The Awards Ceremony in the CIT Cork School of Music on 5/11/15 promises to be glittering occasion.

The Awards Ceremony in the CIT Cork School of Music on 5/11/15 promises to be glittering occasion.

Published on: Friday, 30 October 2015



The Awards Ceremony in the CIT Cork School of Music at 3.00pm on Thursday 5 November 2015 promises to be glittering occasion. Apart from honouring every student who gained first place in each year of all the CSM's full-time degree courses, the CSM will celebrate the achievements of three distinguished alumni - Gary Curtin (Principal Euphonium of the Black Dyke Band), Michele Fleming (2nd violinist of the Carducci Quartet) and John O'Brien (conductor and composer) - and Micheál Martin TD will address the assembly.


Gary Curtin is a Cork native whose early training on Euphonium was with the Mayfield Brass Band. Subsequent studies in the CIT Cork School of Music led to First-class Honours BMus and MA in Performance degrees and a national award from the Yamaha Foundation. He went on to further post-graduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and became a member of Wingate’s Band and the Fairey (Geneva) Band before being appointed to the Principal Euphonium seat in the Black Dyke Band during 2010 – considered the premier such brass-band position world-wide.  He received the Geoff Whitham Memorial Award for ‘Best Euphonium’ at both the 2010 and 2014 British Open championships and was awarded the ‘Best Soloist” prize at the 2015 European Championships, at which Black Dyke received the premier award.  Gary is also active as an orchestral specialist on both euphonium and bass trumpet and performs regularly with the RTÉNSO. 

Cork native Michelle Fleming is second violinist of the renowned Carducci String Quartet. Growing up in Bishopstown, Michelle began playing the violin at the age of just seven in the CIT Cork School of Music, and on leaving school continued her studies there, graduating with a First-class Honours BMus and an MA in Violin Performance. After a distinguished student career during which she was leader of both the CSM Symphony Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland, and winner with fellow CSM students of the RTÉ Millenium Musician of the Future Chamber Music Competition, Michelle moved to the Royal Northern College of Music to continue her studies with Wen Zhou Li.  The Carducci Quartet came together during this time and quickly established its credentials, winning the Kuhmo International Chamber Music Competition in Finland, the Charles Hennen International Chamber Music Competition in Holland, and major awards at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in Japan.  On winning the gold award at the Castagnetto–Carducci Festival in 1997 they adopted the name Carducci Quartet with the blessing of the town's mayor.  They now perform over ninety concerts a year all over the world and have received wide critical acclaim for recordings on their own record label.  This year they sees the quartet present the complete cycle of Shostakovich’s String Quartets internationally to commemorate forty years since the composer's death.  The Carducci Quartet members are husband and wife Matthew and Emma Denton, violin and cello, and Michelle Fleming violin and her husband Eoin Schmidt-Martin, viola, also a Cork native. They will commence performing the complete cycle of Shostakovich quartets in the CIT Cork School of Music's Curtis Auditorium at 8.00m p.m. on Thursday 5 November 2015, and this will be the first time the cycle has ever been presented in Ireland.

John O'Brien is a conductor, director and composer based in Cork. He was a scholarship student at the Schola Cantorum, St Finian's College, Mullingar, and was awarded a First-class Honours BMus and an MA in Conducting from the CIT Cork School of Music. He has worked on over forty different productions of opera and musical theatre in Ireland, the UK and Canada, and has toured with choirs across Europe, Japan and China.  Recent work includes directing & musical direction for Faust, Der Vampyr, Orpheus, Pagliacci (Best Opera - Irish Times Theatre Awards) in the Everyman Theatre; The Kiss of the Spider Woman - Half Moon/Cork Opera House Dido & Aeneas - Cork Opera House and Irish tour; Candide - Cork Opera House; The Magic Flute - Cork Opera House and regional tour.  Musical direction: Maria de Buenos Aires - Cork Opera House; Spindle - Big House Festival; Thamyrus & Time for Earthenware - Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Sweeney Todd - Everyman and Cork Opera House; Side by Side by Sondheim - Everyman; West Side Story - Cork Opera House; Honk! - Globe, Regina, Canada; and Cabaret - NTS, Montreal.  His compositions include Easter 1919 - premièred by Fiona Shaw and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra; his first symphony - premièred by Wexford Gateway Orchestra; a string quartet - towards a new enlightenment...; scores for the feature films Tree Keeper and Shem the Penman Sings Again (which has just premièred at the Galway Film Fleadh); as well as other short films, choral works, piano pieces and numerous operatic, choral and orchestral arrangements.  Other projects include directing the dance film Inner Landscapes; conducting a recording with the National Chamber Choir; and playing piano with Karen Underwood.

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