Making Music with The Marble Collective: the Kerry Teaching Residency

Making Music with The Marble Collective: the Kerry Teaching Residency

Making Music with The Marble Collective: the Kerry Teaching Residency
Music Network and St John’s Theatre & Arts Centre, Listowel invited County Kerry residents aged 55 and over to join an exciting music project with The Marble Collective, featuring renowned musicians Laoise O’Brien (recorders), Michael O’Toole (guitar) and Maria Ryan (violin).

The focus of this project is on returning to playing an instrument and sharing the joy of group music-making.

Participants are currently receiving tuition on recorders, guitar or violin from members of The Marble Collective between March and May 2022. Benefitting from the combined musical backgrounds of The Marble Collective members, the tuition programme offers participants the opportunity to explore music that spans several centuries, from the Renaissance and classical eras to popular folk tunes. Tuition is free of charge and instruments have been provided where necessary for the duration of the project.

Applicants must be aged 55 or over, resident in County Kerry, and have some previous experience of playing music. Some experience of reading music is an advantage.

The project will be based primarily at St John’s Theatre & Arts Centre, Listowel, but additional local venues may also be used.

Making Music with The Marble Collective: the Kerry Teaching Residency is presented by Music Network and St John’s Theatre & Arts Centre, Listowel. Music Network is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland. St John's Theatre & Arts Centre is funded by Kerry County Council and the Arts Council of Ireland.


On Saturdays and Sundays during March and April 2022, participants will receive eight one-to-one instrumental lessons with the relevant musician, in addition to three group lessons with others playing the same instrument.

The project will conclude with three large ensemble sessions on 30th April, 1st May and 7th May, where all participants will join together with the professional musicians to play the music learned during the project. As well as playing together, the participants will enjoy three informal coffee sessions which will include chats on wide-ranging musical topics.

Please note, participants must be available on all of the dates listed. While the preference is for in-person events wherever possible, lessons may take place via video call if necessary, e.g. in line with public health directives. Technical support to enable online learning will be provided to participants if necessary.

Places are limited to 15. Priority will be given on a first come first served basis, however additional criteria that will be taken into account for selection include availability of teaching slots, availability of instruments and ability to partake in the full programme. Closing date for applications: 26th January 2022, 2pm.

*For lessons 1- 8, participants will each be allocated a 40 minute slot within the time frames set out below. Group lessons, coffee sessions and ensemble sessions involve all participants for the full duration.

Mar 5th – Introductory session (3.30pm – 5pm)
Mar 6th – Lesson 1 (10am – 2pm)
Mar 12th – Lesson 2 (12pm – 4pm)
Mar 13th – Lesson 3 (10am – 2pm)
Mar 19th – Lesson 4 (12pm – 4pm)
Mar 20th – Lesson 5 (10am – 2pm)
Mar 26th – Group lesson 1 & Coffee Session 1 (12pm – 4pm)
Mar 27th – Lesson 6 (10am – 2pm)
Apr 2nd – Lesson 7 (12pm – 4pm)_
Apr 3rd – Group lesson 2 & Coffee Session 2 (10am – 2pm)
Apr 9th – Lesson 8 (12pm – 4pm)
Apr 10th – Group lesson 3 & Coffee Session 3 (10am – 2pm)
Apr 30th – Ensemble Session 1 (12pm – 3pm)
May 1st – Ensemble session 2 (10am – 1pm)
May 7th – Ensemble session 3 (12pm -3pm)

Laoise O'Brien (recorders)
Maria Ryan
Michael O'Toole

The Marble Collective comprises musicians Laoise O’Brien (recorders), Maria Ryan (violin) and Michael O’Toole (guitar) who bring together wide ranging experience and expertise.They perform music from the 1500s through to modern day, including works by composers such as John Dowland, J.S. Bach, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Scott Joplin and Philip Glass, in addition to Irish tunes and folk music from all over Europe.

Laoise O'Brien is a musician and producer based in Kilkenny City in Ireland. She divides her time between her music production company and her career-long championing of the recorder. She studied flute at the College of Music in Dublin, recorder at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, and holds a Masters in musicology from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

As a performer, Laoise is in regular demand and has appeared as a soloist and guest musician with numerous ensembles including the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Irish Baroque Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Opera Theatre Company, Resurgam, Sestina, The Irish Consort, and Camerata Kilkenny. She is a member of the early music group, The Gregory Walkers and is one half of the duo, Temenos with clarinetist, Paul Roe. This unusual pairing of instruments has resulted in many new compositions for the duo.

Laoise has been involved in the design and delivery of programmes for Kilkenny Arts Festival, Galway Early Music Festival, East Cork Early Music Festival, Killaloe Chamber Music Festival, MusicTown, The Ark Children's Cultural Centre, Culture Night, LoveLive Music, Music Network, Music Generation, Dublin Institute of Technology, The Heritage Council, and RTÉ.

Laoise was the featured artist of the hugely popular Kaleidoscope Night series for the 2018/2019 season.

In addition, Laoise has presented two documentaries for RTÉ lyric fm: the award winning, Sonnets for the Cradle and Goedemorgen, Amsterdam, a feature on the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland's tour to the Netherlands in 2018.

Laoise holds a lecturing position at the TU Dublin Conservatoire of Music. She has previously lectured in the CIT Cork School of Music and is regularly invited to examine, adjudicate and deliver workshops in institutes around the country.

Award-winning Irish violinist Maria Ryan returned to her native Kilkenny in 2019, after a decade performing in, and touring from, London, UK. She performs as soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician. Maria is also a lecturer in the MTU Cork School of Music.

