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The Venue


RDS Music Bursary

At €15,000 the RDS Music Bursary is one of the largest single bursaries on offer to a young musician in Europe. Open to vocalists and instrumentalists, the Bursary assists young professional musicians to develop their career through further study at home or abroad or for the purchase of a musical instrument. In addition to the €15,000 Bursary, the winner also receives a professional performance engagement with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and an additional engagement in London with Irish Heritage – a voluntary arts organisation established in 1974 to promote young Irish classical musicians and composers in Great Britain.

The goal of the RDS Arts work programme is to provide a platform that supports the transition from student to emerging artist; encouraging the pursuit of a career in visual arts, crafts or music. Awarded on an annual basis since 2003, the RDS Music Bursary is open to winners of selected senior competitions in the ESB Feis Ceoil who are attending or have completed a third level music degree or are studying at  similar level with a recognised teacher in Ireland or abroad.The qualifying Feis Ceoil competitions are: the Morris Grant Bursary (Piano), Gervase Elwes Cup (Vocal), Mc Cullough Cup (Woodwind), Senior Brass Recital (Brass) and the Aileen Gore Cup (Strings).

Rules of Entry for RDS Music Bursary

The 2018 RDS Music Bursary winner was Killian White, an 18 year old cellist from Rathfarnham in Dublin. Killian studied in Dublin’s Royal Irish Academy of Music with Christopher Marwood, he qualified for the Bursary by winning the Aileen Gore Cup in the 2018 ESB Feis Ceoil. 

Thanks to the generous support of Tom and Ann Jago, the Bursary now has a second award of €5,000, called the RDS Jago Award. The 2018 recipient was clarinet player and compser Christopher Moriarty. Christopher completed his degree in the Royal Irish Academy of Music with John Finucane, he qualified for the Bursary Interview by winning the McCullough Cup in the 2018 ESB Feis Ceoil. A professional engagement opportunity with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra also comes with this prize. 

Former winners of the RDS Music Bursary have the chance to be selected annually for a new performance award which has been created thanks to the support of Michael and Loret O'Brien. The RDS Collins Memorial Performance Award is in association with the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival (formerly Lismore Opera Festival). A previous RDS Music Bursary Winner will be selected annually by the Artistic Director of the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival and will be given a performance opportunity at the Festival which takes place in June annually in Lismore, Co. Waterford. The 2018 recepient was pianist Máire Carroll who won the RDS Music Bursary in 2012.

Pictured above: Philip Dodd, Edith Forrest, John O'Kane, Christopher Moriarty (RDS Jago Award Winner 2018), Bernie Brennan (RDS President), Killian White (RDS Music Bursary Award Winner 2018), Madeleine Staunton and Seamus Crimmins.


Previous Prize Winners


For further information please contact:

Dara O'Leary
RDS Arts Programme Manager
Dublin 4
Tel: +353 (0) 1 240 7255
Email: arts@rds.ie

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