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Adjudicators 2017

Competition Adjudicator(s)
Piano Edward Holly
Solo Singing TBC
Primary School Choirs Shane Brennan
Post Primary/Youth Choirs Shane Brennan
Adult Choirs Robert Dean & Russell Smythe
Barbershop Cherry Hartshorn
Young Opera Voice Robert Dean & Russell Smythe

Robert Dean              BA ARCM

Robert Dean enjoyed a ten year professional singing career with the major UK companies and now divides his time between teaching singing, choral directing and conducting opera in the UK and abroad. He regularly accompanies distinguished singers in recital and he is a Professor of Singing at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama as well as Artistic Director of Oxford Orpheus. In addition he gives choral workshops around the country encouraging healthy use of the singing voice. His future plans include conducting Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda and John Eustacio’s Filumena in Canada as well as choral workshops in Venice and Oxford.

Russell Smythe          FRCM AGSM    Voice

Russell Smythe retired from opera in 2013 after nearly 40 years on the professional stage. He studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the London Opera Centre, going on to perform at the Hamburg Staatsoper, the Frankfurt Opera, the Paris Opéra, the Vienna Volksoper and Staatsoper, La Monnaie, Opéra de Lyon, as well as in most of the main houses in Europe, under the batons of Colin Davis, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Silvio Varviso, Antonio Pappano, Harry Christophers, René Jacobs, Bernard Haitink, Mark Minkowski, John Eliot Gardiner and Seiji Ozawa amongst others. Guest appearances further afield have taken him to Japan and North America. In Britain, he performed with The Royal Opera, English National Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera North and Welsh National Opera. His repertoire included roles such as Pelléas, Papageno, Figaro (Barbiere di Siviglia), Malatesta, Ping (Turandot), Billy Budd, Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), Tarquinius, Guglielmo, Onegin, Don Giovanni, Oreste (Iphigénie en Tauride), Balstrode, Giorgio Germont and Peter (Hansel and Gretel). Other engagements included Onegin and Mr Redburn (Billy Budd) with Israeli Opera; Fernando in La Gazza Ladra(Rossini) at Garsington, which he later recorded for the Chandos Opera in English series; The Barber in Strauss’s opera Die Schweigsame Frau, and the Musiklehrer (Ariadne) also at Garsington. For the Vlaamse Opera, Arbace (Idomeneo), Starek (Jenufa) and Hastings in Giorgio Battistelli’s new opera based on Shakespeare’s Richard III. For the Buxton Festival he sang Tasso (Torquato Tasso/Donizetti), Manoah (Samson/Handel), and Lothario (Mignon/Thomas).
Concert performances have included Britten’s War Requiem, the last of these took place in Catania and Palermo, Sicily. Also,Messiah in Paris and The Creation in Ghent and Antwerp, both under Marc Minkowski. With the same conductor, he recorded two roles in operas by Rameau — Thésée (Hippolyte et Aricie) and Teucer (Dardanus) — for Deutsche Grammophon. Other concerts included Elijah and Joseph (L’Enfance du Christ/Berlioz) both with the Hallé Orchestra, and Shishkov (From the House of the Dead) with Sir Andrew Davies/BBC Symphony Orchestra in a Janacek series at the Barbican. He also recorded the role of Mr Redburn (Billy Budd) with the Hallé, conducted by Kent Nagano.

Russell Smythe performed many song recitals both on the concert platform and for the BBC with such accompanists as Geoffrey Parsons, Graham Johnson and Roger Vignoles.

He lectures and teaches at the Royal College of Music, London, and also teaches choral scholars at King’s College, Cambridge. He has given masterclasses and workshops in Belfast, York University, Denmark (Musik Dramatisk Teater) and Spain (La Caixa). In summer 2012, he took workshops in Québec, Canada (Le Domaine Forget) and, for the last seven years, he has been a tutor with the Cratoule summer workshops in the South of France. This year he will be teaching at the Oxenfoord International Summer School near Edinburgh. He has a busy private studio with students who are currently singing on the most prestigious opera and concert stages around the world.

Shane Brennan           B.Mus  MA LTCL

Shane Brennan has extensive Choral experience, both as singer and conductor, including a period as Organ Scholar with the world-renowned choir at Westminster Cathedral London.

Director of the Schola Cantorum St Finians Mullingar 1984-2003, he has adjudicated for many years at Irish Choral Festivals, the AIMS Festival, the Navan Festival and at the Cork Choral Festival, where he also represented Ireland as a member of the International Jury.

A regular organ recitalist in Ireland, Shane also plays at prestigious venues in Russia, Sweden, Lithuania and the UK.

In 2013 he performed Bach’s monumental Clavier-Übung III at St. Michael’s Dun Laoghaire, as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of the International Recital Series.

Edward Holly

Widely regarded as one of Ireland’s most versatile musicians and a conductor of distinction, Edward Holly was the first Irish pianist to graduate from Trinity College Dublin in 1992 with an honours Bachelor in Music Performance, was a gold medallist of the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, and in 1997 received an honours Masters’ Degree in Music Performance from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. He holds a Masters in Philosophy in Music and Media Technologies from Trinity College Dublin.

As a solo classical pianist Edward has been a piano finalist in the Lombard and Ulster Music Foundation Award and has achieved numerous first prizes for repertoire playing in Feis Ceoil and Feis Mhaitiú.

Edward has performed in all of Ireland’s major recital venues as well as broadcasting on RTÉ Television and RTÉ Radio. He has given recitals in the RachmaninovHall of the Moscow Conservatory and Moscow State University, Russia. His career as a solo pianist has also taken him to Italy, America and England.

Today, Edward is much in demand for his accompanying, teaching and adjudication skills. He is an official accompanist for Feis Ceoil and Arklow Music Festival. He is also Piano Accompanist for Undergraduate and Post Graduate Performance students at DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama where he is Lecturer in Keyboard at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama. He also lectures in Music Composition and Performance at Trinity College Dublin.

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