live classical music, connectinh with audiences
Classical Links: Quality services for the Arts

MusiciansConcert Diary of all artists Projects, Tours and Musicians’ collaborationsLinksWestport Festival of Chamber Music 2014
- introduction

- patronage

- programme
- buy tickets


Elizabeth Cooney and Friends

String Sextet

May 2017

 Elizabeth Cooney and Mairéad Hickey, violins
 Simon Aspell and Ruth Gibson, violas
 Guy Johnston and Brian O’Kane, cellos

 Tuesday 16 May 7.30pm
 Waterford-Music, Georgian Large Room, City Hall
 €15 (€5 students) at the door

 Wednesday 17 May 8.00pm
 Cork Orchestral Society, Curtis Auditorium, CIT
 €20 (€15/10/5) at the door
 Thursday 18 May 8.00pm
 Music for Galway, Aula Maxima, NUIG
 €20 (€16/€6) in Opus 2 High Street  Music for Galway 091 705 962
 Friday 19 May 8.00pm
 Con-Brio Sligo, The Model
 €25 (€10 students at door) 071 914 1405
 Saturday 20 May 8.00pm
 Solstice Arts Centre, Navan
 €16 (€14) 046 909 2300

 Sunday 21 May 12 Noon
 Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane 
 Admission free

 Tchaikovsky: ‘Souvenir de Florence’
 Brahms:  Sextet No.1 in B flat major Op.16


Elizabeth Cooney is well known to Irish audiences as a leading violinist of her generation. She has toured as soloist with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland to packed houses around the country and has recorded for BBC Radio 3, Lyric FM and RTE TV.  Now based in London, she performs internationally as soloist, chamber musician and with orchestras such as the English Chamber Orchestra and Aurora Orchestra, the latter often performing symphonies by memory taking them from appearances at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall to platforms all over the world from Mexico to Melbourne.  She studied in Cork with Patricia Kelleher and Adrian Petcu before studying at the Royal College of Music, London on scholarship with Itzakh Rashkovsky where she then became a Junior Fellow.  She is laureate of international competitions including the Sion-Valais Competition in Switzerland and was awarded a Rising Star recital at the National Concert Hall, Dublin. She has performed as soloist at the Wigmore Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, the Victoria Hall, Geneva and the Weill Hall at Carnegie to name but a few.  Chamber music has taken her to festivals such as Musica Nova, Brazil, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Cambridge Festival, Edinburgh Fringe and Canterbury Festivals.  Elizabeth has premiered Aleksandra Vrebalov's Spell III for solo violin and electronics on the LCMS label and, most recently, recorded Charlie Lennon's sonata for violin and piano 'Glaoch chun Saoirse' for CD with Finghin Collins.  She performs so regularly in both the UK and Ireland that she relished the opportunity to bring together musicians of such a high calibre to work on the best known repertoire for string sextet.

Mairéad Hickey, violin
One of Ireland’s most accomplished young violinists, Mairéad Hickey was NCH Young Musician of the Year 2010-2012.  She won third prize in the
2016 International Louis Spohr Competition and first prize in the Jeunesses Musicales Violin Competition, Romania 2012.  Performing regularly throughout Ireland, she has recorded with both the RTÉ National Concert and Symphony Orchestras.   Abroad, Mairéad has performed in venues including the Royal Festival Hall, London and Carnegie Hall, New York.  Mairéad started the violin aged 3 and studied with Adrian Petcu at the CIT Cork School of Music.  She is now studying with Mihaela Martin at Kronberg Academy, sponsored by the Hilmar Kopper Stipendium.  An enthusiastic chamber musician, Mairéad is co-founder of the Ortús Chamber Music Festival and has appeared several times in the West Cork, Westport and Clandeboye Festivals.  She also plays traditional Irish music and is the winner of eight All Ireland fiddle titles. Mairéad currently plays a 1702 Tononi violin, kindly loaned to her by a generous sponsor through the Beares International Violin Society.  She is supported by the Arts Council and the Music Network Music Capital Scheme, funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Simon Aspell, viola
A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, London, Simon Aspell is one of Ireland’s leading viola players.  In 1985 he joined the Vanbrugh Quartet and with his colleagues came to live in Cork in 1986 as Resident String Quartet to RTÉ, the national broadcaster.  The quartet won the London International String Quartet Competition in 1988 and an international performance career quickly followed throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas as well as the release of thirty CDs, culminating in the complete cycle of Beethoven String Quartets released in 1996.  That same year, the quartet co-founded the West Cork chamber Music Festival in Bantry, now frequented by some of the world’s finest musicians on the chamber music circuit.  As a member of the Vanbrugh Quartet, he has with his colleagues dedicated his musical life to bringing chamber music to all corners of Ireland and to supporting the country’s composers and young musicians.  Simon Aspell can list some of the world’s finest artists as chamber music partners including violinists Julian Rachlin, Priya Mitchell and Catherine Leonard, viola players Brett Dean, Nobuko Imai and Lawrence Power, cellists Steven Isserlis and Guy Johnston, clarinettists Jörg Widmann and Jose Franch Ballester, and pianists John O’Conor and Hugh Tinney.  Simon teaches viola and chamber music at the CIT School of Music, DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Ruth Gibson, viola

