Dublin and Wicklow Musicians Announced as Blackwater Valley Opera Festival Bursary Award Winners for 2023

by Alex Greaney
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Alex Greaney

Young musicians and performers, violinist Phoebe White from Rathfarnham, Dublin and Fionn Ó hAlmhain, a German-born bass who grew up in Newtownmountkennedy and went to school in Bray, have been named as this year’s BVOF Bursary Award winners. 

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival established the bursary award in 2020 with the support of a private donor. The winners are selected by the festival’s Artistic Director and Co-Founder, Dieter Kaegi, who says “the programme is in keeping with our mission to discover and support exceptional talent, helping to define a new future for Irish artists that have the potential to develop successful solo careers.”

White and Ó hAlmhain will each receive an award of €5,000 to help further their musical careers and performing ability. They will also act as ambassadors for the festival, and will perform at a special recital as part of Blackwater Valley Opera Festival in 2024.

Born in Dublin in 1997, Phoebe White has been playing violin since the age of three. In her teens, she studied with Fionnuala Hunt at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. She earned her Bachelor of Music Performance in 2019.

In recent years Phoebe has established herself as one of Ireland’s rising stars in classical music. She has been awarded the RDS Music Bursary, the RDS Collins Memorial Award, and the Aileen Gore Cup at the Feis Ceoil. Previous awards include the National Concert Hall Young Musicians’ Award, the Dublin Philharmonic Award, the Maura Dowdall Award, and the Flax Trust Bursary.

Phoebe has been concertmaster of the Symphony Orchestra of the Encuentro Santander, the Esker Festival Orchestra, and the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland. Her live recording of the Elgar Violin Concerto with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and Gavin Maloney will be broadcast on RTÉ Lyric FM in July.

Fionn Ó hAlmhain is a German-born bass who grew up in Ireland and is now based in London. He completed a BMus at the TU Dublin Conservatoire and studied singing with Dr. Robert Alderson. Since then, he has performed across Ireland and the UK, including work with Irish National Opera, Opera Collective Ireland, the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival, the Salford Choral Society and Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra.

Fionn is now undertaking an MA at the Royal Academy of Music and is a recipient of the Elton John Scholarship. He is an alumnus of the Glyndebourne Academy where he was nominated for the Gus Christie Award.

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