The National Youth Orchestra of Ireland

The National Youth Orchestra of Ireland

The Board

Thomas Boland, Ian Dakin, John Dennehy (Chairman), Alan Duff, Gabrielle Croke (Company Secretary), Mary Kennedy, Anthony Long, Fergus O'Carroll, Prof. Fiona PalmerAndy Rogers, Joan Scannell, Deirdre Waldron, David Collins, Emma Morgan.

 Tom Boland

Tom is an international consultant focusing on higher education and research. In August 2016 he stepped down from his role as Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority of Ireland (HEA), ending over two decades at the most senior levels in the Irish education system. The HEA leads the strategic development of the Irish higher education and research system and has a statutory responsibility, for the effective governance, regulation and performance of all publicly funded higher education institutions. Prior to his role in the HEA, he served as Director of Strategic Policy and legal adviser in the Department of Education and Skills.

He is currently a member of the advisory board of Asia Matters and has previously served on the boards of HEAnet (Chairman) 2004 – 2013; IMHE – the OECD’s higher education programme (2005 -2016); the Fulbright Commission (3 year term to 2009); the Central Applications Office (2004 – 2016) and Science Foundation Ireland (4 year term to 2012).

He holds degrees in Civil Engineering (NUIG), Law (King’s Inns) and was called to the Bar of Ireland (1989).

Ian Dakin

Ian has been a member of the RTE National Symphony Orchestra since 1984 accumulating an enormous wealth of orchestral experience. In addition, he has performed in a freelance capacity with the Ulster Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Ireland, Orchestra of St. Cecilia, Irish Film Orchestra, Lyric Opera Orchestra and the Orchestra of the National Concert Hall.

Chamber music is a particular interest of Ian’s, being a founder-member of the contemporary chamber groups, Nua Nos and Sli Nua. He has played at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival and, with the Clarion Horn Trio, has performed the classical and contemporary chamber literature for violin, horn and piano at venues throughout Ireland. Over the years Ian has worked with numerous ad hoc chamber ensembles as well as with the broadcasting group, Les Amis de la Musique.

The passing on of his knowledge and experience is an abiding concern and since 1988 Ian has been on the staff of the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama as Lecturer in Horn. He has been involved, since its inception, with the music team at St. Louis Primary School which has produced several members of the NYOI. Other educational work involves coaching the Dublin Youth Orchestra wind and brass sections and, beginning in 2014, teaching at the Defence Forces School of Music. Conducting has become an increasingly important part of his life and he currently directs the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama Concert Band and various Brass Ensembles.

In his spare time Ian provides a professional standard printing service for the typesetting and publication of orchestral scores and has produced printed scores and orchestral parts for contemporary Irish composers including: Raymond Deane, Jerome De Bromhead, Kevin O’Connell, Stephen Gardner, John McLachlan, Kevin Volans, David Finnesy and Karen Power.

John Dennehy

John is currently Head of the Office of Planning and Strategic Affairs at Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) in the United Arab Emirates and is also Senior Adviser to the Director General of ADEC.

He was Secretary General of Ireland’s Department of Education and Science from 1998 to 2006, prior to which he held many key positions within the Department, including Assistant Secretary General, Chairman of the Teachers’ Professional Development Committee, member of the Arts in Education Committee, and a member of Ireland’s National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. He served as Assistant Chief Inspector of Schools, prior to which he was a schools’ inspector, a teacher and Principal Teacher.

Mr. Dennehy was Chairman of the Education Committee of the OECD (Paris) for six years. During this period he led the restructuring and reorganization of the work of the OECD in education and also chaired education review meetings in many countries.

He has worked as an independent expert adviser on education reform in many countries across the world and has acted as adviser to several Education Ministers and Ministries internationally.

He is Chairman of the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland and has been a member of the Orchestra’s Board for almost twenty years.

Alan Duff

Alan holds a Bachelor in Music Education from Trinity College Dublin, a Bachelor in Arts (Music) from the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and has recently successfully completed a Masters in Arts (Music). As a clarinet player he has won awards for both solo playing and chamber music. Primarily an educator by profession Alan currently holds the position of Head of Music in Templeogue College Dublin and works in the Artane School of Music, home of the world renowned Artane Band. His career however also includes conducting, composingand arranging.

