Artistic Staff

Below are the IYBO Artistic Staff for 2023. Please keep an eye on this page for any further updates on 2024 staff.

Claire Duff, Director

Claire Duff is an internationally acclaimed violinist, in demand as a soloist, chamber musician, leader and director. Claire has worked as Director of the Irish Baroque Orchestra and the Irish National Opera, while also nurturing emerging talent as the Artistic Director of the award-winning Irish Youth Baroque Orchestra. Claire is Associate Leader of the Irish Baroque Orchestra, with whom she has performed and recorded as soloist to critical acclaim for over twenty years. Claire has worked as leader of the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, under the batons of Sinkovsky, Hill and Davies. Her leadership extends across prestigious baroque ensembles such as Florilegium, I Fagiolini, and The King’s Consort and she has co-led the Academy of Ancient Music and The English Concert. She has toured extensively across Europe, Asia, and America with these distinguished period instrument ensembles.
Claire was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) in London in 2016 and received the Arts Council of Ireland Bursary Award in 2021. In 2022, Camerata Kilkenny earned the prestigious Jurica Murai prize at the Varazdin Baroque Festival in Croatia and received the following review from the jury; “The concertmaster of the Irish Baroque Orchestra and the first violin of the Camerata Kilkenny, virtuoso violinist Claire Duff has a particularly high level of artistic preparation. Her way of playing music, technical bravura and way of conducting each of the interpretations are truly exemplary.” Michael Dervan wrote in The Irish Times; “Duff has a winning way with improvisatory impetuosity and filigree decoration in this kind of repertoire…the playing of these two sonatas came across with persuasive flourish”. 

Claire has had many solo works composed for her including pieces by Karen Power, Eoghan Desmond, Sean Doherty, Jane O Leary (performed with harpsichordist Benjamin Alard) and Sam Perkins (The Copy and the Original performed with Diane Daly). She teaches baroque violin and historically informed performance at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and directs the RIAM Baroque String Ensemble.

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Malcolm Proud, Continuo (Harpsichord)

Malcolm Proud won first prize at the Edinburgh International Harpsichord Competition in 1982. He has performed at all the major Irish festivals and has toured Finland, Denmark, Holland, UK, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, USA., Japan, Canada, Estonia, Latvia, Belgium, Austria and Portugal. In 2016 he gave harpsichord recitals at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, at Fenton House in London playing the Queen’s 1612 Ruckers, at the Cobbe Collection of Historical Keyboard Instruments in Hatchlands, Surrey, and at Handel House in London.

Organist of St Canice’s Cathedral in Kilkenny, his CD of Bach’s Clavierübung III recorded on the Metzler Organ at Stein am Rhein in Switzerland was released in 2008 on the Maya Recordings label.

In 2010 Malcolm Proud played all six of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos with Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s English Baroque Soloists at the London Proms and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany. He is co-founder with Swiss violinist Maya Homburger of Camerata Kilkenny and has performed concertos with the Academy of Ancient Music and the European Union Baroque Orchestra.

He has recorded Bach’s 5th Brandenburg Concerto with both the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the English Baroque Soloists. His most recent recording – J.S. Bach’s Six Partitas for Harpsichord on the Maya Recordings Label – has been critically acclaimed.

Malcolm Proud is supported by Music Network’s Music Capital Scheme, funded by The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Music Network is funded by The Arts Council.

Rachel Factor, Continuo (Harpsichord)

Rachel Factor was introduced to the harpsichord when she began her BA Piano Performance studies at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Upon leaving The Royal Irish Academy of Music, Rachel received tutelage from many highly esteemed artists such as Carole Cerasi, Laurence Cummings, Malcom Proud, and Christophe Rousset in advanced masterclasses.

Rachel has performed extensively throughout Ireland as a soloist and chamber musician and has performed with many of Ireland’s leading ensembles. She also performs in many ensembles performing Baroque music and also with the Baroque/Irish fusion group Sonamus. In London, Rachel has performed on multiple occasions at the Handel House Museum.

In addition to performing work, Rachel is a harpsichord professor at The Conservatory of Music and Drama at TU Dublin. Rachel is also local centre examiner for the Royal Irish Academy of Music. In a curatorial role, Rachel co-directed the successful ‘Alchemy Music Concert Series’ with Baroque guitarist Eamon Sweeney from 2010 until 2019.

Rachel plays a single manual ‘petit ravelmant’ Flemish harpsichord crafted by Andrew Wooderson after Ioannes Ruckers 1685. Rachel also plays a virginal harpsichord by Andrew Garlick after Queen Elizabeth Virginal housed at the Victoria and Albert Museum London.

Nathan Sherman, Viola

Nathan Sherman is an American-born viola player currently based in Dublin. From an early age Nathan was drawn to the dark sounds of the viola and has dedicated his life to the exploration of the instrument. Passionate about new music, Nathan has premiered many works and has recorded and broadcast with Ergodos, Crash Ensemble, Kirkos, and Evlana. His album, Totemic with percussionist Alex Petcu received critical acclaim with Nathan’s sound being described as ”rich and raw”-Journal of Music.

Nathan is Artistic Director and violist of Ficino Ensemble, an acclaimed music group that is devoted to the performance of classical and contemporary chamber music. The group recently released a debut recording, Winter, with music by Garrett Sholdice, Maurice Ravel and Johannes Brahms which was hailed as “intelligently programmed and superbly played.”(Classical Ear). The ensemble regularly performs as a string quartet at the National Concert Hall String Quartet Series and will release a second album, Folk Songs in July 2022.

