Peter Whelan appointed Artistic Director of IBO



Acclaimed Irish director Peter Whelan has been appointed as the next Artistic Director of the Irish Baroque Orchestra and will commence his role in January 2018.

Peter has been principal bassoonist of Irish Baroque Orchestra since 2002, and in recent years has gained an exceptional international reputation as a director and harpsichordist. Peter has a longstanding relationship with Irish Baroque Orchestra and will drive forward the orchestra’s creative strategy in their annual Concert Season in Ireland and their international tours and performances. Peter is a passionate musical educator, holding a number of professorships at leading UK Conservatories including Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Royal Northern College of Music. He will also be influential in developing the next generation of IBO players through their education and engagement initiatives.

In recent years Peter has been integral to the discovery and resurgence of 18th century Irish music and is passionate about reconnecting Irish audiences with their classical music past. He is working on projects to bring Ireland’s historical musical personalities and stories to contemporary Irish audiences.

Since 2004, Irish Baroque Orchestra has been under the stewardship of leading baroque violinist, Monica Huggett. Monica will be assuming the role of Artistic Director Emeritus from next year.

Cian Elliott, CEO, Irish Baroque Orchestra: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Peter Whelan as Artistic Director of Irish Baroque Orchestra. Peter has been a key figure in IBO for many years and he is perfectly served to develop and drive the orchestra’s artistic strategy into the future. His reputation as a director has grown exponentially over the last number of years and we are greatly excited to bring his magnificent artistry to Irish audiences on a regular basis.

We are at an exciting time in the orchestra’s development and are creating ambitious plans for the orchestra, both home and abroad. Peter’s main area of expertise and research focuses on connecting Ireland with its musical past and this will be a key strand of our artistic mission in the coming years. He is already a firm favourite with Irish audiences and we look forward to great musical experiences together over the coming years.”

Peter Whelan, “It is a huge honour for me to be appointed Artistic Director of Irish Baroque Orchestra. I first performed with IBO in 2002 and have come to consider these musicians to be my musical family. Together we have shared countless firsts and musical highlights and I hope to continue this trajectory in my new role as Artistic Director.

In recent years the main focus of my work has been to explore forgotten music of 18th century Ireland, proving that Handel’s visit was the crowning glory of many years of musical excellence rather than an isolated incident and that Ireland has a more deeply ingrained heritage in classical music than many realise.”

We have much to be proud of and I am very excited to continue this journey, sharing our discoveries not only with our audience at home but also championing this music abroad. We recognise the importance of inspiring and educating young musicians and this will allow us to pass the mantel onto future generations through our education and engagement channels.”

Paul Harwood, Chairman,Irish Baroque Orchestra heralded the appointment stating “This is an extremely exciting development for Irish Baroque Orchestra. The combination of an energetic CEO and the artistic leadership of Peter Whelan will serve the orchestra extremely well in delivering its artistic and strategic goals. Given Peter’s artistic credentials and his close connections to IBO, he is well served to build on the excellent work done by Monica Huggett over the last number of years. We look forward to entering this next chapter in IBO’s history.”

Peter Whelan directs IBO’s annual tour of Handel’s Messiah this December, at National Opera House Wexford (7 December), St Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin (8 December), and Galway Cathedral (9 December). The annual Messiah performances are the crowning glory of IBO’s concert season and the Dublin performance is already close to selling out. Peter Whelan directs the virtuosic Resurgam chorus with a first- class line-up of Irish soloists; Sarah Power, Sharon Carty, Peter Harris and Brian McAlea. This is a major highlight of Dublin’s festive musical calendar.

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