Greg Beardsell is Artistic Director of the Irish Youth Choir, of Ulster Youth Choir and Associate Musical Director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. Spring 2012 saw him form an elite ensemble from present members, The Irish Youth Chamber Choir, and he led them in their inaugural national tour in Spring 2012. Between 2004 and 2009 Greg was Music Director of the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and collaborated on many successful recording projects, which included Finzi's Intimations of Immortality, Elgar's The Music Makers (Grammy Award nominated) and Orff's Carmina Burana.
Since 2009 he has acted as workshop leader, composer and performer for Faber Music's Sing up! Programme and since January 2012 has been appointed a Music Mentor in Music for Youth's Regional and national Festivals. Greg is also official Host for Choir of the Year 2012 and will be adjudicating at the Grand Final in October. In recent years Greg has worked with the St Endellion Festival Chorus, the BBC Symphony Chorus, the London Bach Choir and the London Symphony Chorus and prepared choruses for conductors such as Marin Alsop, Edward Gardner and Sir Colin Davis. He has directed the Sagittarian Consort of Cambridge, the Classical Soloists Orchestra, The National Youth Orchestras of Ireland and of Ulster, the City of London Sinfonia, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra.
Last year in collaboration with the Gabrieli Consort and Players, the Ulster Youth Choir performed at the Royal Albert Hall for the first time in their history, recreating the first ever performance of Mendelssohn's Elijah. Also with the Ulster Youth Choir, in October 2011, Greg directed the largest ever performance of Carmina Burana in Northern Ireland with 250 singers from schools and choirs together with a combined orchestra of 120. This year, he has been Vocal Projects Director for the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, working alongside composer Anna Meredith to produce a work solely using beat boxing and body percussion entitled Handsfree.
Eunan McDonald started singing as a child with The Palestrina Choir in Dublin and has been immersed in choral music both in Ireland and abroad ever since. He performs regularly with The Keynotes, Resurgam and has been a member of The National Chamber Choir of Ireland (formerly RTE Chamber Choir), Lord of the Dance, Riverdance, The Sunbeams Barbershop Quartet, Christchurch Cathedral Choir and The Choir of St. Teresa’s, Clarendon St. to name but a few.
In 2005 he toured throughout North America as Choral Director of Celtic Woman, the internationally acclaimed show. He has in recent years has turned his hand to music composition with some success. Since 2007 he has been Section Leader to the bass lines of Irish Youth Choir, Ulster Youth Choir and Senior Section Leader to the National Youth Training Choirs of Great Britain and continues to work as a freelance singer, conductor and teacher of mathematics, singing and choirs at Blackrock College, Holy Child Killiney and St. Columba’s College.
Helen Hassett commenced her singing studies at the Cork School of music with renowned Singing Teacher, Robert Beare in 1990. During these years of study in Cork she won numerous scholarships and prizes in singing competitions and performed the premiere of several new Irish compositions.
Upon obtaining an Honours Bachelor Degree of Music in 1993 she secured a place at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London where she completed a postgraduate Diploma in Early Music Performance in 1995. Helen then returned to Cork and earned a First Class Honours Teaching Diploma from the Cork School of Music.
Since her first solo professional performance at the age of 19, Helen emerged as one of Ireland's finest young sopranos. A string of performances during her earliest years with The RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Orchestra of St Cecilia, Cork Symphony Orchestra and Dublin Baroque Players re-enforced her reputation of excellence as a recitalist and concert soloist.
Helen performs regularly with her accompanist the acclaimed pianist Nicole Panizza. In recent years Helen became a part time member of the prestigious National Chamber Choir of Ireland, the only working professional choir in the country.
Anne Barry is an established music educator and choral practitioner who has taught as a primary and secondary music teacher for many years, and has conducted children's, youth, collegiate, adult and senior citizen community choirs in her native Waterford, and beyond.
Although currently taking time out to further her studies, Anne is head of a busy music department at Newtown School where she conducted the award-winning school choirs. The school’s mixed-voice choir had the great privilege of performing at the Church of St. Martin in the Fields, London in March 2011 and in the same month they claimed the mixed-voice post-primary schools title at the Cork Choral Festival for the third successive year. In addition to her teaching, Anne works for the Department of Education and Skills as a leading facilitator and course designer for music educators at both primary and secondary levels.
Anne has worked with a number of amateur and semi-professional groups both here and abroad. She is conductor of Voci, the south east’s leading female voice choir and during this year has also enjoyed working with two of Ireland’s leading youth ensembles, the Irish Youth Chamber Choir and the UCD Choral Scholars. She has led many choirs to competitive success over the years, but Anne equally enjoys working with choirs at the community level, encouraging young people and adults to simply participate in one of life’s most accessible and enjoyable activities that is singing.
Anne has just completed her Masters in Music Education at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, and in August she moves to Tallahassee where she commences her Ph.D. in Music Education and Choral Conducting at Florida State University. There she will study with Dr. Andre Thomas, a conductor, composer and choral clinician of world renown.
Alan Leech began his musical training in the brass band world before focusing on singing. Since graduating from UCC he has been much in demand as a singer and has appeared with most of the orchestras and choirs in Ireland both in opera and oratorio. Alan is currently a full time tenor with The National Chamber Choir of Ireland. Alan is also a lecturer in Voice at the Leinster School of Music & Drama, and Mater Dei Teacher Training College Dublin. Throughout the year Alan travels around the country work-shopping choirs. His teaching experience varies from one-on-one teaching right through to large groups, also in age from 4 years old right up to senior citizens. Having sung with the Irish Youth Choir both as a chorister and as a soloist for a number of years, Alan was delighted to be invited as the Tenor tutor in 2008 and is very pleased to have returned every year since.