festivals International Radio Awards. Laoise is particularly passionate about education and raising the profile of the recorder in Ireland. She lectures at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama where she teaches students from the age of seven up to post-graduate level.

Eamon Sweeney, early guitars

Eamon Sweeney (guitar) was awarded the first musicology PhD to be accredited by DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama. His doctoral thesis, The Guitar and its role as an accompanying instrument in seventeenth – and early eighteenth-century France, investigated the five-course guitar’s role as a continuo instrument in the court of Louis XIV, a hitherto unexplored area of French baroque music and early guitar performance practice. Eamon has lectured and given seminars on Baroque guitar performance at Dublin, Dundee and Bath International Guitar Festivals as well as for DIT and UCD. Eamon received his BMus (1st Class) in Guitar Performance from Trinity College, Dublin and DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and has since performed on stage, radio and television, both as a solo artist and with various ensembles including the National Symphony Orchestra, RTE Concert Orchestra and Opera Theatre Company. Eamon teaches music with Co Wicklow VEC and is part of the duo Tonos (with Roisin O’Grady) who perform music of the 17th century.



Dr. Yonit Kosovske has performed as a soloist, chamber artist, continuo player, and artistic director in major cities throughout the United States, Israel, Ireland, Hong Kong, Spain, Colombia, and Ecuador. Holding numerous degrees in both modern and historical keyboard instruments, Yonit concertizes on harpsichord, modern piano, fortepiano, and chamber organ. She is at home with vocal and instrumental repertory from the sixteenth to the twenty-first centuries—spanning large and small-scale genres, sacred and secular works, and collaborative, interdisciplinary and multi-media projects.

Yonit is currently forming a new band of Ireland-based early-music performers devoted to vocal and instrumental repertory from the 17th century to work in collaboration with performing artists in interdisciplinary arts practices.


Spanish-Ukrainian tenor Wolodymyr Smishkewych is a native of New Jersey, USA. He has specialized in medieval song, chant, and new music since the 1990s. He received his training in voice performance from Rutgers University (BM ‘95, MM ‘98) and Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music (DM ‘13), having studied with renowned tenors Frederick Urrey, Paul Elliott and Alan Bennett. A sought-after performer and vocal pedagogue in medieval, contemporary, and world music, he has lectured and taught masterclasses and performance programs at universities in the United States, South America, Canada, and Europe. He is a member of Sequentia Ensemble for Medieval Music and of Paul Hillier’s Theatre of Voices , and has performed as a soloist with The Harp Consort and Ars Nova Copenhagen. In 2015 he joined RTÉ lyric fm as the host and writer of a new series, The Astrolabe, and was made producer and announcer of, the webradio of the European Early Music Network.

Redmond O’Toole is recognised as one of the most distinctive and original guitarists of his generation. He was the first to adopt Paul Galbraith’s ‘Brahms guitar’. This groundbreaking instrument and technique uses an 8-string guitar in the position of a cello. He has performed at major concert halls and events throughout Europe such as Passau International Guitar Festival, Germany, Irish National Concert Hall, Royal Dublin Society Concert Hall and Hallein Guitar Festival, Austria . He has performed as soloist with orchestras such as BBC Ulster and the Irish Baroque and has toured extensively as guitarist for legendary Irish group ‘The Chieftains’. He teaches at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin. O’Toole is an important ambassador for the classical guitar in Ireland and has given concerts the length and breadth of his country. He has performed for two Irish Presidents and was part of the televised concert for Queen Elizabeth’s historic visit to Ireland in 2011. He is a member of the critically acclaimed Dublin Guitar Quartet.

Yovanna Torres Blanco is a Mexican Irish Flamenco, and Mexican folk dancer, living in Limerick. She has a high passion for Flamenco dance. Talking about dancing and her career of being a dancer, Yovanna said: “Dance is an international language. Through dance we tell stories, unite people, practice rituals, challenge stereotypes, break archaic social conventions or even protest against injustice. I am a firm believer in social change through dance, music, and art in general. My principal art forms are Irish, flamenco and Mexican folk dance and I am trying to make a difference in my corner of the world through their performance, teaching and enjoyment.”