Alan began his conducting studies in 2006 and studied orchestral conducting with David Brophy and choral conducting with Hungarian conductor Katalin Kiss. His conducting engagements have brought him across Ireland, France and the UK with various wind ensembles and orchestras. He has worked with the Artane Band, Greystones Orchestra, Trinity Orchestra and Fingal Youth Orchestra, as well as working as rehearsal conductor for the City of Dublin Chamber Orchestra, Wexford Sinfonia and previously as part of the National Concert Hall’s Learn and Explore Department. Alan is also involved in Arts administration and has held the role of Chairperson of the City of Dublin Chamber Orchestra for many years.

Alan is heavily associated with youth orchestras and ensembles throughout Ireland. He is currently the orchestra manager of the Irish Youth Wind Ensemble a group with whom he has been working with for many years. He is connected with Dublin Youth Orchestra working as a tutor for their chamber music courses. Alan is delighted to have been working with the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland for many years and is thrilled to have been appointed to the Board of Directors.

Gabrielle Croke

A career banker, Gabrielle worked for AIB Group for over 40 years - working in a wide variety of positions within the business including Corporate Banking, Public Affairs and International Bank Relations. She has been a Director of NYOI since 2002 and has held a number of other directorships in the Arts sector. Theatre remains a key interest since childhood and Gabrielle currently chairs the Friends Council of the Dublin Theatre Festival. In addition, she is a member of a choral group and has a keen general interest in music, travel and gardening. Gabrielle holds a BL (Bachelor at Law) Degree from the Kings Inns Dublin.

Mary Kennedy

Mary Kennedy's broadcasting career started in 1978 when, as a secondary school teacher, she applied for a job as television continuity announcer in RTÉ. A BA (Hons) graduate of UCD, she taught English in Brittany, France before returning to teach at Colaiste Bride in Clondalkin, Dublin. 

In 1982 she presented a bi-lingual television chat show called 'An Crúiscín Lán'
and in 1988 presented 'Give Us a Chance, aimed at Leaving Certificate students

She became a newscaster in 1992 and in 1995 was invited to present the 40th Eurovision Song Contest. In May 1999 Mary hosted the gala opening of RTÉ Lyric FM.
She has also presented a number of radio series on RTÉ Radio 1. 

Besides co-hosting Open House, the afternoon television programme, with Marty Whelan for six years, she has hosted numerous other programmes on RTÉ Television including 'Up for the Match', and The People of the Year Awards as well as commentating on many important occasions.

These include the funeral of Mother Teresa in Calcutta in 1997; the re-internment of the ‘Forgotten Ten’ volunteers who fought for Irish Freedom (the most well-known of whom was Kevin Barry) in 2001; the inauguration of President Mary McAleese for a second term in 2004; the funeral of Pope John Paul II in 2005 and that of former Taoisigh, Charles Haughey, in 2006 and Albert Reynolds in 2014. She also provided commentary for the funeral of President Hillery, the inauguration of President Michael D. Higgins and the Royal Wedding in 2011, followed by the visit of Queen Elizabeth II also in 2011. She also provides the Irish language commentary for the National Day of Commemoration every year and on September 18th was commentator, along with John Bowman for the State Funeral of Tomás Ceannt,(Thomas Kent), one of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation of Independence.

Mary Kennedy joined the hugely-successful regional news programme, Nationwide, as its co-presenter with Michael Ryan in August 2004. She was joined by presenter Anne Cassin after Michael’s retirement in 2011.
Mary is also the author of four books, Paper Tigers, a memoir, (2003), Lines I Love (2007) which was shortlisted in the Irish Book Awards in 2008, Lines for Living (2011) and What Matters in 2015.

Anthony Long

Anthony is the General Manager of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. He was appointed to the position in March 2017. Prior to this he was General Manager of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, a position he held since 2003, where he was responsible for the artistic, business and financial management of the ensemble. Originating and implementing strategy, he devised a diverse and eclectic mix of programmes and events that appeal to the widest audience possible. An ex- member, manager and director of the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland and he was invited to re-join the board in 2016.