Irish violist Ruth Gibson manages a busy and varied career of solo and chamber work. She graduated with First Class honours from the Royal Northern College of Music in 2009 and completed her Masters in Performance with Lawrence Power at the Royal College of Music in London 2011.  Ruth has given solo recitals at St John’s Smith Square and regularly performs at St Lawrence Jewry Festival as an Allcard Winner of the Worshipful Company of Musicians.  In 2011, she was soloist with Bournemouth Symphony and gave a broadcasted performance on BBC4 of Holst’s Lyric Movement for Viola with Orchestra.  As a founding member of the Finzi Quartet, she won the 2010 Royal OverSeas League Competition and gave regular performances at Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Auditorio Sony in Madrid as well as live performances on BBC Radio 3.  In 2014 she collaborated with the Barbirolli and the Benyounes String Quartet (featured at Sainte-Mère in 2014), at Bridgewater Hall and Wigmore Hall.  Festival performances have included Wye Valley, Clandeboye, Lorn Live, RNCM Beethoven Festival, Glastonbury, the BBC Proms and the London Jazz Festival with her jazz sextet ‘Chambr’.   Ruth has toured South America, Russia, Finland and Mexico as Principal Viola with Camerata Ireland, and regularly plays with Aurora Orchestra and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.  Since 2010, Ruth has been Fellow in Chamber Music and Viola at the Royal Northern College of Music and is founder and artistic director of the String Quartet Collective.  

Guy Johnston, cello
Guy Johnston is one of the most exciting British cellists of his generation.  His early successes include winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year, the Shell London Symphony Orchestra Gerald MacDonald Award and a Classical Brit. He has performed with many leading international orchestras, including the London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, English Chamber Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo, Moscow Philharmonic and St Petersburg Symphony.  Guy’s mentors have included Steven Doane, Ralph Kirshbaum, Bernard Greenhouse, Steven Isserlis and Anner Bylsma.   Recent highlights include performances with the Ulster Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, NHK Symphony Orchestra and BBC Symphony, as well as chamber music performances at Wigmore Hall and in festivals across Europe. Guy recently gave the premieres of the Howells Cello Concerto and, at the 2016 Proms, Charlotte Bray’s ‘Falling in the Fire’.  His many recordings include a recital with Kathryn Stott and David Matthews' Dark Pastoral, with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.  His latest project is a CD celebrating the tricentenary of his Tecchler cello, a project involving the acclaimed Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, where the cello was made.  An inspiring leader of young musicians, Guy is a patron of several musical charities including Music First and Future Talent. He is a Professor of Cello at the Royal Academy of Music and a board member of the Pierre Fournier Award for young cellists. Guy Johnston is a founder member of the award-winning Aronowitz Ensemble and founding Artistic Director of the Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival.

Brian O'Kane, cello
Irish cellist Brian O’Kane enjoys a busy career as both soloist and chamber musician.   Since winning first prize at the Windsor International String Competition in 2008, he has made his debuts with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra under Ashkenazy and in recital at the Wigmore Hall.   Brian is a former "Rising Star" of Ireland's National Concert Hall and he recently recorded his debut CD for the Champs Hill label.  
An avid chamber musician, Brian enjoys playing as a member of the Cappa Ensemble and Navarra Quartet.  He has collaborated with a wide variety of artists such as Michael Collins, Aleksandar Madzar, Antoine Tamestit, Ian Bostridge & James Galway and has appeared at festivals such as West Cork, Aix-en-Provence, Radio France-Montpellier, Lockenhaus and Weesp Chamber Music Festival, Holland, of which his quartet (Navarra) are the artistic directors.  A graduate of both the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, Brian’s biggest influences have come from Louise Hopkins and at Prussia Cove from studies with Ralph Kirshbaum & Steven Isserlis.   Brian currently plays on a Rugieri cello c.1690.

  Follow us: Follow us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterAdd us to your network on LinkedIn