Meet Our Teachers

Home/Meet Our Teachers
Meet Our Teachers2019-12-04T03:46:52+00:00

Margaret O’Faoláin de Bhroithe

Violin, Viola, Pre-Instrumental, Theory, Director of Junior Orchestra

Margaret is a graduate of U.C.C winning the Sean O’Riarda memorial prize in her graduation year. She enjoys performing as well as teaching and has played violin and viola with the U.C.C Chamber Orchestra and Cork Symphony Orchestra. She also has a keen interest in Choral singing and has sung with the Irish National Youth Choir and U.C.C Chamber Choir, as well as training and conducting numerous choirs. Margaret has always had an avid interest in Irish Music and during her period in U.C.C, co-founded the Irish Traditional Music Society and was tutor in Irish Traditional Fiddle Playing. She now tutors trad. fiddle, viola, pre-instrumental and piano. She teaches in a number of county primary schools. Margaret joined St Canice’s Music Programme in 1993 and teaches violin, viola and pre-instrumental. She also took over the role of administrator and was responsible for many organisational aspects of the programme. Over the years Margaret has conducted all the school orchestras with great success at Feis Ceoil and is currently the director of the B Orchestra. She has a special interest in teaching viola and her expertise allowed us to launch our “Violas are Vital” Project resulting in full viola sections in both orchestras.

Eamon Cahill

Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, Director of Senior and Junior Jazz Bands

Eamon graduated from The Royal Irish Academy of Music in 1998 with a Batchelors Degree in Music Education. There he also studied Clarinet with John Finucane, principal clarinettist with The National Symphony Orchestra and Piano with Gillian Smith, and received his teaching Diplomas in both instruments. It was also there that he met founder of The St Canices Music Programme, Regina O Leary. She asked him would he be interested in doing a few hours teaching at the school and the rest as they say is history. Eamon now teaches Saxophone, Clarinet, Trumpet, Trombone,Piano, Guitar, Bass guitar, drums and music theory in St Canices Primary, Cbs Secondary, Loreto Secondary, St Kierans Secondary, Kilkenny College and The Model School Primary in Kilkenny. Each of these schools now boasts a thriving instrumental program and Jazzband. Eamon also founded and directs The Kilkenny Wind Ensemble who are past Winners of the Wesley Music Festival, Dublin. Recently Eamon And Some of His students were invited to perform with The Garda Band at Garda HQ in The Phoenix Park Dublin, which resulted in a Gala Concert with the Garda Band at St Canices Cathedral over the St. Patrick’s Weekend. This year marks Eamons 20th year teaching in Kilkenny and he would like to thank all the Principals and teaching staff at all the schools where he teaches, as well as all the parents and students who have supported him over the last 2 decades. In particular, Eamon would like to pay tribute his colleague and close friend Regina O’Leary for all her friendship, support and inspiration over the years.

Ruth O’Leary

Cello, Director of Senior Orchestra

Ruth O’Leary is a past pupil of St. Canice’s National School, where she began her musical training and later attending Loreto Secondary School, Kilkenny. She began attending the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin, for cello lessons at the age of 9, studying with Olwen Lewis and Gerda Marwood, in WIT. In 2003, Ruth moved to Holland, where she studied cello performance for 2 years in the Koninklijke Conservatorium, Den Haag. On returning to Ireland, she completed a Bachelor of Education Degree in St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, whilst continuing her musical studies in the Royal Irish Academy of Music, with William Butt, completing an Associate Diploma in Cello Teaching. During her time in St. Patrick’s College, Ruth developed an interest in conducting and conducted the St. Patrick’s College Choir in the Cork International Choral Festival with great success in May 2008. This led her to return to St. Patrick’s College to participate in a Postgraduate Diploma in Choral Conducting in Schools and the Community. She has now returned to Kilkenny and is member of the staff of St. Canice’s National School and the staff of St. Canice’s Instrumental Music Programme.She teaches cello to children from  Senior Infant to 6th class level in the school, as well as chamber music and directing the school orchestra at present. She has recently started adult cello classes in the school for any parents who wish to join their children in their musical study. This has been set up with a view to providing cellists for the establishment of Kilkenny Gateway Orchestra.

Monica Lowe


Monica joined the staff of St Canice’s School in 1997. Since then she has become very involved in the musical life of the school. A former member of Kilkenny Musical Society and St Canice’s Choral Group, Monica has a keen interest in Choral singing. She achieved great successes at the Kilkenny Music Festival as Director of the Second Class Choir. She is also director of the Recorder Ensemble who perform annually at the Lionheart Concert and for special occasions throughout the school year. Monica also prepares the singing and instrumental music for the First Communion. An accomplished pianist, Monica is much in demand for anything musical taking place in our school.

