Artistic Staff

André Swanepoel, Violin

Andre Swanepoel

Johannesburg-born André Swanepoel holds a Masters Degree from the Universityof Pretoria and a Diploma from the Hochschule für Musik, Cologne. His main violin teachers were Alan Solomon, Winfried Rademacher and Charles-André Linale.

André joined the ICO as Principal Second Violin in 2003. Prior to that, he spent several years as Principal 2nd of the German Chamber Academy. He has also worked as guest Leader with Welsh National Opera and as guest Principal with the Hallé and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He regularly works with Northern Sinfonia. Recent performance highlights include chamber concerts at the Ryedale, City of London, Chichester, International Donau and St. Endellion Festivals; a recital-masterclass at the Royal Welsh College of Music; and Concerto-appearances in Ireland and northern England. He has performed in South America for the German Goethe Institut and has been broadcast on West German and Bavarian Radio. With his wife, Rosie Biss and pianist Caroline Dowdle, he recently founded the Cygnus Trio. As a member of the European Music Project he appeared in numerous theme-based concert-night events throughout Germany, and recorded 2 critically acclaimed live-CD’s (one of these being Terry Riley’s legendary In C).

André is as passionate about the whole spectrum of music education as he is about performing: here his activities range from community music and outreach work to individual tuition from primary to postgraduate level (Durham University and University of Limerick); coaching youth and university orchestras and, in 2010, the Britten-Pears Orchestra; through to teaching on the ConCorda Chamber Music course. He is a tutor for violin and chamber music at the Weekend School at the Sage, Gateshead.


Bogdan Sofei, Violin

Bogdan Sofei

Co-founder of ConTempo Quartet, Bogdan Sofei was born in Bucharest on 17th of July 1975 and is the leader of ConTempo String Quartet. ConTempo have been the Ensemble-in-Residence in Galway since January 2003 and appointed as the RTE Resident Quartet since 2014.

He graduated The University of Music in Bucharest where he studied with Ladislau Csendes and Stefan Gheorghiu. He continued his studies at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada, Royal Academy of Music in London, Academia Chigiana in Siena, European Academy of Music in Aix-en Province, Britten – Pierce School for Advanced Music Studies in Aldeburgh and Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid with Rainer Schmidt, Siegmund Nissel, Norbert Brainin, Gunter Pichler, Philip Setzer, Stephanie Gonley, Heime Muller, Christoph Poppen, Howard Davis and Hugh Maguire. In addition, Bogdan received his Master of Arts in Music at Cork School of Music, in 2005.

As the leader of ConTempo Quartet, he had studied with the most celebrated string quartets of the world, such as Amadeus, Alban Berg , Tokyo, Emerson and Hagen quartets and with musicians as Diemut Poppen, Petra Mullejans, Piero Farulli, David Takeno, Laurence Lesser, Gilbert Kalish.

Bogdan has won several international and national competitions in Italy and Romania in addition to the international prizes he has won as first violinist of ConTempo Quartet: 1st Prize at GrosserForderpreise Competition in Munich-Germany,1st Prize at Valentino Bucchi competition in Rome-Italy, 1st Prize at Tunnel Trust Competition in London-UK, 1st Prize at Mozart competition in Cluj-Romania, 2nd Prize at Johannes Brahms International Competition in Hamburg-Germany, Audience Prize and 3rd Prize at London String Quartet Competition in UK, 3rd Prize at Schubert und die Musik der Moderne Competition in Graz-Austria, 3rd Prize at Max Reger Competition in Weimar-Germany, The Wigmore Award and The Romanian Musical Critics Union Prize in Bucharest.

