It was noticeable right from the start in Stravinsky's Dumbarton Oaks Concerto which was played with such outstanding clarity and individual nuance and color in the winds that it sounded fresh and bright .... with a wicked sense of humor – and the musicians responded with glee to the music's circus atmosphere.
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Laurence Wittes, Bachtrack (Review of Ulster Orchestra online concert, 2021)
Irish conductor Sinead Hayes is equally at home working with choir, orchestra and in opera. She is emerging as one of Ireland's leading interpreters of contemporary music and opera, with a particular interest in the work of emerging and established Irish composers. The 2022/23 season is her ninth as conductor of the Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble (HRSE) in Belfast, and her second season as conductor of the Royal Irish Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra. In February 2022 she was appointed principal guest conductor of Galway's professional orchestra Luminosa.
She has worked with the Ulster Orchestra on a number of projects, since first working with the orchestra conducting 7 educational concerts around Northern Ireland in 2019. Most recently she returned in January 2023 to conduct the orchestra for an album of orchestral works by Belfast composer Greg Caffrey, due to be released later in 2023.
Highlights of previous seasons include making her debut with the Irish Chamber Orchestra (Der Schauspieldirektor for Irish National Opera), return visits to Northern Ireland Opera to conduct productions of Weill’s The Threepenny Opera, Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd and Greg Caffrey’s children’s opera The Chronic Identity Crisis of Pamplemousse, as well as working with Irish National Opera as assistant conductor and chorus master on Bartok: Bluebeard’s Castle, Dennehy: The Second Violinist, Verdi: Aida, Puccini: Madama Butterfly & Mozart die Zauberfloete. She also worked with Opera Collective Ireland and Crash Ensemble to conduct the world premiere performances of Raymond Deane's Opera Vagabones.
Sinead is also a professional level Irish traditional fiddle player, and in 2017 performed alongside members of the Berliner Philharmoniker in two of the orchestra's family concerts in the Philharmonie, Berlin.
She completed her MMus in conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music and her BMus in violin and composition at City University, London. Sinead also participated in masterclasses with Johannes Schlaefli, Sylvain Cambreling & Sir Roger Norrington among others. In 2014 she was one of three finalists in the Interaktion Conducting Workshop, chosen by the players of the Critical Orchestra Berlin (leader: Lothar Strauss), whose players are drawn from the Berlin Staatskapelle and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras. She has worked as assistant conductor to James Lowe (Halle Harmony Orchestra), Alex Ingram (British Youth Opera), André de Ridder (Irish National Opera) and others.
Sinead is committed to providing opportunities for emerging conductors in Ireland and has included assistant conductors in the majority of her recent projects. Her education work has been funded by the Irish Arts Council (Agility Award & Artist Bursary) and the Galway County Arts Office. She created the 'Discover Conducting' pack, deliverable by classroom music teachers to 1st and 2nd year secondary school students and she is also the creator and workshop leader of the Sandbox Conducting Sessions aiming to find, train and give opportunities to the next generation of conductors based on ability, regardless of gender, age or socio-economic background. In the development of her skills as a conducting teacher Sinead is very grateful for the mentorship of conductor Alice Farnham.
2022/23 CONDUCTING PERFORMANCES
KEY INTERESTS AS A CONDUCTOR
PROMOTING THE WORK OF IRISH COMPOSERS PAST & PRESENT
THE SANDBOX CONDUCTING SESSIONS
The Sandbox Conducting Sessions are a chance for any musician aged 14 - 101 to try out and develop their conducting skills with professional musicians, guided by conductor Sinead Hayes. All participants and observers take part in a 90 minute group conducting lesson. 8 - 10 participants then have a chance for a guided 10 minute individual session with professional string quartet.
The Sessions launched in January 2023 in Athenry and Limerick. 20 conductors, all of whom play an instrument to at least Grade V standard have participated so far, and more sessions are planned around the country to find, train and give opportunities to the next generations of conductors based on ability, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or socioeconomic background.
Sinead is grateful for the support of Galway County Arts Office, Athenry Music School and the Arts Council of Ireland for their support of the project, which meant that the cost to participants was just €20. Thanks too to conductor Alice Farnham, whose mentorship in developing Sinead's skills as a teacher has been invaluable.
If you are interested in hosting/including a Sandbox Conducting Session in your concert series or festival, get in touch. Sinead can also work with your orchestra to facilitate a Sandbox Conducting Session alongside her work as guest conductor.
Some Conducting, Project & Interview Videos
HARD RAIN SOLOISTENSEMBLE ALBUM ON SPOTIFY
Using Music & Performance as a Catalyst for Creativity
Since September 2020, Sinead has collaborated with local secondary schools St. Jarlath's College and The Mercy in Tuam, as well as Athenry Music School & Coole Music & Arts to devise and deliver a number of innovative music education projects. So far, over 200 young people from County Galway have participated in these projects.
Funded by the Arts Council of Ireland
With the support of an Artist Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland, Sinead devised and tested a fun and engaging 45minute interactive workshop designed to introduce 1st and 2nd year secondary school students to the amazing world of conducting.
PRESENTING, TEACHING & WRITING
Sharing the Knowledge
In past seasons Sinead was delighted to have been invited as a guest lecturer in Conducting at the University of Salford, UK & University College Dublin. She delivered presentations for the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras and the NYMAZ Connect: Resound Remote Music Learning Festival 2021. She has also been working with a number of composers who have been learning to conduct.
LECTURE: CONDUCTING CONTEMPORARY MUSIC
A fast paced, engaging introduction to the particular skills needed to successfully conduct and realise performances of contemporary music, drawing on the music of Schoenberg, Stravinsky and Reich. The lecture can be tailored to the level of the students and the lecture time available, and can be delivered via Zoom or in-person.
WALKING IN ULYSSES - LOCATION AUDIO COMPOSITION
Supported by Galway County Council Arts Office
Growing up in Ireland, Sinead has been immersed in the country's rich culture of literature, poetry and theatre. During the lockdown she had time to reengage with composition. This has proved a joyous creative outlet, fusing music with the written/spoken word, which she now fits around her conducting work!
Influenced by John Cage's Roaratorio, the 45 minute audio piece Walking in Ulysses was created by Sinead as a response to the 100th Anniversary of the publication of James Joyce's masterpiece Ulysses. The work features an original soundtrack and score composed and performed by Sinead. The script, abridged by Sinead is performed local Tuam actors Midie Corcoran, Ronan Lardner & Padraig Stevens. Also featured are voices of local Tuam residents and students from St. Jarlath's College.
Along the way you will meet the characters of the book - Leopold Bloom, Stephen Dedalus, The Citizen (and his dog!), and of course Molly Bloom. Experience the carriage ride to Dignam's funeral in surround sound, and discover the imaginary love story between Bloom and Gertie MacDowell!!
The self guided walk can be experienced virtually online (below) or in-person as a self guided, geo located walk in Tuam at any time. The audio triggers automatically using the GPS in your phone. All you need is a pair of headphones and a smartphone. Walking in Ulysses can be geolocated in an location, provided there is mobile data coverage.
Sinead would love to bring the voices of her home town with her on her guest conducting adventures, and can partner with orchestras and promoters to bring this immersive Ulysses experience to wherever she is working!
Jonathan Hennessey Brown (Director)
0044 (0)7939 597760
The Direct Approach...
If you'd like to get in touch directly to talk to Sinead about a project or collaboration, she would love to hear from you using the contact form below. Alternatively you can e-mail Sinead directly at sineadhayes101(at)yahoo.co.uk