page under construction for 2019

with baroque ensemble lead by Claire Duff




THE GREGORY WALKERS                                                                                                    

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.