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 Soloist Ensemble (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 Luminosa Orchestra.
Last season she made her debut with the Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra, returning in July 2022 to conduct an opera gala with the Cara O'Sullivan young artists. This season, she works for the first time with Wexford Sinfonia, conducting a programme of Sibelius, Stravinsky and Ina Boyle in Wexford town.
Last season she conducted recordings of contemporary operas/works by Brian Irvine, Tom Lane, Fiona Linnane and Elaine Agnew's opera Paper Boat, due to be broadcast on RTE Lyric FM in winter 2022. She returned to the Ulster Orchestra for a video recording of Elizabeth Maconchy's Nocturne for International Women's Day 2022.
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.
In February 2021, Sinead was awarded an artist bursary by the Arts Council of Ireland, to support the development of a new conducting workshop for secondary school students, and to work on developing her skills in conducting and interpreting contemporary music, focussing on the work of Irish composers.
Sinead took her first violin lessons at age 7, winning a scholarship to the junior department of the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin. Following an exploratory detour, during which she completed her degree and masters in structural engineering in NUI Galway and Imperial College London, her passion for music won out, and in 2008 Sinead graduated with a BMus in violin and composition from City University London.
She completed her Masters in orchestral conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester in 2009, winning the Mortimer Furber Conducting Prize. From 2009 – 2013 Sinead was music director of Bury Choral Society, UK. She was principal conductor of the Amaretti Chamber Orchestra (2010 – 2018) and was assistant music director of Stockport Youth Orchestra (2009 – 2013).
Sinead was one of three finalists chosen by members of the Berlin Philharmonic and Staatskapelle Berlin for the 2014 Interaktion Conducting Workshop. This led to her decision to move to Berlin, where she supplemented her conducting activities by playing Irish/Celtic fiddle gigs, eventually playing fiddle alongside members of the Berliner Philharmoniker in a number of family concerts at Berlin’s Philharmonie in 2017!
Sinead's teachers and masterclass mentors have included Alex Ingram, Peter Eotvos, Martyn Brabbins, Johannes Schlaefli, Jorma Panula, Clark Rundell and Mark Shanahan. She has worked in masterclass with the Argovia Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of Luxembourg, North Czech Philharmonic, Bochumer Symphoniker, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Essener Philharmoniker and Ensemble and Orquestra do Cadaques. She was also a guest conductor with the Orquestra do Algarve. She is currently based in Ireland.
Sinead is a passionate advocate for lifelong learning, completing a PG Certificate in Creative & Cultural Entrepreneurship at Trinity College, Dublin in April 2021.
The lockdown gave Sinead the opportunity to partner with local music schools in Athenry and Gort Co. Galway to devise and deliver two music education projects: Carolan's Rambles and the Baroque Session. Both music schools were jointly awarded the Irish Association of Youth Orchestra's 2021 Ovation Award in recognition of their innovative work during the pandemic.
Sinead is committed to providing opportunities for emerging conductors in the west of Ireland and has included assistant conductors in the majority of her recent projects. As well as teaching conducting, she is the mentor for the Athenry Conducting Mentor Scheme.
Forthcoming projects include concerts with Wexford Sinfonia, Luminosa Orchestra and a recording project the Ulster Orchestra, as well as conducting the Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble in Amsterdam in June 2023.