Deirdre Moynihan (Soprano) and Alec O’Leary (Guitar) are recognised as one of Ireland’s leading duos. They are an engaging and energetic ensemble with a unique performance style that is charming yet dynamic. Having sculpted their individual musical identities for many years as soloists, they came together in 2010 to perform as part of the Galway Music Residency concert series. Since then they have played many high profile concerts nationally and on the international stage. They have commissioned new pieces and arranged many works for voice and guitar including traditional Irish songs, film music and well known repertoire from Spain, Italy and beyond. In 2013, the Moynihan O’Leary duo premiered the first ever Irish language song cycle for voice and guitar in The John Field Room of the National Concert Hall. The work, entitled “Fuil is Uisce” (Blood and Water), was specially written for the duo by composer Ian Wilson. London’s Classical Guitar Magazine has referred to the duo as an “authentic and musically profound ensemble” while the duo’s recent CD release, ‘From The Olive Tree’, was described, by the Sunday Business Post, as “captivating…songs sung with striking clarity accompanied by superbly understated guitar”. The CD features many new arrangements for voice and guitar such as Garcia Lorca’s Canciones Españolas Antiguas, Roy Orbison’s Llorando and Nino Rota’s Brucia la Terra (from the Godfather III).
As a soprano soloist Deirdre Moynihan has performed with many chamber, orchestral, operatic and choral ensembles both on the International stage and throughout Ireland. Her music career, to date, has seen her perform in Canada, U.S.A, Israel, Brazil, Lebanon, Japan, China and throughout Europe.
A baroque specialist, Deirdre’s CD of Vivaldi Cantatas was released by Naxos to widespread critical acclaim. International Record Review wrote “Moynihan’s singing goes straight to the heart. Unfailingly beautiful in tone”, Musical Opinion described the CD as “excellent” while Music Web International complimented a voice “perfectly suited to baroque music”. Early music performance highlights include Handel’s “Alexander’s Feast”, Boccherini’s “Stabat Mater”, Handel’s “Laudate Pueri Dominum”, Scarlatti’s “Stabat Mater”, Vivaldi’s “Gloria”, Haydn’s “Missa brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo”, Mozart’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah.
Deirdre also embraces the challenge of contemporary compositions and has premiered works by Ian Wilson, Brian Irvine, Rob Canning, Raymond Deane, Marian Ingoldsby, Bill Whelan, Ben Dwyer and Hugh O’ Neill. She has been a soloist at Dublin’s New Music Festival (Andriessen: De Staat conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw) and The Living Music Festival in works by Messiaen, Steve Reich, Dusapin, Tippett and Arvo Part’s Stabat Mater. She has also worked with conductors such as Christophe Rousset, Jeffery Skidmore, John Wilson, Bo Holten.
Deirdre has sung as a soloist with, amongst others, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Choir Ireland and Crash Ensemble. She holds an MA in Vocal Performance from the Cork School of Music. Deirdre is the founder of the popular choral music website www.choirscan.com and she is also the Programmes Manager for Music Network. www.deirdremoynihan.com
Alec O’Leary is one of the Ireland’s leading exponents of the guitar and has performed to international critical acclaim, winning praise for his impressive technique, outstanding musicianship and inspired programming.
Alec is co-founder and director of one of Europe’s most prestigious guitar festivals, the Guitar Festival of Ireland. Along with a busy performing schedule, festival commitments, and teaching posts Alec is equally dedicated to making guitars with his father, world-renowned Irish luthier Michael J. O’Leary. www.olearyguitars.com
Alec began playing guitar at an early age taught by both his father and grandfather. Subsequently Alec went on to study with Irish virtuoso John Feeley at the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama where he attained his Masters Degree in performance. During this time he received tuition from some of the world’s most distinguished musicians including Manuel Barreuco, Scott Tennant, Sergio Assad and Roland Dyens. Alec has also studied in Naples with Maestro Aniello Desiderio aided by the Arts Council of Ireland.
An active performer and arranger, winner of numerous guitar competitions, and a diligent concert promoter, Alec has commissioned many new works for guitar from some of its most celebrated composers such as Roland Dyens and Sergio Assad. He has also facilitated several major music projects including ‘Guitar Traditions’ seminar series in the Royal Irish Academy of Music with John Williams, Paco Pena & Pavel Steidl and the Sony recording ‘Places Between’ with John Williams and John Etheridge. Alec released his own debut album Milonga in 2008. The Classical Guitar Magazine (USA) reviewing the record, stated: “Throughout, O’Leary does full justice to the music and gives some very exciting and clever performances, the ultimate track – the excellent Dyens arrangement of the classic Felicidade – being the icing on the cake and making for a truly exhilarating conclusion to a very enjoyable programme”.
As an enthusiastic chamber music advocate, Alec has performed with the RTÉ Contempo Quartet, Aspiro Choir, RTÉ Cór na nÓg, the National Symphony Orchestra and on a more permanent bases with soprano Deirdre Moynihan. Alec currently holds the position of Guitar Lecturer at Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin.
“Alec O’Leary’s guitar playing is never less than superb“ – Classical Guitar Magazine, USA
“Easily one of Ireland’s most talented and accomplished classical guitarists” – Hotpress
“Alec is a highly accomplished guitarist with a very natural touch on the instrument. He has a refined and developed musical sensibility” ‐ John Feeley
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