Online from St Nicholas Collegiate Church
Thursday 17 December, 1pm
(available to 26 December)

Aisling Kenny, soprano, Siobhán Armstrong, historical harps

This is the season where Christians celebrate Advent, leading to the joy of Christmas. More ancient traditions witnessed the winter solstice, and celebrated the turning of the northern hemisphere from darkness towards the light of spring.

This recital joins in that perennial activity with both sacred and secular music including old favourites and lesser-known gems: seasonal plainchant, winter carols and lullabies, together with lively wassails to warm the heart and drive the cold winter away!


Aisling Kenny

Galway soprano, Aisling Kenny, is a soloist and ensemble singer specialising in early music and art song. Favourite repertoire includes anything by Bach, French baroque, lute songs and Lieder. She has sung as a soloist with Irish Baroque Orchestra, Camerata Kilkenny, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Marlborough Baroque, Luminosa String Orchestra, The Orchestra of St Cecilia, Linden Baroque and the Staatskapelle. Aisling features regularly in the National Concert Hall’s Chamber Music Series, most recently with IBO for their La Donna Barocca project directed by Claire Duff.  Other memorable concert experiences include Couperin’s Leçons de ténèbres with Camerata Kilkenny and Sharon Carty, Venetian Splendour, a concert tour of Monteverdi with Resurgam and the English Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble and performances at many of Ireland’s festivals including Galway Early Music Festival, Sligo Baroque Festival, Ardee Baroque Festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and New Music Dublin. An experienced ensemble singer, Aisling a member of Resurgam, Sestina and Crux, and also sings with Chamber Choir Ireland and Collegium Vocale Gent.

Aisling is a devoted song recitalist and loves singing with harp, lute, fortepiano and guitar. Recent recitals include Dowland’s lute songs with Thomas Dunford in Paris and Kilkenny and a concert of Clara Schumann’s Lieder with Cecily Lock at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Aisling is delighted to perform again at Galway Early Music Festival with Siobhan Armstrong for this special mid-winter edition.


Siobhán Armstrong is one of Europe’s foremost historical harpists, performing and recording 16th-to 18th-century opera and chamber music with many of Europe’s most prestigious historical performers, and also collaborating with some of Ireland’s best traditional musicians. She plays a large collection of copies of single and multi-row harps from the Middle Ages to the baroque, including a copy of the medieval Trinity College or Brian Boru harp, and is happiest accompanying vocal music: plainchant to polyphony; sean-nós song to early opera.

Siobhán played modern harps, read Music at Trinity College Dublin in the 1980s, and was a professional choral singer, before specialising in historical harps. She founded and chairs The Historical Harp Society of Ireland. In 2014, Middlesex University, London, awarded her a three-year post-graduate research bursary to pursue PhD studies in early Irish harp performance practice.

Siobhán has embarked on a recording project, with her chamber ensemble, The Irish Consort, to present a series of recordings of music in Ireland 1500-1800. The consort’s debut recording Music, Ireland and the Sixteenth Century was released in February 2019. This project was kindly funded by the Arts Council Music Recording Scheme, managed by Music Network. Siobhán would also like to acknowledge the kind help of Music Network, Ireland, in acquiring suitable harps for her work.