The St Columb’s Hall Concerto Award was founded by Darren Hargan in partnership with YAMAHA Music Europe and the St Columb’s Hall Trust to establish one of the most significant awards for musicians in Ireland, and one of the most important concerto performance opportunities 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 2024 for the opportunity to perform a concerto with Le Foyer des Artistes on 9 June, 2024.
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 celebrate the new chapter of live music which we have opened at the Hall. Open to talented instrumentalists from around the world, this is an unique opportunity for an emerging soloist on the path to an international career in music.
The St Columb’s Hall Concerto Award is one of the most significant music awards and concert performance opportunities in Ireland.
St Columb’s Hall Concerto Award – £5,000
Challenge Curve Audience Prize (by audience vote) – £1,000
The St Columb’s Hall Concerto Award is a sculpture, commissioned by Le Foyer des Artistes and the St Columb’s Hall Trust, as an embodiment of the Columba journey from Derry to Iona. It’s a celebration of the heritage of St Columba and the legacy of cultural pilgrimage in ancient Celtic culture, 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 Columb’s 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, Le Foyer des Artistes was gifted an ancient stone from the monastic island of Iona for Luke to sculpt, together with Irish blue limestone, to distil the symbolism of St Columba’s own journey from Derry to Iona and the traditions of ancient Celtic culture which bind these two lands.
We are proud to announce the panel of distinguished musicians who will preside over the 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.
Artistic Director, Le Foyer des Artistes
- 12 successful soloists will be preselected and announced in November 2023. They will be invited to St Columb’s Hall in Derry, 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 Finalists’ Recital, a public concert at St Columb’s Hall on 4 February 2024 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 2024 to play with Le Foyer des Artistes.
All candidates should submit a video recording of a 40 minute recital of their choice, from memory, together with their CV, proof of birthdate, a recent photo and a letter of recommendation from a respected professional.
Open to all musicians of any nationality
The age limit is set to a maximum of 25 years old on 9 June 2024
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 October 2023
Late applications will not be accepted
Semifinals: (live rounds)
2-3 February 2024, St Columb’s Hall, Derry City.
Final (Finalist’s Recital - public performance):
4 February 2024, 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 arrange accommodation for each of the twelve soloists. All other costs are the responsibility of the artists.
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