Apprentice Ensembles Programme

The Apprentice Ensemble scheme, now in its 12th year, offers frequent mentoring sessions with ConTempo Quartet and performing opportunities to emerging, talented young performing groups.

The current Apprentice Ensembles are:

Ensemble Dagda

Ensemble Dagda, comprised of Caitríona O'Mahoney (baroque violin), Norah O'Leary (baroque cello), Emma Power (soprano) and Kieran Finnegan (harpsichord), bring the best of music from the 17th century to vibrant life in the 21st century, using the evocative sounds of original instruments and a creative and playful interpretive approach. With a variety of sounds, the ensemble mixes passionately expressive baroque sonatas and merry dance movements for strings and harpsichord with some of the most moving sacred and secular works for soprano with violins and continuo, covering composers including Buxtehude, Purcell and Isabella Leonarda. Ensemble Dagda's members have studied in countries including Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and the U.K. Different incarnations of the group have been invited to perform at the prestigious West Cork Chamber Music Festival and East Cork Early Music Festival. They have also given well received concerts in Cork, Dublin and Helsinki with focuses on works by women composers in the baroque period, and early Italian music.

Cello and Piano duo, Davide Forti & Francesca De Nardi

Davide Forti (cello) and Francesca De Nardi (piano) met during their studies at the music college “Conservatorio G. Tartini” in Trieste, Italy. They started to play as a duo in 2016 and have attended several masterclasses with international renowned musicians such as Daniel Rowland, Enrico Bronzi, Alberto Miodini and Ivan Rabaglia. They are now continuing their studies at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin, where Davide is taking the Recital Artist Diploma at the “Royal Irish Academy with William Butt and Francesca is studying for her Masters under Karl Sweeney.

The Amoroso Quartet

The Amoroso Quartet, comprised of Marieclaire Brodie and Renee Neeson (Violins), Tara McCarthy (Viola) and Gary Doherty (Cello), were formed in 2016 by 4 musicians seeking an outlet for their love of chamber music. Based in Limerick, the are currently exploring works for string quartet by Mendelssohn, Borodin and Beethoven.

Previous Apprentice Ensemble participants:

  • 2016/17: Flute and Soprano Duo Miriam Kaczor and Lorna Breen were joined in 2017 by The Amoroso Quartet and Viola and Piano Duo Eilish Divine and Maja Elliott for term 2. Amoroso will complete their work on the programme in 2017/18.
  • 2015/16: The Oak Duo - Katie Neville and Orlaith McHugh; The Aurora Duo - Katie Hyland and Fiona Gryson; Violin and Piano Duo Hilda O'Mahony and Varazdat Khachatryan; Violin and Piano Duo Aisling McCarthy and Anne Ralph.
  • 2014/15: Elwood Guitar Quartet - Michael Clarke, Radek Lomejko, Katie Neville and Marc Oliver; Brennan-Cahill Saxophone-Piano Duo – Gavin Brennan (saxophone) and Aileen Cahill (piano)
  • 2013/14: Quintessential Sax Quartet – Gavin Brennan (soprano saxophone), Séan Kenny (tenor saxophone), David Conway (alto saxophone) and Stephen O’Brien (baritone saxophone).
  • 2011/12: Chatham Saxophone Quartet - Daniel Dunne (soprano saxophone), Darren Hatch (alto saxophone), Ciaran Sutton (tenor saxophone) and Ian Finlay (baritone saxophone).
  • 2010/11: Golden Strings Duo – Peter Sebeystian and Livia Nagy (cellos); Cantabile Piano Trio – Katarina Baker (violin), Tom Murphy (violin) and Rachel McCall (piano); Soundpost Quartet - Nuala Ní Chanainn (violin), Anne Marie Taylor (violin), Vincent Hurley (viola) and Nickie Geddes (cello)

How to Apply

Applications for the 2018/19 Apprentice Ensemble Programme are now open. You can apply online here or download the Application Form and Application Details from the the live links. For further details contact