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The Venue


RDS Music Bursary

At €15,000 the RDS Music Bursary is one of the largest single bursaries on offer to a young musician in Europe. Open to vocalists and instrumentalists, the Bursary assists young professional musicians to develop their career through further study at home or abroad or for the purchase of a musical instrument. In addition to the €15,000 Bursary, the winner also receives a professional performance engagement with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and an additional engagement in London with Irish Heritage – a voluntary arts organisation established in 1974 to promote young Irish classical musicians and composers in Great Britain.

The goal of the RDS Arts work programme is to provide a platform that supports the transition from student to emerging artist; encouraging the pursuit of a career in visual arts, crafts or music. Awarded on an annual basis since 2003, the RDS Music Bursary is open to winners of selected senior competitions in the ESB Feis Ceoil who are attending or have completed a third level music degree or are studying at  similar level with a recognised teacher in Ireland or abroad.The qualifying Feis Ceoil competitions are: the Morris Grant Bursary (Piano), Gervase Elwes Cup (Vocal), Mc Cullough Cup (Woodwind), Senior Brass Recital (Brass) and the Aileen Gore Cup (Strings).

Rules of Entry for RDS Music Bursary

The 2018 RDS Music Bursary interviews and presentation took place in the RDS on April 5, 2018. The judging panel was chaired by John O'Kane, RTÉ Music & Arts Strategy Executive. The other members of the 2018 panel are as follows: Edith Forrest (Feis Ceoil representative), Philip Dodd (RDS representative), Madeleine Staunton (RTÉ National Symphony representative) and Seámus Crimmins (former music advisor to the Arts Council of Ireland).

The 2018 RDS Music Bursary winner is Killian White, an 18 year old cellist from Rathfarnham in Dublin. Killian, who is currently studying in Dublin’s Royal Irish Academy of Music with Christopher Marwood, will use the prize to help fund his studies in the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin with Frans Helmerson. He alo plans to attend masterclasses in London’s Prussia Cove with Steven Isserlis. Killian qualified for the Bursary by winning the Aileen Gore Cup in the 2018 ESB Feis Ceoil. 

Thanks to the generous support of Tom and Ann Jago, the Bursary now has a second award of €5,000, called the RDS Jago Award. The 2018 recipient is clarinet player and compser Christopher Moriarty. Christopher completed his degree in the Royal Irish Academy of Music with John Finucane and is planning to undertake a Masters in Stockholm with Emil Jonason as well as continuing with compositional studies with the world famous composer Karin Rehnqvist. A professional engagement opportunity also comes with this prize. Christopher qualified for the RDS Bursary Interview by winning the McCullough Cup in the 2018 ESB Feis Ceoil.

Former winners of the RDS Music Bursary have the chance to be selected annually for a new performance award which has been created thanks to the support of Michael and Loret O'Brien. The RDS Collins Memorial Performance Award is in association with the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival (formerly Lismore Opera Festival). A previous RDS Music Bursary Winner will be selected annually by the Artistic Director of the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival and will be given a performance opportunity at the Festival which takes place in June annually in Lismore, Co. Waterford. The 2018 recepient is pianist Máire Carroll who won the RDS Music Bursary in 2012.


Pictured above: Philip Dodd, Edith Forrest, John O'Kane, Christopher Moriarty (RDS Jago Award Winner 2018), Bernie Brennan (RDS President), Killian White (RDS Music Bursary Award Winner 2018), Madeleine Staunton and Seamus Crimmins.


Previous RDS Music Bursary winners

For further information please contact:

Dara O'Leary
RDS Arts Programme Manager
Dublin 4
Tel: +353 (0) 1 240 7255
Email: arts@rds.ie

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