Choral Scholars of University College Dublin, Solstice Ensemble & Desmond Earley

Biography Choral Scholars of University College Dublin, Solstice Ensemble & Desmond Earley

Choral Scholars of University College Dublin, Solstice Ensemble & Desmond Earley

University College Dublin Choral Scholars
The Choral Scholars is an internationally acclaimed chamber choir of gifted student singers led by founding Artistic Director, Dr Desmond Earley, based at University College Dublin School of Music. Scholars come from various academic disciplines and commit to an intensive programme of choral study. Throughout each semester they receive intense vocal coaching, language instruction, and performance-practice studies. Since its formation in 1999, the choir has maintained strong links with its family of over two hundred alumni who often return to perform with the ensemble on the national and international concert stage.

With a classical focus, and an inspiration found in the music and literature of Ireland, the ensemble’s repertoire ranges from contemporary choral music to the re-imagining of Irish traditional song. What differentiates the Choral Scholars from other choirs is a strong national identity, a commitment to artistic excellence, an ambitious vision, a joyful camaraderie and a dynamic, youthful sound.

The choir frequently performs with Ireland’s leading instrumentalists and orchestras, and has in recent years collaborated with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the European Union Chamber Orchestra. In touring the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, the group has brought University College Dublin and its music to an international audience. The choir regularly broadcasts on television and radio. Notable recent appearances include Centenary (RTÉ), for which the ensemble provided the choral soundtrack. Concerts with Hans Zimmer and Ennio Morricone are among their recent prestigious collaborations.

The performance and commissioning of works by living composers is a hallmark of this ensemble. New compositions have been written for the group by Ivo Antognini, Eoghan Desmond, Desmond Earley, Colin Mawby, Michael McGlynn, Timothy Stephens, and Bill Whelan.

In December 2015 the group released their debut international album on Signum Records, which has been well received by audiences and critics alike in the UK, USA and Germany. The disc, titled Invisible Stars, is a collection of traditional and contemporary choral music from Ireland and Scotland and features arrangements and new compositions by some of Ireland’s most celebrated composers.

Desmond Earley
Described by the Irish Times as ‘enterprising and wide-ranging’, Desmond Earley has established a reputation as one of Ireland’s foremost choral directors and early keyboard specialists. A College Lecturer in Performance Studies and Artistic Director of the UCD ‘Ad Astra’ Academy, Earley is the founding Artistic Director of the Choral Scholars of University College Dublin. He holds a DMus Performance degree on the harpsichord from the Royal Irish Academy of Music, having studied previously at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst, Wien, at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, and at University College Dublin.

A keen early music expert, he is the founding director of The Earley Musicke Ensemble, a group that specialises in the performance of lesser-known works by Baroque composers. As a respected consort instrumentalist and director, Desmond has played with many of the world’s finest ensembles including the Irish Baroque Orchestra, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Ensemble eX, the European Union Chamber Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra. Konrad Junghänel, Christopher Hogwood, Roy Goodman, Sir James Galway and Bernadette Greevy are among the world-class musicians with whom Desmond has collaborated.

As a celebrated composer and arranger, Earley has published works with Music Sales (UK), Hal Leonard Corporation (USA), Alliance Music (USA) and with Seolta Music (Irl) for whom he is editor of the ‘College Choral Series’. In recent years he has worked on projects for The Gate Theatre, orchestral arrangements for the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and choral arrangements for the London-based professional choir, Tenebrae (Nigel Short), which were debuted at the 2013 St Riquier Festival in France.

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