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.


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.

Sebastian Adams - Composer 2018


Sebastian Adams (b. 1991) is an Irish composer, viola player and artistic director. He was Composer in Residence with RTÉ lyric fm in 2016/17. Recent commissions include the Irish Chamber Orchestra and both RTÉ orchestras.

Performers of his music include Crash Ensemble, Kirkos, Benyounes Quartet, Fidelio Trio, Sarah Watts, Beatrice Berrut, Carl Ludwig Hübsch, David Adams, Lina Andonovska, and many others. His music has been included at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Festival EuropArt (Brussels), Órtús Festival and Hilltown Festival and has been performed in Montreal, Vienna, Cologne, Potsdam, Antwerp and Görlitz.

Sebastian founded and directs Kirkos and co-directs the Fishamble Sinfonia. He also chaired the Irish Composers Collective for two years. As a violist, Sebastian has premiered works by many of Ireland’s leading composers and performed as an improviser in Dublin, New York and London. He studied in Dublin (Kevin O’Connell & Jonathan Nangle) and Vienna (Karlheinz Essl).