He has toured the world extensively, performing at many major international festivals in Europe, Canada, and the United States. As the first violinist of ConTempo Quartet, he has performed with Vellinger and Vanbrugh Quartets, Kungsbacka Piano Trio, Emma Johnson, John O’Conor, with Garth Knox-Arditti Quartet ,Yuko Inoue, Chen Zimbalista, Garfield Jackson-Endellion Quartet, Martin Outram, Jerome Pernoo, James Lisney Gilbert Kalish and Douglas McNabney. Recordings as a member of ConTempo include labels and names such as Deutsche Schallplatten, BBC, RTÉ, Lyric, ORF, TVR and TG4. As a member of ConTempo, Bogdan has performed for personalities such as the Late Pope John Paul II, for Prince Charles, for Nelson Mandela, the ex-President of South Africa and EU Ministers, and for Angelica Houston and the late Merv Griffin. Bogdan has also recorded the Adagio from Beethoven’s Opus 131 for the television drama “Band Of Brothers”, produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, arranged the music for the silent movie “Afgrunden” (1910), and featured in the documentary film “ConTempo goes West” by Bob Quinn.


Diane Daly, Violin, Music Theatre

Diane has been a member of the Irish Chamber Orchestra since 1998. During this time her reputation as a freelance chamber musician has spread and she has toured extensively with orchestras including the Academy of St Martin in the Fields (America, Norway, Germany, Italy and Spain) and the European Union Chamber Orchestra (India and the Middle East). She has been co-principal of the Orchestra of St John in London and is a founding member of the Killaloe Quartet which has performed extensively in Ireland, London and Paris. Based in County Clare, she works extensively as an animateur and workshop leader, both as a freelance educationalist and as leader of many projects for the ICO. Combining her particular skills in jazz, traditional music and improvisation Diane Daly also plays in a jazz duo and has appeared at international jazz festivals with the Brian Irvine Ensemble.



Tom Crowley, Violin

Tom Crowley is a native of Cork. He graduated with an honours BMus degree from the Cork School of Music. He then continued his studies in Romania completing an M.A. in orchestral conducting at the National University of Music Bucharest where he studied under Maestro Dumitru Goia; a disciple of the St. Petersburg school of conducting.

It is in Romania that Tom had his professional conducting debut, with the Botosani Philharmonic. Since then Tom has conducted the “Sergei Lunchevici” Philharmonic in  Chisinau, Pitesti Philharmonic, and Brasov Philharmonic, the Royal Camerata Orchestra of Romania, Concorda String Orchestra, Cork New Music Ensemble, Cork Youth Chamber Orchestra, the Army Band of the 1st Brigade, Quercus Ensemble, Brandylane Orchestra, Cork School of Music Chamber Orchestra, and has worked closely with and prepared orchestral programmes for renowned the conductors Neil Thompson and Dumitru Goia. He has founded a chamber orchestra in Cork; Stormport Sinfonia, with whom he has most recently recorded the soundtrack for the film documentary – A Doctor’s Sword. Tom has enjoyed working with Declan O’Rourke and Julie Feeney as M.D for their orchestral concerts and wrote string parts for Jack O’Rourke’s debut album. He is the musical director of the Cork Chamber Choir, artistic director of the Cork Orchestral Society, and has been the principal conductor of the Cork Concert Orchestra since its inception in 2015.

Tom was awarded 1st place in the Jeunesses Musicales International Conducting Competition in 2011. In 2015, 2017 and 2018 he was selected as a finalist, placing 2nd in the ESB Electric Ireland Feis Ceoil conducting competition, in which he conducted the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. Working with various ensembles, Tom has premiered orchestral works by many composers, including C.S.L Parker, Sam Perkin, Paul Patterson, Peter Power and Sam Barker. Tom is currently looking forward to his debut appearance conducting the Cork Fleischmann Symphony Orchestra in May 2018.


Cian Ó Duill, Viola

Cian O Duill

Cork born viola player Cian Ó Dúill has performed with the Vanbrugh, Carducci and Calino String Quartets, the Avalon Ensemble, Chroma and The Crash Ensemble. He has played in chamber music recitals with Anthony Marwood, Howard Shelley, Patricia Rozario, Natalie Clein, Benjamin Frith, and with members of the Leopold String Trio, the Nash Ensemble and Schubert Ensemble and has appeared at Cheltenham, Warwick Arts, Chichester, Aldeburgh, Wye Valley, Kings Lynn, Sligo Spring, and West Cork Chamber Music Festivals.

