Ensemble Skills Summer Course

GMR’s Apprentice Programme, now in its 15th year, offers frequent mentoring sessions with ConTempo Quartet and performing opportunities to emerging, talented performing groups. GMR also partners with Music for Galway to deliver additional workshops to the Apprentice Ensembles with visiting national and international artists as part of their International Concert Season.

Following a competitive audition process, three talented groups were chosen to participate in the 2019/20 Apprentice Ensemble programme.

Our 2019/20 Apprentice Ensembles

Zephyr Clarinet Trio

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Zephyr Clarinet Trio

Dina Ryan, James Middleton, and Marcella Barz formed the Zephyr Clarinet Trio at the Technological University of Dublin while studying with Dr Paul Roe. All three members are multi-clarinettists and have arranged a variety of music for clarinet trio. Originally from Kamloops, Canada, Marcella moved to Ireland to specialize on the bass clarinet and is now working on her Doctor of Music at TU Dublin. Dina and James, both from Dublin, graduated from the Bachelor of Music Performance degree in 2019 at TU Dublin. James is a member of the Army No. 1 band and Dina plays with a wide range of ensembles from orchestras to chamber groups. The Zephyr Clarinet Trio is excited to be one of the Apprentice Ensembles of the Galway Residency in 2019–2020. They will be working on a variety of repertoire from Purcell to present day, including a contemporary work by Irish composer Jane O’Leary.

RFM Trio

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RFM Trio

Founded in October 2018, the RFM Trio is comprised of three good friends who love making music with one another: Rachel Kelly, age 9, on violin; Fionna McKree, age 9, on violin; and Mark Kelly, age 7, on violoncello. While they hail from different parts of Galway, the Trio members travel several times a week to Athenry Music School for individual lessons and orchestra rehearsals. After initially meeting in the school’s Creation Orchestra in September 2018 and discovering they shared an affinity for climbing old stone walls, Vivaldi, hot chocolate, and playing their respective instruments “really, really fast,” the RFM Trio members decided they needed more play time and began to meet regularly under the mentorship of director Katharine Mac Mághnuis. The Trio has performed at various concerts and community events around Galway, including the Three Rings Festival in Tuam; the annual collaborative Athenry Music School and Coole Music ‘Spring into Music’ concert in Loughrea; and the BiaLover Food Festival in Athenry. Although they have not been playing long, the members are enchanted and intrigued by the various sounds their instruments can produce alone and together as an ensemble. The RFM Trio is thrilled to be selected as a 2019-2020 Apprentice Ensemble by the Galway Music Residency and is looking forward to exploring further the world of chamber music—together.

Burren Con Brio

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Burren Con Brio

Burren Con Brio is made up of three siblings, Shónagh, Mia & Euan who live in the Burren, Co. Clare. The eldest, Shónagh, plays violin and is entering Leaving Cert year. Shónagh loves music and singing, is involved in the Symphonic Waves orchestra project for Galway 2020 and is a regular helper with younger orchestras in Coole music. 15 year old Mia plays viola and is in transition year. She is very artistic, and enjoys singing with her sister. She too is beginning to help out with younger orchestras this year. Euan, the youngest in the trio, is 12 years old and plays the cello. He loves reading, science and playing outside and is also a member of the Voldemort String Quartet. The trio have been studying with Coole Music in Gort since they were each 5 years old and are all members of Coole Music’s Sonic Strings & Youth Orchestra. They enjoy arranging fun pieces to play together and though they have not had much experience playing formally together, they have played for a few weddings and other functions.

How to Apply

Applications for the 2021/22 Apprentice Ensemble Programme will open soon.

Please see the Application Details and application form for details. 

Please note: this is subject to change. For further details contact info@thegalwaymusicresidency.ie.

Previous Apprentice Ensembles

2018/19: Euterpe Wind Quintet - Danielle Rogan (flute), María Rojas (oboe), Alaa Jahshan (clarinet), Laura Slanc (bassoon), Niamh Huethorst (French horn); Incantato String Quartet - Inana Garis (first violin), Anna McKenna (second violin), Dionne Tims (viola), Peadar O'Loinsigh (cello); Voldemort String Quartet - Rex Roddy (first violin), Diarmuid Hancock (second violin), Sean Hancock (viola), Euan Farrell (cello); Dina Ryan & Aoife Moran (Clarinet and Piano duo)

2017/18: The Amoroso String Quartet, Marieclaire Brodie (violin), Renee Neeson (violin), Tara McCarthy (viola), Gary Doherty (cello); Ensemble Dagda and Cello and Piano Duo Davide Forti and Francesca de Nardi.

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 completed 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).

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"This was an incredible opportunity and experience for both myself and my duo partner! We learned so much and had a wonderful time too! We cannot thank TGMR enough for the opportunity ... It is one of the best mentoring opportunities for emerging chamber ensembles in Ireland today!"