As soloist Maria has performed the concertos of Mozart, Locatelli, Beethoven, and Vivaldi with various orchestras. Her work as an Orchestral leader has led to a wide variety of performances over the years, under the batons of Sir Charles MacKerras, Barry Wordsworth and Nicholas Cleobury, performing Scheherazade with The Orchestra of the Arts London, to a UK tour leading the Orchestra for singer Dionne Warwick.

A keen chamber musician, Maria completed a nationwide tour with the recently formed Banbha String Quartet in association with the National String Quartet Foundation in October 2020. She was also invited to perform at The NCH Chamber Music Gathering at the National Concert Hall in January 2020. Maria was a founding member of the Amarillo Trio in 2011. They performed extensively with tours in Spain, Italy, the UK and Ireland at the invitation of Kilkenny Arts Festival. She was selected to perform as part of Southbank Sinfonia’s Chamber music showcase in the Wigmore Hall in 2010. She completed a Music Network Tour with pianist Úna Hunt in 2012 and has also performed in Duo partnership with Ciara Moroney. In 2021 Maria recorded with pianist Dr. Gabriela Mayer with support from The Arts Council of Ireland Agility Fund, and they performed as part of the Triskel Summer series in Cork.

Maria enjoyed an eclectic mix of orchestral performing in London, from performing ‘Live to picture’ performances of films with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Royal Albert Hall, to performances of Symphonies with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in the Barbican Hall. She also performed extensively with the BBC Concert Orchestra, acting as guest principal 2nd violin, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, the London Concert Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra.

For many years now, Maria has enjoyed immensely performing with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and Camerata Ireland. She has worked under the baton of many renowned conductors, among them - Vasily Petrenko, Marin Alsop, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Pinchas Zukerman, Brett Dean and Oliver Knussen. Maria has recorded and performed with artists including singer/songwriter Rumer, and Laura Mvula, Sinéad O’ Connor, The Jacksons, ABC, Rick Astley, Andrea Bocelli, and The Mavericks.

Maria has performed extensively throughout the world, including in renowned concert halls such as the Wigmore Hall London, Konzerthaus Berlin, Carnegie Hall New York, The Royal Albert Hall London, the Shostakovich Philharmonic Grand Hall St. Petersburg, and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden London.

Maria is fortunate to have studied with world class musicians throughout her musical education. As a part-time student of the Royal Irish Academy of Music she studied with Maeve Broderick, and Geraldine O’ Grady whilst studying for her Undergraduate degree in UCD. Maria continued her studies with Ruxandra Petcu-Colan, being awarded a first class honours M.A. in performance from the CIT Cork School of Music. Her studies then brought her to the Hochschule für Musik Köln to study in the class of Emilian Piedicuta for her Post Graduate Diploma in Violin Performance.

Maria moved to London where she was awarded the position of leader of Southbank Sinfonia for their 2010 season. During this time she also acted as director and soloist with the orchestra. Maria has had the great privilege to receive guidance from some of the world’s most respected violinists including Mariana Sirbu, Constantin Serban, Olivier Charlier, Adelina Oprean, Paul Biss, and Rainer Honeck.

Maria was the 2010 winner of the Heineken Violin Competition and winner of the RDS Music Bursary in 2008. She currently plays on a Roger Hansell violin.

Dr Michael O’Toole is one of the leading guitarists in Ireland today. He has performed all over the world to great acclaim and has worked with many other world-class musicians and ensembles. He completed his PhD in 2018 in the Conservatory of Music and Drama at Technical University Dublin. In 2019 Michael published the book John Williams: Changing the Culture of the Classical Guitar, with Routledge Publishers. Throughout his career, Michael has balanced his busy performing schedule with an active role in promoting the instrument at home and abroad. He spent three years as Artistic Director of The Waltons Guitar Festival, in Dublin and in 2007, was curator of the Chord Festival, which brought an array of excellent musicians including John Williams to Ennis, Co. Clare. Michael is currently a director of the prestigious Kilkenny Arts Festival.

Michael recorded the solo cd Invocation in 2007, which receives regular airplay on Lyric FM and RTE Radio 1. He is well-known for collaborating with others and has worked with many different groups such as the RTE Concert Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, The Opera Theatre Company, The Beckett Guitar Quartet, The Dublin Guitar Quartet, Impromp2, The Carducci Quartet, The Callino Quartet and many others. He has been involved in a hugely successful duo project with famous Chinese pipa virtuoso Liu Fang (the only known collaboration between classical guitar and pipa), which led to the acclaimed recording Changes in 2008 and a number of concerts since then around Ireland. The duo have performed in Mexico as part of the prestigious ‘Zacatecas Festival’ and Michael has also worked with many high-profile Irish composers such as David Fennessy, Eric Sweeney, Ian Wilson and Anna Rice in addition to working with international composers Toshiyuki Haraoki, Clark Ross and Philip Glass. Recently he recorded a live concert from Wells House in Wexford that was braodcast on Lyric FM with musicians from the Medici Ensemble.

Michael studied for many years with Irish virtuoso John Feeley and subsequently with Ricardo Iznaola in Denver Colorado. He has a deep commitment to education and teaches in the Royal Irish Academy of Music and at Waterford Institute of Technology’s Department of Creative Arts. He has previously taught with great distinction in the TU Conservatory of Music and Drama and has been employed as a 2nd, 3rd and post-graduate level examiner at the RIAM, DIT, WIT, Cork School of Music and Dundalk Institute of Technology.

Michael performs on a guitar made by Philip Woodfield Moore.