St Columb’s Hall Concerto Award

The St Columb’s Hall Concerto Award was created by Le Foyer des Artistes in partnership with the St Columb’s Hall Trust to establish the single largest annual classical music bursary in Ireland, and one of the largest in Europe, in celebration of St Columba’s Day.

Three soloists, selected from 12 by the jury, will perform in The Concerto Award Finalists’ Recital on 4 February 2023 for the opportunity to perform a concerto with Le Foyer des Artistes on 9 June, 2023.

St Columb’s Hall is an iconic building with a music tradition spanning 135 years and the St Columb’s Hall Concerto Award has been founded to re-establish the Hall as an epicentre for music excellence in Ireland. Open to talented instrumentalists from around the world, this is an unique opportunity for an emerging soloist with the potential for an international career in music.

The Prize

The St Columb’s Hall Concerto Award will be one of the largest classical music awards in Ireland and one of the biggest in Europe. It will be part of a total prize fund of £22,000.

St Columb’s Hall Concerto Award – £14,000

Second Prize – £4,000

Third Prize – £2,000

Audience Prize (by public vote) – £2,000 

Instrument Categories

Piano

Strings

Woodwind

Brass

Percussion

Harp

The Sculpture Commission

Our objective was to commission a piece of art which would best celebrate the heritage of St Columba and the spirit of cultural pilgrimage in ancient Celtic christianity, a source of infinite inspiration in art and music.

Stone is a material which embodies the perpetual movement of people throughout the ages, from medieval pilgrims to present day travellers, crossing lands and seas to found new cultural landscapes and to connect with new peoples.

For this reason, we were delighted to offer the St Columbs Hall Concerto Award commission to the young Irish artist, Luke Alen-Buckley. He is passionate about the genealogy of rocks and the stories they tell us from billions of years of existence.

Luke’s previous works include Talisman, a series of ancient Irish stones, carved and polished to a jewel-like finish which peer deep into the souls of our ancestors yet evoke feelings of transience and rebirth. He has exhibited throughout Europe and is currently overseeing exhibitions of his work in London and Monaco.

With special permission from the National Trust for Scotland and Colin MacDougall, we have been gifted an ancient stone from the monastic island of Iona which Luke will sculpt,  together with Irish blue limestone, to distil the symbolism of St Columbas own journey from Derry to Iona and the traditions of ancient Celtic culture which bind these two lands.

This unique work of art will be unveiled at a reception in the Balcony Bar just after the début concert of Le Foyer des Artistes on 7 December 2022. Don’t miss the occasion to share with us something very special.

The Jury

We are proud to announce the panel of distinguished musicians who will preside over the first ever St Columb’s Hall Concerto Award. They need no introduction, and their combined expertise will ensure that this major bursary and professional engagement opportunity will be awarded to a consummate young musician, ready for the challenge of an international music career in the 21st century.

Jury Chair
Director Royal Irish Academy of Music, Vice-President of the European Association of Conservatoires
Deborah Kelleher
Artistic Director, Le Foyer des Artistes
Darren Hargan
Former Chief Music & Arts Producer, BBC Northern Ireland
David Byers
Concert Pianist
Michael McHale
Professor of Violin, Shanghai Conservatory of Music
Weimin Zheng

Selection process:

  • 12 successful soloists will be preselected and announced in November 2022. They will be invited to St Columb’s Hall in Derry City, 2-3 February 2023, to present a 30 minute recital from a prepared 45 minute programme of their own choice for an international jury.
  • 3 applicants will be chosen by the jury to perform a 30 minute recital, from the same prepared 45 minute programme, in The Concerto Prize: The Finalist’s Recital, a public concert at St Columb’s Hall on 4 February 2023 at 7.30pm. Prize winners will be announced after the performance on 4 February 2023.
  • The St Columb’s Hall Concerto Award 2023 winner will return to the Hall on 9 June 2023 to play their concerto with Le Foyer des Artistes.

Application requirements

All candidates should submit a video, performing a concerto of their choice* (with orchestra or piano accompaniment), together with their CV, proof of birthdate, a recent photo and a letter of recommendation from a respected professional.

*For classical orchestra, up to and including 3 trombones 

Eligibility

Open to all musicians of any nationality

Age Limit

The age limit is set to a maximum of 28 years old on 9 June 2023 

Official Accompanist

A professional accompanist will be available, but soloists may bring their own and should indicate this on their application. Accommodation is not provided for accompanists. 

Application Deadline (online): 30 September 2022

Late applications will not be accepted 

Semifinals: (live rounds)

2-3 February 2023, St Columb’s Hall, Derry City.

Final (Finalist’s Recital - public performance):

4 February 2023, St Columb’s Hall, Derry City

Tickets for public attendance of the Recital can be booked here.

Travel and accommodation

Le Foyer des Artistes will provide 5 nights accommodation for each of the twelve soloists. All other costs are the responsibility of the artists.

Application Form

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You can download the competition rules here
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