Vesselina Kasarova

Vesselina Kasarova was born in Stara Zagora (Bulgaria) and started playing the piano at the age of four. After completing her concert diploma, she studied singing with Ressa Koleva at the Sofia Music Academy and performed major roles at the national opera there as a student.

After completing her studies in 1989, a two-year permanent contract led her to the Zürich Opera House, where she quickly became a crowd favourite and was hailed as a great discovery by international experts. In the same year, she also won first prize at the German singing competition “New Voices” in Gütersloh.

In the Mozart year 1991, Vesselina Kasarova made her debut at the Salzburg Festival with two matinées in the Mozarteum (Betulia liberata KV 118) and as Annio in the revival of La Clemenza di Tito, directed by Sir Colin Davis. Other roles at the Salzburg Festival were Tancredi, Ombra felice, Zerlina, Farnace, Sesto and Marguerite (La damnation de Faust). In the autumn of the same year, Vesselina Kasarova gave her highly acclaimed debut at the Vienna State Opera as Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia) under Donald Runnicles.

With roles by Mozart (Cherubino, Idamante, Sesto, Dorabella) and Rossini (Rosina, Tancredi, Isabella, Angelina) as well as Romeo (I Capuleti ei Montecchi), Giovanna Seymour (Anna Bolena), Charlotte (Werther) and others, she also appeared at Le Grand Théâtre de Genève, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, ​​Zürich Opera House, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bavarian State Opera Munich, Opéra National de Paris (Bastille, Garnier), Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Vienna State Opera in Amsterdam as well as at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro and worked with conductors such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Sir Colin Davis, Pinchas Steinberg, Donald Runnicles, Seji Ozawa, Semyon Bychkov, Daniel Barenboim, Riccardo Muti, Marcello Viotti, Alberto Zedda, Franz Welser-Möst, Sir Roger Norrington, Eve Queler, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Ivor Bolton and Friedrich Haider.

Recitals and concerts have taken Vesselina Kasarova to Munich, Berlin, Rome, Paris, Vienna, Dresden, the Scala in Milan, Wigmore Hall London, Carnegie Hall New York, Schubertiade Feldkirch and the Festival de la Musique Montreux-Vevey.

Vesselina Kasarova has recorded numerous CDs for RCA Red Seal, which have received multiple awards.

She has been a Swiss citizen since 1997 and lives in Zürich.

- Picture David Creedon / Anzenberger
Associate Pianist

Gary Beecher

Book Event

Vesselina Kosorova Workshop, St Columb's Hall, 10 March 2023 Free Entrance

Don’t miss the chance to see Vesselina Kasarova, one of the greatest mezzo-sopranos of our age, who has sung on every major stage in the world, as she shares her vast experience and technical insight with the emerging young stars of tomorrow.

Available Tickets: Unlimited
The Vesselina Kosorova Workshop, St Columb's Hall, 10 March 2023 ticket is sold out. You can try another ticket or another date.
Vesselina Kosorova Workshop, St Columb's Hall, 11 March 2023 Free Entrance

Don’t miss the chance to see Vesselina Kasarova, one of the greatest mezzo-sopranos of our age, who has sung on every major stage in the world, as she shares her vast experience and technical insight with the emerging young stars of tomorrow.

Available Tickets: Unlimited
The Vesselina Kosorova Workshop, St Columb's Hall, 11 March 2023 ticket is sold out. You can try another ticket or another date.

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- Picture David Creedon / Anzenberger
Associate Pianist
Gary Beecher

We are pleased to announce Gary Beecher as Associate Artist with Le Foyer des Artistes and as official pianist for The Concerto Competition, Finalists’ Recital. One of Ireland’s most accomplished young pianists, Gary Beecher is from Cork and leads an extremely varied career as a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist.

He has performed as concert soloist with RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and RTÉ Concert Orchestra. He has also appeared as soloist at the National Concert Hall and RDS in Dublin, University Concert Hall, Limerick, Barbican Centre and Wigmore Hall in London.

In 2019, Gary had a string of success at international competitions, winning the Nadia and Lili Boulanger International Voice-Piano Competition in Paris and the Rudolf Jansen Pianist Prize at the 53rd International Vocal Competition Lied Duo in ‘S-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. In the same year he also won 2nd Pianist Prize at the prestigious International Helmut Deutsch Lied Competition in Vienna.

Gary was also a Fellow and staff accompanist at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London where he completed his Master Degree, mentored by Julius Drake and Charles Owen. He is an alumnus of Cork School of Music, where he studied with Susana and Jan Čáp, Michael McHale and Gabriela Mayer. He is also a former pupil of Jacques Rouvier, Universität der Künste, Berlin, and John O’Conor, Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM).

In addition to his concert career, Gary teaches piano at the RIAM, and is coach and accompanist at both the Cork School of Music and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick.

Jury Chair
Michael McHale

Belfast-born Michael McHale has established himself as one of Ireland’s leading pianists and has developed a busy international career as a solo recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician. 

He has performed as a soloist with the Minnesota, Hallé, Moscow Symphony and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, City of London Sinfonia, London Mozart Players and all five of the major Irish orchestras, and performed at the Tanglewood and Tokyo Spring Festivals, Wigmore Hall, London, Berlin Konzerthaus, Lincoln Center, New York, Symphony Hall, Boston and Pesti Vigadó in Budapest. 

Michael’s début solo album The Irish Piano was released in 2012 by RTÉ lyric fm and selected as ‘CD of the Week’ by the critic Norman Lebrecht. More recent solo releases include Schubert: Four Impromptus on Ergodos, Miniatures and Modulations on Grand Piano, and a first orchestral album Irish Piano Concertos featuring works by John Field and Philip Hammond with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Courtney Lewis. His discography of over twenty albums includes releases on Delos, Nimbus Alliance, Champs Hill, and seven duo recital albums on Chandos with Michael Collins. The début album of the McGill/McHale Trio Portraits on Cedille featuring special narrations by Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali was released in 2017 and immediately entered the Top 25 US Billboard Classical Chart. Upcoming releases include a recording of Strauss’s ‘Burleske’ with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on Chandos, and a recording of two new works by Cliff Eidelman with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Winner of the Terence Judd/Hallé Award in 2009, Michael was also awarded the Brennan and Field Prizes at the 2006 AXA Dublin International Piano Competition, the 2005 Camerata Ireland/Accenture Award, and in 2016 a Major Individual Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. He studied at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Cambridge University and the Royal Academy of Music, and his teachers and mentors include John O’Conor, Réamonn Keary, Christopher Elton, Ronan O’Hora and Barry Douglas. In 2017 Michael was invited to become a Patron of the Ulster Youth Orchestra, and in 2018 he was appointed as a part-time professor of piano for undergraduate and postgraduate students at the Cork School of Music in Ireland.

Michael collaborates regularly with Sir James Galway, Michael Collins, Patricia Rozario, Dame Felicity Lott and Camerata Pacifica. www.michaelmchale.com

“…McHale played with cool authority and understated panache as one expected from a young pianist whose international career is in serious take-off mode…” Dick O’Riordan, Sunday Business Post

“…performed with zest and sensitivity by pianist Michael McHale with the RTÉ National Symphony under Courtney Lewis… McHale makes a potent case for all of it” Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

“…McHale was a wonderfully incisive soloist… this was exactly the sort of headlong, exciting adventure that Prokofiev intended it to be…” Michael Dervan, Irish Times