A graduate of Trinity College he has worked as a professional musician with the Irish Chamber Orchestra (Principal Clarinet), RTÉ Concert Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and Irish Film Orchestra amongst others before moving into management at the Artane School of Music in 1999 where he oversaw several initiatives including the introduction of girls into the Artane Band, breaking with a hundred and thirty-year tradition of a boys only band.

While working with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, he has presided over the resurgence of the ensembles connection with its audience seeing it named ‘The World’s Favourite Orchestra’ in a poll conducted by Bachtrack in 2015. He appointed David Brophy as Principal Conductor and John Wilson as Principal Guest (and subsequently Principal Conductor) focussing on audience facing initiatives, mainstreaming film screenings for Irish audiences with live orchestral performance including the Lord of The Rings Trilogy, Gladiator and Indiana Jones. His tenure also includes the appointment of Navan born film composer Brian Byrne as artist in residence. He was artistic director of the RTÉ Farmleigh Proms and more recently co-produced Jenny Greene & The RTÉ Concert Orchestra at Electric Picnic and the 3Arena. Other highlights include the RTÉ Concert Orchestras premiere performance of Handels Messiah in the Vatican for Pope Benedict in 2009 and producing a live screen performance version of ‘Mise Eire (1959)’ for the 2016 Centenary celebrations in association with Gael Linn and the Irish Film Institute, the premiere of which was attended by President Michael D. Higgins and the film maker George Morrison.

Fergus O'Carroll

Professor Fergus O'Carroll was born in Waterford into a musical family. In 1971, he was awarded a scholarship on French Horn by the then Irish Youth Orchestra to study with Victor Malirsh at the Royal Irish Academy. In 1975, after just 4 years playing the instrument, he became a member of the RTE Symphony Orchestra, now the RTE NSO. Having filled a number of different seats, Fergus recently retired from RTE as Acting Section Leader French Horn, a position he had held for more that five years.

For most of his career, Fergus was Section Principal of the Horn section which afforded him the opportunity to explore many other aspects of the music industry. He became a horn teacher, a union representative, a music typesetter, brass repairman, conductor of bands, choirs and orchestras, culminating in his full time appointment as Head of Wind, Brass and Percussion at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, a position he took up immediately after his retirement from RTE. In 2007, he hosted a world conference for the World Association for Symphonic Wind Bands and Ensembles and became a board member of that Organisation shortly thereafter.

Currently, Fergus is Musical Director of Dublin Concert Band, the Irish wind band champions, and Mullingar Choral Society

Fiona Palmer

Professor Fiona Palmer is a double bassist, mezzo soprano and flautist. She has been Professor of Music at the National University of Ireland Maynooth since 2007, heading the Department between 2007 and 2014. Fiona undertook her PhD in Musicology at the University of Birmingham as a British Academy Scholar.

As a first-class graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire with double bass as her first study, she freelanced with many ensembles, especially the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (1989-1997) and she also spent some time as a member of New Zealand’s Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. She was Manager of the Examinations Department at the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in London (1997-1999). In July 1999 she moved to Northern Ireland to work at Queen's University in Belfast and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2002. She regularly played the double bass on a freelance basis with the Ulster Orchestra, travelling with them to New York and to perform at the BBC London Promenade Concerts.

Fiona’s publications focus on music and musicians in the marketplace, performance practice, culture, commerce, canonization of the repertoire and socio-economic issues. She is currently writing a monograph on orchestral conductors in Britain c. 1870-1914 which contextualizes and reconsiders the emergence of the role in the late Victorian age.

Andy Rogers (KSG KMCO)

Andy worked for Bank of Ireland for 38 years, a career equally divided between Ireland and the UK, and was a Director of many Bank subsidiaries and an executive of Bank of Ireland UK.

Andy is Chairman of Premium Golf Brands Ltd and principal of Rogers Associates Ltd, a consultancy providing both strategic advice and mentoring support at board level to many European companies. He is a Director of VGC Group Ltd and was previously Co-Chairman of the Irish International Business Network (IIBN) from 2011 until 2014.

He was a member of the Foundation Board of IMD, Lausanne; Chairman of the Development Committee at UK registered Irish Charity icap; a director of the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland; a Council Member of The Ireland Fund of Great Britain; a Patron of SafeStart and many other organisations. He holds a first class honours degree in Business Studies and a Master’s degree from Trinity College Dublin.

