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Culture Hotline

Culture Hotline - Second Series - Autumn 2020

We're delighted to collaborate with Irish Heritage to bring you another series of Culture Hotline sessions this autumn featuring a talented array of musicians.

Join us by listening in on the phone or by watching online from anywhere in the world!

To watch our live performances online, download a free version of Microsoft Teams here:

Once you’ve downloaded Teams, click here to view the performances:

To listen to live performances on the phone, call one of these numbers:

If you have a contract with unlimited minutes please dial: 020 3443 9152 (or +44 20 3443 9152 from abroad).

If you are on Pay As You Go or have limited minutes please feel free to dial our toll-free number from anywhere in the UK:0800 031 5925

You will be prompted to enter the following Conference ID: 135 144 590#

Culture Hotline Series 2, Session #7 - live performance by Amy Gillen

Irish flautist Amy Gillen plays with ‘incredible dexterity and musicality’ and ‘sparkling fluidity and pristine clarity’. This review comes from the Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year (IFYM) Final by music critic Dick O’Riordan where Amy was the winner of the 2018 IFYM.

Amy recently graduated from the Royal College of Music in London with a Distinction First Class Honours and the prestigious Tagore Gold Medal. As a result of being awarded this Tagore Gold Medal, Amy will perform for HRH Prince of Wales in 2021 at the Royal College of Music.

Amy is extremely grateful to her RCM Sponsor Russell Race, Irish Heritage, the Royal College of Music and Tom and Ann Jago who so generously supported her studies in London. Amy was awarded the McCullough Cup and RTÉ Lyric FM Bursary at the 2019 Feis Ceoil Dublin and was also awarded the 2019 RDS Jago Award which has given her the opportunity to perform as soloist with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

In November 2018, Amy made her debut performance at the Wigmore Hall in London where she was awarded the 2018 Irish Heritage Bursary for Performance. Commenting on the bursary being awarded, John Gilhooly OBE Chairman of the adjudicators and director at the Wigmore Hall said: “Amy is an immediately engaging artist from the moment she steps on the platform. She is a true musician in every sense.” Amy has won numerous prizes, which include the Sir James Galway Rising Star Award and a 14K Gold Nagahara head joint for her flute at the 2017 Galway Flute Festival (GFF), Switzerland; the Flax Trust Bursary and the Audience Award at the Flax Trust Music Awards in Belfast in October 2017; a Gemeinhardt piccolo at the 2016 GFF, Switzerland; the Yamaha Woodwind and Brass Bursary for Ireland in 2015.

As part of the Sir James Galway Rising Star Award, Amy gave a recital at the 2018 GFF Switzerland, which was supported by Culture Ireland. In December 2019, Amy performed at the Soireé d’Or Royal College of Music event at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Amy was selected to take part in the BBC Symphony Orchestra Pathway Scheme 2018/2019 and is currently working as a Music Teacher in an International School in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Culture Hotline Series 2, Session #6 - live performance by Navarra Violin Duo


Navarra Violin Duo was formed over the course of 2020 by professional violinists Cillian O’Breachain and Chris Quaid. Having graduated from Masters Programmes at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Royal College of Music (London) respectively, they sought to create an ensemble which was unique and versatile. The nature of a violin duo means that they can be accommodated in smaller, more intimate venues across Ireland.

Drawing on their substantial experience with professional ensembles and orchestras in Ireland and the UK, the duo aim to perform contrasting styles and genres of music from Prokofiev and Spohr to Philippe Hersant and John Buckley. Navarra duo has benefitted from coaching from members of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, RTÉ Concert Orchestra and leading guest-concertmasters in Ireland and the UK.

The Navarra Duo are currently artists in residence at the Kilkenny Shop and Restaurant in Nassau Street, Dublin where they perform every Saturday lunchtime. Future plans include a collaborative concert series and outreach programme at St. Agnes’ Community Centre for Music and Arts, Crumlin.

The performance will be live-streamed from The Royal Hospital Kilmainham which is curated by the OPW.

About the Culture Hotline

As Covid-19 continues to force us to socially distance, digital culture has become a major feature for us. However, we are aware that many people may still not have full access to these online resources. Therefore, the ICC launched our very own Culture Hotline back in May, which invited people to ring in or join us online and hear songs, poetry, storytelling, and music to combat isolation, loneliness, and boredom.

