The story behind the concert Series
Music gives me a buzz. Putting together and promoting concerts that I believe in gives me joy. Hearing the response from audience members and performers fills me with excitement. I now couldn’t imagine my life without Drogheda Classical Music.
I started the Series in 2012 when I was at home with my first daughter. Returning to work full time wasn’t an option at the time and yet I wanted to keep my brain active and create a social outlet for myself. I looked in to re-establishing the Music Series previously run by Drogheda Boro’ Council which was greeted by full support from Droichead Arts Centre, Louth County Council and the Arts Council. The Series gives me an outlet beyond family life. It allows me to stay connected with my former colleagues and to make new associations.
We’ve had so many great artists here, some emerging and some at the top of their careers but all have had a positive experience and expressed their delight to be here.
Pauline Ashwood, Artistic Advisor
The Drogheda Classical Music Series has grown to be one of the most important and enjoyable features of the town’s cultural life.
St Peter’s Church of Ireland is the perfect setting for our classical music concerts.
St Peter’s Church of Ireland dates back to before 1186, and has played a monumental role in the town of Drogheda from the very beginning. The venue has an incredible wealth of history, although how it became our venue is a much more recent occurrence.
In 1999, the Church was victim of an arson attack, severely damaging the building’s interior. In a community effort, the Vestry and people of Drogheda supported the decision to repair not only the damage, but undertake a complete restoration of the site.
The project created an opportunity for the Church to be used by the wider community. With the beautiful interior, featuring nods to late Baroque, and phenomenal natural acoustics, it was an obvious choice as a music venue – not to mention the exquisite Steinway Concert Grand that Drogheda Borough Council bought with the help of an Arts Council grant.
St Peter’s Church sets the scene for our classical music Series perfectly, providing ambience, beauty and outstanding acoustics.
Meet the Artistic Committee behind the concert Series
Pauline is the strength, stamina and vision behind the concert Series. Since organising the first Series in 2012, she has dedicated her time to sustaining the high quality of artist, establishing it’s recognition and growing a loyal audience.
Pauline graduated with a degree in Music Education from Trinity College Dublin and the Royal Irish Academy of Music. She taught singing and music at Alexandra College, Dublin but following a Post-Graduate Diploma in Arts Administration from UCD, swapped the classroom for the role of Audience Development Officer at Opera Theatre Company. Between 2003-2009, she was manager of the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet and Regional Development Officer for RTÉ Performing Groups and in 2009, was appointed Planning and Projects Administrator with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. From 2000 until 2016, Pauline was a voluntary member of the Committee for the Dublin International Piano Competition.
Since leaving RTÉ in 2011, Pauline has worked as a contractor for the Julianstown Youth Orchestra, Wide Open Music, Drogheda Arts Festival in addition to setting up Drogheda Classical Music.
A native of Drogheda, Susan graduated with a BA in Music and Medieval Irish in 2006 from NUI Maynooth, and with an MA in Computer Music in 2007. She has significant experience in music librarianship, as orchestral librarian with both the RTÉ Orchestras and also as broadcast media researcher in the BBC Central Music Library. Susan has also worked with the BBC Proms and The Helix in DCU.
Communications expert, Gavin Duffy, has spent the past 25 years delivering consultancy, communications and leadership development training to CEOs, Managing Directors and senior executive teams in some of the world’s leading companies. As one of Ireland’ top entrepreneurs, Gavin is publicly known for his work with entrepreneurs on all eight series of RTE’s Dragons’ Den.
Áine received a scholarship to study architecture at UCD and returned to the School of Architecture for her PhD in Architecture. As part of this research Áine has run a highly successful series of concerts in country houses and has set up her own production company to produce @TheDrawingRoom Áine is an accomplished violinist and pianist.
Aoife Ruane is director of Highlanes Municipal Art Gallery and chairperson of Drogheda Arts Festival. Aoife is Member of the Governing Body of IADT as well as a member of the board of directors for The Irish Museums Association. She is much in demand as a curator and consultant on all aspects of Irish art.
Fergus Sheil is a conductor and producer of opera and music projects of artistic vision and ambition based in Ireland. He is artistic director of the newly formed Irish National Opera. He has secured an enviable reputation for producing high-profile and critically-acclaimed opera productions such as Tristan und Isolde (2012), The Barber of Seville (2016) and Donnacha Dennehy’s The Last Hotel (with Landmark Productions). Fergus also set up the Julianstown Youth Orchestra.