Award-winning young musicians

Last time around I mentioned the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) and its Music Bursary as well as this year’s principal winner – Phoebe White whose cellist brother, Killian, received the award in 2018. But there are two smaller, yet significant, sections to the main bursary. One is the €5,000 Jago Award, the other being the…

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Recalling the contribution of the RDS to the arts

A long-standing friend invited myself and two other close acquaintances to lunch at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) recently – outside of course in accordance with Government regulations. But the sun shone and the company was convivial. As might be expected the conversation was never far from music and we recalled the RDS’ contribution to…

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Necessity is the mother of invention

Great Music in Irish Houses had plans to celebrate its golden jubilee last year but these were scuppered in Covid-19’s unrelentingly treacherous seas. With Government restrictions on gatherings continuing, the commemorative programme could not be revisited meaning headaches for the festival’s artistic director, Ciara Higgins, and her assiduous team. However, Ms Higgins is nothing if…

The NSO battles on to bring us much cheer

Despite current restrictions on public gatherings, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra has been battling on at the National Concert Hall with Friday evening broadcasts on Lyric FM repeated on Sunday mornings on RTÉ television. These take place without an audience, which is less than satisfactory for the dedicated musicians but, at least, they are employed.…

Veronica Dunne was above all devoted to her students

Following their honeymoon in Italy Veronica Dunne and Peter McCarthy settled into their home on Dublin’s Bushy Park Road. However, Ronnie’s commuting between Dublin and London to fulfil her Covent Garden contract became more difficult with the arrivals of son Peter in 1954 and daughter Veronica (Judy) in 1956. Ronnie’s farewell to the Royal Opera…

The remarkable life of Veronica Dunne

Last time round we left the late Veronica Dunne about to audition at Covent Garden. She was accepted at once. Interestingly around the same time, Australian soprano Joan Sutherland (1926-2010), who would have a brilliant international career, had four auditions before being accepted as a ‘utility soprano’. She and Ronnie became lifelong friends. Ronnie made…

Farewell dear Ronnie…a great woman has gone

A phone call from my good friend and pianist, Alison Young, on Easter Monday evening told me of the death of the doyenne of our musicians, Veronica Dunne, some hours previously. The news was unexpected as despite her 93 years Ronnie, as she was affectionately known, was still teaching until relatively recently. Her passing brought…

March musical treats to enjoy

Among artistic ventures falling victim to Covid-19 last year were Feis Ceoil and Music for Galway’s Cellissimo festival – a celebration of the cello in one form or another. Happy to relate both events have been reconstituted with Feis Ceoil, supported by the RDS and celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2021, already under way and…