- 2015/16 Apprentice Ensemble participant

Mentoring Programmes

As well as mentoring our Apprentice Ensembles, ConTempo Quartet provides workshops to local amateur string players and orchestras, including Galway Youth Orchestra, Galway Adult Strings and the University of Galway Concert Orchestra.

A recent addition to this list is the new youth orchestra for the West of Ireland, Symphonic Waves. Created for orchestral players aged between 13 and 23 from the West, this orchestra offers members valuable opportunities to take part in residential rehearsals, masterclasses, chamber groups with professional musicians, and performances. Managed by Music Generation Galway County and Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board, this initiative also includes Symphonic Schools – a partnership project resourcing two primary schools in the county with instruments and musician expertise, so they can begin their own orchestral journey. GMR and ConTempo Quartet continue to aid the growth and development of Symphonic Waves through a host of mentoring activities.

"A youth orchestra for the Western region is a project we have been waiting for for many years. We are so proud and happy that it is finally happening ... it was wonderful to see participants coming from all over the West of Ireland to take part. We’re delighted to be working with Symphonic Waves.”

– Ingrid Nicola of ConTempo Quartet

Schools & 3rd Level Programmes


GMR presents free educational workshops with ConTempo Quartet to primary school children from Galway city and county.


GMR runs workshops for Junior and Leaving Certificate students and staff on topics related to the curricula. If you or your school is interested in attending a workshop, please contact us at info@thegalwaymusicresidency.ie or 091-586706.


GMR has worked, and been supported by, ATU (formerly GMIT) regularly since its earliest beginnings. GMR will present ConTempo Quartet in collaborative workshops, projects and performances with staff and students at ATU's Centre for Creative Arts and Media.

University of Galway

University of Galway has supported GMR since its inception and a beautiful partnership has developed between the two organisations in the intervening years. In 2017, University of Galway officially became an Education Partner to GMR under a five-year agreement. Learn more about this partnership below. 

"[ConTempo's] visit was a real treat and a fabulous opportunity for my students to experience such delightful and high-class musicians in such an intimate setting.

The programme they played and the information they gave the students will benefit them greatly and will have a lasting effect on them."

- Hilary Vesey, Coláiste Chroí Mhuire, Spiddal

Community Programmes


ConTempo Quartet’s participation is one of the headline events for Galway City Culture Night with an annual lunchtime event in partnership with University of Galway and other performances throughout the city.


GMR works with local libraries on various education programmes, most recently a book club project for communities who wanted to explore the written word in a new way. This Lifelong Learning Book Club looked at text with the added dimension of relating it to musical performance which is facilitated by ConTempo Quartet. This project is currently under development for expansion in the coming years.


Connecting with ConTempo is our ‘at-home’ series aimed at keeping in touch with our audiences by delivering beautiful music and musical insight. You can view all editions of this initiative via our YouTube channel.


Creative Responses is the community outreach branch of our Connecting with ConTempo initiative, which invites local artists and writers to explore a deep connection to music and ConTempo String Quartet within their own art form. The results so far have been exquisite with contributions from artists and writers throughout Galway! You can view all editions of this initiative via our YouTube channel

"It is wonderful to receive tuition from the ConTempo Quartet as part of our orchestral season. A session with them is a masterclass in musicianship!" 

- University of Galway Chamber Orchestra member

University of Galway Partnership

University of Galway has supported GMR since its inception and a beautiful partnership has developed between the two organisations in the intervening years. In 2017, University of Galway officially became an Education Partner to GMR under a five-year agreement. Through this partnership, GMR works with staff and students on a variety of programmes.

BA in Music

In September 2018, University of Galway had its first intake of students on the newly formed BA with Music. Since then, GMR has been delighted to work with the head of school, Dr Aidan Thomson, devising workshops built around live performance in the classroom as ConTempo Quartet bring students' scores to life. GMR also offers placements to students of the BA to gain valuable experience in event management, social media management, programming, archiving and more.

MA in Writing

GMR with ConTempo Quartet is working with Dr John Kenny and the MA in Writing students at University of Galway. Workshops with the Quartet (2 per semester) are being integrated into the course, exposing students to another contemporary art form, to inspire their study and writing.


Working with conductor Matthew Berrill, ConTempo Quartet provide mentoring to the University of Galway Concert Orchestra.

MSc in Information Systems Management

GMR is committed to inter-departmental work. The website you are currently enjoying is the result of a partnership with students from the MSc in Information Systems Management on an exciting venture. Thank you Rose, Marvin, Hemant, Lakhya and Subhodeep!

Alumni Ensemble 

GMR also enjoys collaboration with the University of Galway Alumni Ensemble on performances and recordings.

These sessions have been a major highlight of the year for most/all of the class – even those for whom no work has emanated directly from the workshops speak avidly of the general effect it has all had on the way they think about composition. 

- Dr. John Kenny, Head of MA in Creative Writing at University of Galway