Thank you to everyone who attended our 2017 Master Classes!

See below to view our brilliant Master Class presenters for 2017 and watch this space for the 2018 Series.

Master Class Presenters – 2017

Rowan Rheingans | Singing 

Rowan is a singer and multi-instrumentalist recently awarded BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for ‘Best Original Song’ with her sister Anna. She is also part of award winning vocal trio Lady Maisery, one of the English folk scene’s top acts and one of the first bands to revive England’s mouth music tradition.

rowansinging2 This master class will focus primarily on harmony singing. Participants will enjoy and explore the power of vocal harmony in a large group as well as in small ensembles, learn songs in three part harmony, have a go at tune singing/mouth music inspired by northern european singing traditions. They will explore their voices through a range of improvisation work, develop techniques for warming up properly and for boosting confidence and overcoming performance anxiety with an opportunity to also work on arranging their own songs for three part harmony.

Daoiri Farrell | Irish Bouzouki
Hailed as the new voice of Irish traditional music, Dublin-born traditional singer and bouzouki player Daoirí (pronounced ‘Derry’) Farrell is one of the most important musicians to come out of Ireland in recent years.  He is a graduate of the Ceoltoir HND in Traditional Music Performance, has a B.A. (Hons) in Applied Music, and most recently an M.A. in Irish Tradtional Music Performance, Limerick University.

cropped-daoiri-farrell-headercrop Daoirí is regularly called upon to teach classes and workshops at festivals worldwide and this master class will focus on all aspects of bouzouki playing including both the playing of and accompaniment of Irish songs and tunes. Daoiri’s style is expressive and fluid. He will cover a range of techniques including right hand and left hand, rhythm and lead and incorporating both into your playing.

Anna Rheingans | French Music Traditions 
Anna studied music in Toulouse, in southern France, where she is a much sought after fiddle player and teacher of French music traditions, in which she has fast become an expert, having recently gained a 1st class diploma from the Conservatioire Occitan. Together with her sister Rowan she is the other half of the BBC 2 Award winning Rheingans Sisters

fiddleanna This will be a multi-instrument master class focussing on southern French and Occitan traditional music. The class will mostly be centred around tunes but also incorporating some song and dance for participants to gain a fuller understanding of the context of this music. Anna will plan the course content around the combination of instruments that each participant plays including chords for accompaniment as well as instruments that may be in other key systems. All instruments are welcome but participants must be competent players.

Michael “Blackie” O’Connell | Uilleann Pipes & Whistle
Michael “Blackie” O’Connell is a highly respected uilleann piper with his own very distinctive style and with Cyril O’Donohue (bouzouki and guitar) released the highly acclaimed album Friars Green. Blackie is a sought after teacher throughout Ireland

blackieoconnell2 “musicians’ musician” Blackie’s class will focus on technique and applying it to some new tunes taught during the class. Whistle players will be welcome if space permits. 

Robbie Walsh | Bodhrán & Percussion
Robbie Walsh is a bodhrán player who hails from Dublin. Brought up with a strong musical tradition, his style is the definition of diversity. In 2008 he became the All Ireland bodhrán Champion. He has worked with many musicians including Daoiri Farrell, Laoise Kelly, Seamus Begley, and Eleanor Shanley and shared the stage with the like of Donal Lunny, Karen Tweed, Cormac Breathnach, and Paul Brady.

robbiewalsh3 Whether you’re an intermediate or advanced player this master class will concentrate on developing your technique and learning new skills on the instrument. Robbie’s focus will be on stick technique, tone control, and rhythm, making sure that any bad habits are identified and eliminated, leading to better all round playing. He will also focus on the structure of trad music, how to play with feeling and how to interact with musicians in a live setting; all the while being mindful of the importance of accompanying the music whether it be songs or tunes.

Caitlín Nic Gabhann | Concertina
Caitlín is a three times All Ireland concertina champion, and an accomplished step-dancer who has toured the world many times over with Riverdance. She is an expert teacher too, holding first class honours degrees at University College Cork and Trinity College Dublin.

web_caitlin These lessons will cater to a broad range of abilities and styles. You will learn several tunes, focussing on ornamentation, chords and rhythmic feel. The lessons are flexible, allowing plenty of time to focus on particular things that you may wish to cover. Learning is done mostly by ear, however Caitlín can help with notation as required. And, if there’s time, she’ll even be able to teach you a dance step or two as well!

Ciarán Ó Maonaigh | Irish Fiddle
Ciarán is a former TG4 Young Musician of the Year, who comes from the Gaoth Dobhair gaeltacht in Co. Donegal. Growing up, he was heavily influenced by his extended family, particularly his grandfather and teacher Francie Mooney, and Altan members Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Frankie Kennedy. “A masterclass in the marriage of tradition and musical exploration, and a milestone in traditional music.” (The Irish Times, on Ciarán’s playing).

web_ciaran Those who come to this masterclass will get a close insight into Donegal fiddle styles from one of its leading exponents. Ciarán will teach you popular tunes that are being played in his county, and also some more obscure gems that he has unearthed through his many travels. During the classes, you will hone in on key aspects of fiddle playing, through all the unwritten subtleties, which will help you get the most out of every tune.

Cathal Ó Curráin | Irish Banjo / Mandolin
Cathal is at the forefront of a new generation of young Irish musicians. Hailing from Co. Donegal, he has embarked on a burgeoning career that has already seen him win multiple awards and work with some of Ireland’s best regarded artists, including Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Kila, Dermot Byrne, and Floriane Blancke.

web_cathal Why not learn banjo? You know you want to! No matter what your starting ability is, you’ll be flying after this concentrated masterclass. Cathal will guide you through a range of tunes and playing techniques, including lead and backing roles. And if you don’t have a banjo, the lessons can cater for all instruments, which Cathal will be able to help you with: aside from banjo, he is also an award-winning fiddle player, All Ireland sean nós champion, and accomplished on the mandolin and bouzouki.

Please call or email now to register your interest and reserve your place in any of our 2017 master classes. Numbers will be strictly limited to give participants the best opportunity to get the most out of these unique and highly informative sessions.


Who Can attend:
Master classes will cater for intermediate to advanced level and the numbers in each class will be limited so you will need to apply and pay early to ensure your place.
Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th April
3 x sessions over 2 days
2 x 9:30am – 12:30pm (Wed & Thurs) + 1 x 1:30 – 3:30pm (Wed) Lunch is included on Wednesday only.
Ainslie Arts Centre, Canberra
$255   OR
$225 (NFF Season Ticket holders)
Bookings and Enquiries:
Contact Karlie Megay, Program Administrator
T: 02 6262 4792     E: [email protected] (ensure you put MASTER CLASS in the subject box)