Sinéad O’Halloran is quickly establishing herself as one of Ireland’s most exciting young musicians. Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Ortús Chamber Music Festival, established in Cork in 2016, Sinéad is passionate about bringing together Irish and international musicians for concerts, education work and audience development in the wider community.
An avid chamber musician, Sinéad has collaborated with musicians including Tasmin Little, Barry Douglas and the Vanbrugh String Quartet. In October 2020 she made her Wigmore Hall debut at the invitation of cellist Steven Isserlis, performing alongside Anthony Marwood, Timothy Ridout and Mishka Rushdie Momen.
Sinéad has recently been appointed the new cellist of the award-winning Marmen Quartet. Upcoming season highlights for the Marmens include debuts at the Berlin Philharmonie, Boulez Saal and the BBC Proms as well as extensive European tours including performances in Heidelberg, Belfast, Luberon, Stockholm and Graz. Festival engagements will take the Quartet to the Lucerne Festival, Gulbekian Biennale, Wonderfeel Helsinki and Estivales de Musique en Médoc. In the US the Quartet undertakes the first visit of its two-year residency at Southern Methodist University in Dallas; a relationship that will see them work closely with the students as well as giving performances and developing new projects. Other plans include tours to Japan, New Zealand and Canada in 2022. The Quartet will perform works by Haydn and Simpson at their BBC Proms debut on 16th August, live on BBC Radio 3.
As a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) for seven years, she toured Europe, South America, the United Arab Emirates and the Caribbean. As Principal Cellist of EUYO she led the section at numerous high profile events, including the BBC Proms and The Armistice Day 100 Years Anniversary Ceremony, performing at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe during a ceremony marking the centenary of the end of World War I in front of 84 Heads of State and world leaders, and a live television audience of millions. At the invitation of Maestro Iván Fischer, she is a regular guest with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, touring extensively and performing in some of the world’s finest concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, Philharmonie de Paris, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and Het Concertgebouw. She has also performed with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Spira Mirabilis, Georgian Chamber Orchestra and the iPalpiti Ensemble of International Laureates. She regularly plays under some of the world’s most renowned conductors, including Bernard Haitink, Gianandrea Noseda, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jörg Widmann and Vasily Petrenko.
Sinéad began her musical studies at the CIT Cork School of Music under the guidance of Joan Scannell and Christopher Marwood. At the age of 18 she was offered an Artistic Merit Scholarship to pursue a postgraduate Performer’s Diploma at SMU Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas, Texas in the classes of renowned cellists Andres Diaz and Christopher Adkins. She received a First Class Hons BMus degree as a student of Gregor Horsch (Principal cellist of Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra) at the Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf and she is currently on a one year Erasmus+ Masters exchange at the Royal Northern College of Music in the class of Hannah Roberts. She was recently awarded the RNCM Gold Medal 2021, the most prestigious award of the school.
Sinéad has had the pleasure of working with some of the world’s most respected cellists, including Ralph Kirshbaum, Lynn Harrell, Ivan Monighetti, Colin Carr, Raphael Wallfisch, Jérôme Pernoo, Alban Gerhardt, Natalie Clein, Thomas Demenga, Rafael Rosenfeld, Hannah Roberts, Emma Ferrand, David Strange, Cyrille Lacrouts, Péter Szabo, Antonio Lysy and Mike Block. As a chamber musician, she has received masterclasses from Xenia ensemble, the Danel, Kelemen, Zemlinsky, Alban Berg, Danish, Doric, Vanbrugh, Kamus, Prometeo, Delian, Jupiter, Carducci and Varese quartets as well as Emmanuel Borok, Hugh Maguire, Liudmila Giorgievski, Joaquin Achucarro, Alessio Bax, Greg Raden and Rohan de Saram.
Sinéad is currently an Ambassador for the Benedetti Foundation. Recent international festival appearances include International Musician’s Seminar Prussia Cove (Cornwall, UK), Académie Ravel (Saint-Jean-du-Luz, France), Amsterdam Cello Biennale (the Netherlands) and Banff Summer Arts Festival (Alberta, Canada). She was selected as a Fellow for the 2020 Piatigorsky Cello Festival in LA to work with Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, which has unfortunately, like many projects, been postponed due to the ongoing pandemic.
Sinéad gratefully acknowledges support from the Arts Council of Ireland, Music Network, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Cork City Arts Office and Deutschlandstipendium. She currently plays on a Benjamin Banks cello c. 1780 and a baroque cello and bow generously on loan from the Royal Northern College of Music.