Described by the Washington Post as ‘Ireland’s leading classical guitarist’, John Feeley has received worldwide acclaim for his talents as both performer and teacher. Born in Ballinasloe, John is a champion of traditional tunes and is well known for his own delightful guitar arrangements of Irish music. Concerts have taken him around the globe and include appearances at the Sydney Opera House, Arena di Verona, and New York’s Carnegie Hall. He is currently the Adjunct Professor at the Conservatory of Music, DIT.
Formed in 1995 in Bucharest, ConTempo Quartet is recognised as one of the most exciting and vibrant chamber ensembles performing today. It has performed world-wide in many prestigious venues, winning prizes at competitions in Munich, Rome and London. In 2014, they were also appointed RTÉ’s Quartet in Residence. In June 2016, the members were awarded with honorary doctorates in music from NUI Galway in recognition of 13 years of music and education in the West of Ireland.
Lead by musical director David Farmer, Athlone A Cappella are a 50+ strong group of Ladies, based in Athlone, but who draw their membership from across the Irish Midlands. They perform a cappella style 4-part close harmony, and are the 3 times and current National Barbershop Female Chorus Champions. They have previously travelled all over Ireland, and abroad, performing their rich and varied repertoire, which includes songs from the ‘Musical Theatre’, ‘Jazz’ and ‘Popular’ music of the day.
Daniel Valentin Marx began playing the guitar at the age of seven in the Kreismusikschule Erding, and studied under Professor Roberto Aussel at the Musikhochschule of Cologne, graduating with honours in 2016. Aged 17, Daniel debuted as a classical soloist, playing the guitar concertos of Vivaldi with the chamber orchestra of Erding. Daniel is carrying forward his studies at the University of Southern California, and continues to work in numerous academies and masterclasses. His debut album will come out in 2018.
The Lifebuoys are a vibrant 3 piece roots band made up of Galway brother/sister duo Eoin and Emily Donoghue, and Cork native Cónan Kilcoyne. Formed in 2012, the band have toured internationally, and most recently as part of a national tour with Decadent Theatre Company as part of the highly acclaimed show, ‘Vernon God Little’. Fans of americana, folk and blues are sure to enjoy the mandolin, double bass and guitar trio’s fun, lively and harmony-laden set in their debut performance as part of the Strings Festival.
Hailing from Ballinasloe, Rachel recently graduated with a Masters in Opera at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where she studied under the tutelage of the legendary Suzanne Murphy. No stranger to competitive success, she has won numerous competitions for Opera. Fresh from her recent UK stage performances as ‘Iris’ in Handel’s ‘Semele’ and ‘Anna Maurrant’ in Kurt Weill’s ‘Street Scene’, Rachel returns for another triumphant concert in the venue where she raised the roof this time last year.
Born in Paris, Floriane Blancke is a harpist, fiddler, pianist and vocalist. She studied classical music for 10 years in the conservatoire of Bordeaux before spending a few years studying Jazz and World music in the C.I.A.M Jazz School. After moving to Ireland to pursue a career in traditional music, Floriane has performed with luminaries such as Sharon Shannon, Dermot Byrne, Shane McGowan of the Pogues, and the world renowned vocalist Patti Smith. She will be performing with Brendan O’Regan as part of the Strings Festival.
Aengus Hackett is a musician, composer, facilitator and teacher from Galway, Ireland. He performs and writes in many diverse genres of music, such as jazz, folk, post-rock and electronica. A seasoned performer, he brings a wealth of musical experience to his work as an educator and facilitator in the area of arts and disability. As part of the Strings Festival line-up, he will be taking part in a ‘Fireside Session’, with a jazz trio performance.