Cian was a founder member of both the Regent String Quartet and the Rothko String Trio. He is a member of the Oriel Trio (flute, viola and harp) and of the Chamber Players, a London based string sextet with whom he has recorded music by Mozart and Brahms. Concerto appearances include works by Bach, Telemann, Mozart, Bruch and Hindemith in Ireland, the UK and Spain.

Cian is a member of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, is co-principal viola with the London Mozart Players and has a busy freelance orchestral career playing regularly with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Camerata Ireland, London Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.


Aoife Nic Athlaoich, Cello

Dublin born Aoife Nic Athlaoich enjoys a versatile musical career, equally at home playing on period instruments as performing newly commissioned works. She has collaborated with Jazz musicians and contemporary dance groups, as well as playing under the baton as such eminent conductors as Sir John Elliot Gardiner, Sir Colin Davis and Bernard Haitink as an orchestral musician. Aoife has performed with the orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, la Serenissima, the Avison ensemble, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Classical Opera Company, London Mozart Players and is a member of the Irish Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique

Aoife has won prizes for solo and contemporary music performance at Feis Ceoil, Dublin as well as being awarded a Belfast Classical Music Bursary in 2007 and was awarded scholarships for her studies at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and at the Royal College of Music, London.

Aoife teaches cello at the Cork School of Music.


William Butt, Cello

William Butt

William Butt was born in London. He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Moray Welsh and after winning awards and scholarships such as the Royal Society of Arts, Martin Trust and first prize in the Muriel Taylor competition, he furthered his studies with Antonio Lysy in Montreal. He now enjoys a busy career as soloist, chamber musician and is professor of cello at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin.

On the concert platform he has performed extensively throughout Ireland, the UK, Europe and the Far East. He is a much admired exponent of the solo repertoire, having performed and broadcast numerous works for this medium by contemporary composers, as well as the formidable solo sonatas by Kodaly and Ligeti and the suites of Bach and Britten.

In recent seasons he has appeared as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the Orchestra of St Cecilia and the Ulster Orchestra for BBC Radio 3. He has worked with conductors such as Alexander Anissimov, Gerhard Markson, Rumon Gamba, Vernon Handley and Barry Douglas.


Malachy Robinson, Double Bass

Malachy began playing the double bass with the Dublin and Irish Youth Orchestras and, with the Dublin Youth Orchestra, he performed his first bass concerto in the National Concert Hall. Following this, he studied double bass in London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama (where his second study was conducting) he graduated at the top of his year with first-class honours and the Dove Memorial Prize for General Excellence.

After taking a Master’s Degree in Historical Musicology at the University of London, Malachy returned to Ireland in 1994 and has since been in constant demand, working in all idioms both on stage and in studio. Malachy is a founding member of both Irish Baroque Orchestra and Crash Ensemble, and is principal double bass with Irish Chamber Orchestra.


Oscar Valsecchi, Music Theatre

Oscar Valsecchi studied at the Ecole Internationale de Mimodrame de Marcel Marceau and graduated at the International School of Corporeal Mime of London, where he specialised in teaching and directing and was an assistant teacher of Steven Wasson y Corinne Soum for 8 years. He completed his training with dance, fencing and trapeze classes.

To this day Oscar has given classes and workshops for various entities, such as: the Scuola Movimento Danza of Naples, Accento Teatro in Rome, University DAMS in Bologna, the Circus Space and the City Lit in London, the London Mime Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

From 1998 to 2006 he was a member of the company Theatre de L’ange Fou, directed by Steven Wasson and Corinne Soum in London. He has collaborated with various theatre and circus artists and has performed in shows for adults and children that toured to Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom.

He has co created and acted in conferences-demonstrations for the Blue Raincoat Theatre, Ireland, ECUM of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, the Academy of Fine Arts of Naples and Lanificio25 in the same city.

Oscar is a co-founder and director of the company Teatro InSospeso, Naples. At present he is a mime teacher in MOVEO School of Corporeal Dramatic Mime of Barcelona and in the cinema school el Plato of Hospitalet.