About Irish Heritage

Irish Heritage is the only Irish arts organisation in Britain dedicated to helping young Irish musicians and composers in the early part of their careers when their needs are greatest. It now awards three valuable Bursaries annually, one for performance, one for composition and another for vocal studies.

Culture Hotline Series Two

16th September Seána Davey (Harp)
30th September Justine Gormley (Piano)
21st October  Ellen Mawhinney (Soprano)
28th October Tara Viscardi (Harp)
11th November Mollie Wrafter (Violin)
25th November Christopher Quaid and Cillian O’Breacháin (Navarra Violin Duo)
9th December Amy Gillen (Flute)
16th December Conall O'Neill (Bass)

Culture Hotline Series 2, Session #5 - live performance by Mollie Wrafter

Irish born violinist Mollie Wrafter has just graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music where she achieved a First Class Honours in her Bachelor of Music degree. Throughout her time at the RNCM, Mollie studied with Leland Chen and was kindly supported by the Gladys Emily Woolston scholarship.

In 2019, Mollie won the Norman George Violin Scholarship Competition and was awarded the Irish Heritage Performance Bursary for 2019/2020. She has participated in masterclasses with Ning Feng, Frederieke Saeijs, Mauricio Fuks and Nicholas Trygstad.

Mollie is an avid chamber musician, playing with the emerging Trio Deanach, who were awarded the Nossek Prize for Chamber Music for 2020. As the second violinist in the Treske Ensemble, Mollie is looking forward to recording an album with the Dante Quartet in 2021.

As an Irish student in the UK, Mollie prioritises the connection with her Irish heritage. She has collaborated with musicians from Wales, Scotland & England to form an ensemble which celebrated native music with a contemporary twist. Mollie also curates chamber concerts which comprise the music of female Irish composers in Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, the seat of feminism in Manchester. The project aims to celebrate the legacy of Irish female musicianship and artistry.

Through the support of the Wolfston Foundation, Mollie plays a copy of the ‘Lord Wilton’ Guarneri del Gesù crafted for her by Glen Collins in 2018.

Culture Hotline Series 2, Session #4 - live performance by Tara Viscardi

Tara Viscardi is a London based Irish harpist currently in the final year of her Master of Music in Performance at the Royal College of Music. She has performed extensively across Ireland and the UK with highlights including performances at the Bloomsbury Festival, the Irish Embassy, the Irish Cultural Centre, the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival, and for the Dublin Philharmonic Society recital series. She has performed for President Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin, as well as for HRH the Prince of Wales at Hillsborough Castle and featured on the Young Artist Masterclass Programme at the 13th World Harp Congress Hong Kong, generously supported by Culture Ireland. A multiple prize winner, Tara was awarded the senior harp prize at the Dublin and Sligo Feis Ceoil competitions, the String Prize at the 2016 Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year, as well as first prizes for concerto and senior recital while an undergraduate at TU Dublin Conservatoire. A passionate traditional Irish musician, Tara regularly performs her own arrangements and compositions and plays a beautiful Killarney Harp handcrafted for her Tim O’ Carroll in her native Co. Kerry.

Culture Hotline Series 2, Session #3 - live performance by Ellen Mawhinney

Culture Hotline Series 2, Session #2 - live performance by Justine Gormley

Justine Gormley, from Belfast, currently studies under the tutelage of Senior Tutor in Piano, John Gough, at the Royal Northern College of Music. Justine is a laureate of multiple competitions across the UK and Ireland, some of which include the Irish Heritage Bursary Competition at Wigmore Hall, the ESO Young Soloist Competition, and the Camerata Ireland Academy, where Justine studied with renowned Irish pianist Barry Douglas for two consecutive years. She was additionally a finalist in the Young Pianist of the North International Piano Competition. Other internationally regarded pianists Justine has received masterclasses from include Bernard d’Ascoli, Noriko Ogawa, and Kathryn Stott, by whom she was selected to perform alongside in concert in a piano duo at the RNCM. An avid performer, Justine has appeared as a soloist with orchestra at the Lisbon International Youth Music Festival, Portugal, and has been broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster.

Culture Hotline Series 2, Session #1 - live performance by Seána Davey

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Culture Hotline Series One