Andy was the recipient of one of the first ever Irish Presidential Distinguished Service Award presented in Dublin by The President, Michael D Higgins at Aras an Uactharain in Nov 2012. In June 2014 Andy was appointed a Knight of Honour of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George (KMCO) and in July 2014, he was invested as a Knight of St Gregory, awarded by Pope Francis, for his work leading up to the 2012 Olympics in London.

He has been a Board member of NYOI since 1996.

Joan Scannell

Joan is a cellist and has been Head of String String Studies at CIT Cork School of Music since 2006. Joan is a Cork native and was one of the first students selected from her primary school for the, then experimental, Suzuki String Programme, piloted by Denise and Renee Lane, as an initiative of the CSM and its director Bernard Curtis. The CSM Suzuki Scheme continues to be an integral part of the city’s music education infrastructure under her watchful eye. Joan later studied with Canadian cellist, Paul Pulford, and also Michael Steinkuhler, Ursula Willis and Gerry Kelly.

An honours BMus graduate of UCC, Joan also was awarded an MA in Performance from CIT CSM, having previously been awarded a Dip.CSM – the precursor of the current BMus degree. She combined a career as a freelance orchestral player – RTE National Symphony Orchestra; Galway Baroque; East Cork Choral Society et. – with her teaching for Cork School of Music, Cork County School of Music, and Kerry School of Music. A keen chamber musician, Joan was for many years a member of the Orpheus Trio, among other groups, performing around the country and making several broadcasts for RTE TV. She also lectured and coached chamber music at University College Cork and was, for a time, a member of Jimmy Crowley’s infamous Stoker’s Lodge!

Since becoming Head, Joan has managed a period of change and has kept the String Department as the preeminent centre for string training, at every level, in Ireland. Recruiting all four members of the original Vanbrugh String Quartet, and many professionals from the Irish Chamber Orchestra has been key to maintaining the standard that continues to see students and graduates continue to win national and international awards and prizes and become appointed to positions in professional orchestras around the world.

Deirdre Waldron

Deirdre Waldron is a PR and Marketing Professional with over 25 years industry experience in the UK and Ireland in a variety of sectors including hospitality, education, charity, finance, legal and IT.

Deirdre founded Fuzion in 2000 and, as well as managing the PR division of Fuzion in the Cork and Dublin offices, she plays a significant role in any crisis communications projects, public awareness campaigns and she works with many clients on their strategy around communications. Deirdre works with a wide variety of clients across a number of sectors on an ongoing basis in this capacity.

Deirdre's other specialities include Project Management, Internal Communications and Reputation Management. She enjoys making a difference and working closely with clients who also are passionate about being the best within their sector.

David Collins

Originally from Co. Kildare, David studied trumpet at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and completed an MMus in Trumpet at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin graduating with Distinction. During his studies David won prizes including the Guinness Brass Bursary and Robert McCreath Memorial and was a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra from 2009–2011 touring Europe and performing at the BBC Proms.
Since returning to Ireland, David performs and broadcasts regularly with the RTÉ National Symphony and Concert Orchestras and the Irish Chamber Orchestra. Between 2016–2018 David held the position of Principal Trumpet no. 2 & Principal Cornet with the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast, Northern Ireland and more recently has performed with the World Orchestra for Peace.
David was appointed as Head of Wind, Brass and Percussion at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in September 2019 and has worked with the trumpet section of the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland since 2011. David is the Artistic Director of Dublin Brass Week, Ireland’s international brass festival. He has additionally appeared as soloist in concerti by Haydn, Vivaldi, Neruda as well as Bach's Brandenburg Concerto no. 2.

Emma Morgan

Emma Morgan has worked in the non-profit sector for 12 years. She has a background specialising in fundraising development and organisational strategy. She is business analyst for Concern Worldwide, the vice-chair and development board member for Helium Arts; career mentor and private consultant and public speaker for strategic development in the non-profit sector.

She holds an MA from University College Dublin in Cultural Policy and Arts Management, the focus of which was how charitable organisations use arts based programmes and products as part of their fundraising mix. In her spare time she is a painter and in the past has participated in community art projects and had illustrations published for a small not profit publication entitled “what not to say”.


Other pages in this area:

The Board