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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. From 2020 the winner will also be invited to perform along with the RDS Jago Award Winner and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra at a RDS Music Bursary Winners Concert in the RDS Concert Hall.

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 2019 RDS Music Bursary winner is Kevin Jansson, an 18 year old pianist from Cork. Kevin studied in CIT Cork School of Music with Mary Beattie, he qualified for the Bursary by winning the Morris Grant Bursary in the 2019 Feis Ceoil. 

He will use the prize money to help fund his studies at the prestigious Julliard School, Manhattan, New York, where he has been accepted with a scholarship to study piano with Dr Veda Kaplinsky and Mr Julian Martin. Former General Manager of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Brian O’Rourke was chair of this year’s judging panel, who were so impressed with Kevin’s application form, performance and interview that he was awarded full marks and was described as ‘brilliant in all respects’. The other members of the judging panel were: Catherine Leonard, David Byers, Gerry Keenan and Pádhraic O’ Cuinneagáin .

Kevin was the winner of three prizes in the 2019 Feis Ceoil, including the Morris Grant Bursary. He is also the recipient of numerous international awards and accolades. In 2018 he won first prize at the Jeune Chopin Competition in Switzerland which resulted in concert engagements in France, Switzerland and Poland. In 2017 he won first prize in the Euregio Piano Award International Competition in Germany, the Isidor Bajić Piano Memorial Competition in Serbia, and the Val Tidone International Competition (piano category) in Italy, where he was also awarded first prize in the violin category with full marks awarded and got a special prize as the most outstanding string player in the competition.

He has an impressive and extensive list of performances to his name, including performances with Camerata Ireland, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra and the New York Concerti Sinfonietta in Carnegie Hall. Kevin was the youngest ever member of the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland and has given a private performance of Chopin and Rachmaninov for President Michael D. Higgins in Áras an Uachtaráin. The RDS Music Bursary comes with a professional performance engegement with the RTÉ National Symphoney Orchestra and a second performance in partnership with Irish Heritage in London.

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 2019 recipient is Donegal born flautist Amy Gillen, who is a graduate of the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin and is currently studying for a master’s in music performance in Flute at the Royal College of Music in London. She has won numerous awards including in 2018, first prize in the Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year and the Irish Heritage London Bursary. In the 2019 Feis Ceoil she won the McCullough Cup and the RTÉ lyric fm bursary of €1,500. She has performed extensively and regularly deputised as Principal Flute with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra. Amy plans to use the prize money from the RDS Jago Award, which also comes with a performance opportunity with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, towards the purchase of a new professional quality instrument. From 2020 the RDS Jago Award winner will perform as part of an annual Music Bursary Winners Concert along with the RDS Music BUrsary Winner and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

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. This year's recepient is Kevin Jansson who won the RDS Music Bursary in 2019.

Pictured above: Kevin Jansson, Winner of the 2019 RDS Music Bursary Award of €15,000 plus two professional performance engagements.


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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