As an orchestral player, Nathan plays with all the orchestras of Ireland and has performed throughout Europe, China, South America, the Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Les Château de Versailles (Paris), Royal Albert Hall (London) and the Palazzo Ducale (Mantova). As a Baroque violist, Nathan regularly appears with the Irish Baroque Orchestra, Camerata Kilkenny and Ensemble Marsyas.

Sarah McMahon, Cello

Sarah McMahon began her cello studies with Nora Gilleece at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin in 1987. In 1995 she moved to London where she studied at the Royal Academy of Music with David Strange, Jenny Ward-Clarke and Colin Carr, graduating in 2001 with a first class BMus and a DipRAM distinction.

Sarah is passionate about historical performance and is principal cellist with the Irish Baroque Orchestra and Academy of Ancient Music, and Camerata Kilkenny. She is also regularly invited to play as guest principal cellist with Arcangelo, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Aurora Orchestra.

Sarah is a dedicated chamber musician and a founder member of the Callino String Quartet. The Quartet was founded in 1999 and enjoys performing a challenging and eclectic repertoire, having worked with numerous composers including Kurtàg, Vasks, Kevin Volans, Aleksandra Vrebalov and Ian Wilson on their compositions for string quartet. They have also collaborated with diverse artists such as the Belcea Quartet, Edgar Meyer, rock band Arcade Fire and jazz guitarist John Abercrombie.

Sarah has appeared as concerto soloist with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Irish Baroque Orchestra and featured in a critically acclaimed disc for Hyperion of the Vivaldi Double Cello Concerto with Jonathan Cohen and the King’s Consort.

Miriam Kaczor, Baroque wind

Miriam has always been fascinated by early music and picked up the traverso while studying for her BA at the Royal Irish Academy of Music where she studied flute with William Dowdall and piccolo with Patricia Morris. She was initially mentored by the organ/harpsichord professor, David Adams. She continued to teach herself traverso until receiving an Arts Council Travel and Training Award, which enabled her to take lessons from Lisa Beznosiuk and Rachel Brown in London. Since then she has performed with period-instrument groups such as Ex Cathedra and Camerata Kilkenny and is a regular guest with the Irish Baroque Orchestra. As a Britten-Pears Young Artist, she has taken part in Bach Cantata projects and she was also a scholarship participant of the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra mentoring programme.

An accomplished modern flautist, Miriam was the Irish Freemasons’ Young Musician of the Year in 2015 and recipient of the inaugural RDS Jago Award in 2017. She has appeared as a soloist with the RTÉ National Symphony and Concert Orchestras, Ulster Orchestra, Dublin Orchestral Players, and the Esker Festival Orchestra. A keen chamber musician, she has previously performed with groups the Vanbrugh Quartet, Crash Ensemble, Westland Wind Quintet. She is a member of the Dublin-based experimental new music group, Kirkos Ensemble.

Miriam is grateful for the support of Music Network and is funded by The Arts Council, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, RTÉ lyric fm, Flax Trust, South Dublin County Council, and RIAM.

William Gough, Woodwind

William Gough was born in Milton Keynes, England in 1997 and played piano, guitar, and bassoon from an early age. He studied bassoon in London at the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music before deciding to take historical performance more seriously and studying in Den Haag, Netherlands where he is currently taught bassoon by Wouter Verschuren and Donna Agrell and oboe by Frank de Bruine. He has played with groups such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The Hanover Band, the Irish Baroque Orchestra, the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, and Holland Baroque.

Mary Collins, Early Dance

Mary Collins is an Early Dance specialist whose research and teaching approach has inspired musicians to look afresh at the dance music that is at the heart of the baroque repertoire bringing, in turn, a fresh perspective on the great composers of the baroque era. A practitioner and researcher, she has worked with dance, theatre and TV companies as an adviser, choreographer, dancer and actress and tours regularly giving master-classes, lecture-recitals and workshops. A faculty member of Aestas Musica in Croatia, the Austria Barokakademie and, for 26 years, the Ringve International Summer Course in Norway, she regularly collaborates with many of the world’s leading exponents of early music.

Reviving original choreography and gesture for historical performance, Mary promotes a vibrant, multi-disciplinary approach to music making, valued by artists and audiences alike.

A practitioner and researcher, she performs regularly with the London Handel Players and Florilegium, giving master classes, lecture-recitals and workshops to dancers and musicians throughout the world. Mary teaches at the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music in London, also as a guest at the University of Birmingham. She is often invited to work with orchestras, most recently the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Southbank Sinfonia.

Sabine Volkmann, Feldenkrais

Sabine Volkmann completed her BA course in music 1992 in Nuremberg, Germany and became a flute teacher and performer.

After an Ilse Middendorf breathing therapy workshop in 1986, Sabine explored different body performance methods, including Eutonie, Alexander Technique, Biodynamic Massage, and finished her Feldenkrais training in England in 1994. Since 1993, she has been teaching the Feldenkrais Method with groups and individuals and was a board member of the German Feldenkrais Guild from 1998 – 2002.

In 2001, Sabine moved to Ireland where she started her full-time Feldenkrais practice in Dublin. Since then, she has completed training in Deep Imagery and Hakomi. In 2014, she trained in Reconnective Healing.

In her practice, she synthesises all four methods, depending on the needs of the client. As they all are based on an organic learning process and the self-healing capacity of the body, mind and spirit they complement each other and can mutually support each other’s benefits.