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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 aims to assist a young professional musician develop their career through further study at home or abroad or for the purchase of a musical instrument.

The 2017 RDS Music Bursary winner was Soprano Sarah Brady from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. A recipient of a first class honours degree in Vocal Performance at The Royal Academy of Music with Mary Brennan. Sarah qualified for the Bursary by winning the Gervase Elwes Cup in the 2017 ESB Feis Ceoil. Sarah is pictured above with 2017 RDS Music Bursary Judging Panel (L-R : Annette Cleary, Madeleine Staunton, Philip Dodd, Sarah Brady, John O’Kane and Seamus Crimmins).

Miriam Kaczor, a Flautist from Dublin and also a first class honours recipient from The Royal Academy of Music was awarded the first RDS Jago Award. Miriam qualified for the Bursary Interviewes by winning the Mc Cullough Cup in the 2017 ESB Feis Ceoil.

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 in 2017 were: the Morris Grant Bursary (Piano), Gervase Elwes Cup (Vocal), Mc Cullough Cup (Woodwind), Senior Brass Recital (Brass) and the Aileen Gore Cup (Strings).

In 2017, the judging panel was chaired by RTÉ's John O'Kane. The other members of the panel were: Seamus Crimmins, Madeleine Staunton, Annette Cleary and Philip Dodd. 

In addition to the €15,000 Bursary, the winner also receives a solo engagement with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra during the 2017/18 season and an additional engagement with Irish Heritage – a voluntary arts organisation established in London in 1974 to promote young Irish classical musicians and composers in Great Britain.

Thanks to the generous support of Tom and Ann Jago, 2017 saw the introduction of the RDS Jago Award, a second award of €5,000 awarded by the judging panel. The winner of this new award was offered either a professional performance opportunity with one of RTÉ's performing groups or a studio recital broadcast opportunity with RTÉ lyric fm.

Former winners of the RDS Music Bursary have the chance to be selected for a new Performance Award which has been created thanks to the support of Michael and Loret O'Brien. The RDS Collins Memorial Performance is in association with the Lismore Opera Festival. A previous RDS Music Bursary Winner will be selected annually by the Artistic Director of Lismore Opera each year, and will be given a performance opportunity at the Lismore Opera Festival which takes place in June in Lismore, Co. Waterford. The first recipient was violinist Patrick Rafter (2015 RDS Music Bursary winner) who gave a recital in St. Carthage's Cathedral on Sunday, June 4 in Lismore during the Festival.


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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