The Esker Festival Orchestra was set up in 2014 to provide a high quality, beneficial and meaningful musical opportunity for young emerging musicians from all across Ireland and for the first time to have an orchestra of this quality and scope based in Galway. The orchestra was set up to fill the musical and social void that currently exists in Ireland by allowing young musicians from across the country to perform together, socialise together and to build relationships that will be essential during their personal and professional lives, to promote and develop orchestral music in Ireland by nurturing the talents of its emerging musicians and crucially to provide all of this with as little financial burden as possible on the musicians themselves. Finally it is unique in that it is entirely led and run by its members for its members, allowing those taking part to gather invaluable first-hand experience in the world of orchestral music. The Esker Festival Orchestra now also welcomes international members each year, allowing musicians from across the world to come to Ireland, perform together and to meet and learn from their international colleagues and peers, further developing the impact and reputation of orchestral music in Ireland and abroad.

The Esker Festival Orchestral is gratefully supported by the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras, the Arts Council of Ireland, RTÉ Supporting the Arts, the Galway Music Residency, NUI Galway and the CIT Cork School of Music.


Peter Joyce - Music Director

Peter Joyce is an Irish musician, conductor and composer. Originally from Galway, Ireland, he first began playing the saxophone at age eleven and grew up playing jazz with the Black Magic Big Band. From the age of 15 Peter began traveling to Dublin from his home in Esker to study clarinet and saxophone with Ciaran Wilde, and later clarinet with Fintan Sutton in the Royal Irish Academy of Music. He is a music graduate of Trinity College Dublin where he began composing, arranging and conducting, later studying conducting with Dr. Geoffrey Spratt at the CIT Cork School of Music. Peter currently studies conducting with Mark Stringer and Jaime Wolfson and composition with Wolfgang Suppan and Periklis Liakakis at the renowned University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.

Peter has a vast performing experience with groups and artists such as the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra, the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra, The National Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the Webern Kammerphilharmonie, Divertimento Viennese, Placido Domingo, Rene Pape, Andrea Bocelli, Brian Byrne, Imelda May, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Buddy Greco, Sinead O'Connor, Hozier, Nathan Carter and Booka Brass Band among many others.

Equally at home in the theatre Peter has vast experience conducting and performing in musical theatre and opera. These include performing in a 2013 Irish Tour of 'The Rat Pack Live from Las Vegas', Wide Open Opera's 2014 production of Nixon in China with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, working as pianist and chorus master on the 2015 national tour of The Unlucky Cabin Boy, as assistant and rehearsal conductor for productions of Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea and Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte at the Music Academy International 2016 Summer Festival in Trentino Italy and as conductor and producer for a recent Irish production of 'The Soldier's Tale' by Igor Stravinsky. A champion of new music, Peter has performed and conducted the world premiers of many new works by Irish and international composers.


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Ellen Jansson - Soloist 2018

Twenty-one-year old Cork pianist Ellen Jansson began her studies at CIT Cork School of Music with Eleanor Malone and is currently studying there as a full-time student with Mary Beattie. She graduated from the prestigious Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester in 2014, where she was the winner of the Chetham’s Yamaha Piano Competition as well as attaining an LRSM performance diploma with distinction. She spent last year studying on an Erasmus scholarship with Professor Martin Hughes at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.

Ellen has appeared as soloist with the New York Concerti Sinfonietta, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland. She has performed in many prominent venues in Ireland and abroad, including Carnegie Hall, Großes Studio Mozarteum, Salzburg, RDS Concert Hall, John Field Room NCH and the National Concert Hall, Dublin.

A multiple prize-winner at Electric Ireland Feis Ceoil in both chamber and solo competitions, Ellen has also been awarded first prize in both the CSM Advanced Recital and Senior Concerto Competitions. At the invitation of renowned pianist Barry Douglas, she took part in the Camerata Ireland Academy at Clandeboye Festival 2016 where she was awarded a Flax Trust bursary and she was a finalist in the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Scholarship in 2017.

She has taken masterclasses with musicians such as Bernd Goetzke, Alexej Gorlatch, Alexei Grynyuk, Pavel Nersessian, John O’Conor and Vladimir Tropp. Recent festival appearances for Ellen include the Ortús Chamber Music Festival 2018 and the inaugural ‘Finding a Voice’ festival in Clonmel.

An avid chamber musician, she recently completed a tour of southern Ireland as a member of the Belvedere Trio, which was formed in Vienna in 2017. Engagements in 2018 for the trio include concerts in Germany and Sweden.


Marieclaire Brodie - Orchestra Leader

Marieclaire began her violin studies at the age of thirteen with Irish violinist Patricia Treacy. In 2012 she graduated from the Cork School of Music with Bachelor of Music Honours under the guidance of renowned violinist Ruxandra Petcu-Colan. She has recently completed her postgraduate studies in violin performance with the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and is currently studying with Irish Chamber Orchestra leader Katherine Hunka for a Masters in Classical String Performance with University Limerick. She supported by the RTE Lyric FM String Scholarship.

Marieclaire has had a keen interest in orchestral playing from the beginning. She has played with many orchestras in Ireland including the Hibernian Orchestra, Fishamble Sinfonia, SinfoNua and the Esker Festival Orchestra. She has toured extensively throughout Ireland, Italy and America playing many prestigious venues including the NCH Dublin, Boston Symphony Hall, Chicago Symphony Hall and Carnegie Hall, New York.

Marieclaire has participated in many master classes over the years, mostly notably with violinists Baiba Skride, Catherine Leonard and baroque violinist Debbie Diamond. She has participated in chamber classes with members of the Vanburgh Quartet, Aoife Nic Athlaoich, Robin Panter, Rita Manning and Charles Peltz. Marieclaire is part of the Irish Chamber Orchestra Academos ensemble and recently recorded a new composition by Sam Perkins for RTE Lyric as part of the ensemble.

Marieclaire is 1st violinist with the Amoroso Quartet. The quartet has been invited to participate as young apprentices of the Galway Music Residency after a successful début with the residency. The quartet also played this summer as part of the Boyne Music Festival and are looking forward to more concert dates in the 2017/18 season.

As a session violinist Marieclaire has recorded and performed with many artists such as Lisa Hannigan, Hermitage Green, We Lived in Cities and I Am Niamh. Marieclaire has a great interest in teaching and is currently on staff with the Sing Out With Strings programme. 


Christopher Moriarty - Composer 2018

Irish clarinetist and composer Christopher Moriarty recently graduated from the Royal Irish Academy of music in Dublin, achieving a first class honours in performance studies.

In October 2016, he was awarded 1st Place in the Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year Competition. In May 2015, he gave his debut performance in Carnegie Hall with the New York Sinfonietta under conductor Paul Hostetter. Christopher has performedthroughout Ireland appearing as soloist with The National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, The RTE Concert Orchestra and The Royal Irish Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra.

An accomplished composer, his works have been premiered in London, New York and across the island of Ireland. Notable ensembles to perform his work include Kirkos Ensemble and the RTE Con Tempo Quartet.

In Fall of 2017, his work Opaque Rhapsody for clarinet and piano will be featured on John Finucane & Elizaveta Bluminas’ upcoming album of Irish works for clarinet piano.

A keen chamber musician, he has most recently been a featured artist at the Boyne Music Festival and the Clandeboye Festival in Belfast.