Colette Kenny Brinza

Piano, Recorder, Theory, Pre-Instrumental

Colette graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2001 with degrees in electronic and electrical engineering and maths. As part of her final year thesis she undertook a study in Musicology and electronic music and changed direction in her career towards music. Always a musician, Colette studied piano and violin throughout her school years and was a member of many choirs, the school orchestra and Kilkenny Youth Orchestra. Colette is currently the piano teacher at St Canice’s but also tutors theory, Pre-Twinkle and Recorder. Congratulations to Colette on the development of the piano duets programme in St Canice’s.

Olwen Sheil


Dublin born Olwen Sheil studied cello at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and continued in Scotland with the renowned cello teacher Joan Dickson. Returning to Ireland Olwen performed with the National Symphony Orchestra and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and taught cello in the Royal Irish Academy of Music and many schools around Dublin.
Presently living in Co. Wexford, Olwen has been principal cellist of the Wexford Sinfonia for the past twenty-five and is the cello tutor for the Wexford Gateway Orchestra and also continues a busy teaching schedule in Enniscorthy and Kilkenny. Olwen joined St Candice’s Music Programme in September 2006 and along with her colleagues tutors the cellos for both the junior and senior orchestras.

Róisín O’Grady


Soprano Róisín O’Grady completed her B.A. Honours Degree in Music and Italian at University College, Cork in 2000 and in 2001 completed her B.Mus. Honours Degree. In 2004, she completed the one-year Postgraduate Diploma in Concert Singing at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow, under the vocal guidance of soprano Margaret Marshall O.B.E. She took part in master classes with sopranos Lynn Dawson and Emma Kirkby and mezzo-soprano Ann Murray. She received a First Class Honours M.A. in performance at the Cork School of Music in 2008. She was selected to perform in the Johann Sebastian Bach International Music Competition in Leipzig, July 2008. She was a member of and a soloist with The National Chamber Choir of Ireland for over two years. The choir perform both in Ireland and throughout Europe. They recently performed in music festivals in The Lebanon and Holland. They sing frequently with The National Symphony Orchestra, The RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the BBC Ulster Orchestra both in Dublin and Belfast.

Róisín has extensive concert experience, including: Vivialdi’s Gloria, Beatus Vir and Magnificat, Handel’s Samson, Dixit Dominus and Messiah, Charpentier’s Mess de Minuit, Schubert’s Mass in G, Schumann’s Requiem, Hayden’s Little Organ Mass and Nelson Mass, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Vaughan William’s Mass in G Minor, Allegri’Miserere, BAch’s Jauchzet Gott, Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate, Durufle’s Requiem and Saint Säens’ Christmas Oratorio. She has performed with choral societies and orchestras throughout Ireland and Scotland, including The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Alba, Orchestra of St Cecilia, St Andrew’s Chorus, Wexford Festival Singers, Trinity Choral Society, Göethe Institute Choir, St George’s Singers and East Cork Choral Society. She is a member of the early music duo Tonos who performed in The John Field Room, NCH and The National Gallery, Dublin.

Mark Fitzgerald

Trombone, Trumpet, Pocket Trumpet, Theory, Percussion

Mark Fitzgerald is a conductor, freelance trumpet player and music educator specialising in brass teaching and hails from Waterford City. He began his musical career while at Primary School when he joined the Mount Sion CBS Silver Band under the direction of Fintan O’Carroll. His progression was rapid, culminating in his appointment as Principal Solo Cornet, a position he held until leaving school in 1987. Mark has also been a member of the National Youth Orchestra, the Irish Youth Wind Ensemble and The National Broadcasting Band of Ireland.

He furthered his musical education by studying at Waterford Institute of Technology and more recently with Dr. Eibhlis Farrell at Dundalk I.T. Mark has also had the pleasure of working with some of Ireland’s and the UK’s leading brass musicians such as Jim Shepherd and Mark Wilkinson, and has been a guest conductor with the world famous Foden’s Brass Band.

Mark is currently the principle conductor of the Barrack Street Concert Band, Waterford and is heavily involved in their youth development programme. He joined the music staff of St. Canice’s Instrumental Music Programme in September 2011 where he teaches brass and theory. Mark also teaches music and brass at Scoil Mhuire National School Wexford. He is a brass tutor with the Irish Youth Wind Ensemble and is a playing member of the Irish Symphonic Wind Orchestra and the newly formed Irish Invitational Brass Band.

Lisa Hennessy


Lisa has taught guitar on the Canice’s Music Programme since 2002

Lisa began her musical journey at a young age taking piano and recorder lessons.  From there her interests developed and in time started to play guitar. She is mostly self-taught and through the years has immersed herself in different genres of guitar music.

She teaches a variety of styles of guitar everything from classical to rock. She is likes to encourage her students to find their own style and help them become a better guitarist be it as a singer songwriter, instrumentalist or a rock guitarist.

Lisa teaches the classical, acoustic and rock syllabus from the London College of Music for those students that want to take exams, and also prepares student for various school concerts and Junior and Leaving Cert practical exam during the year.

As well as Canices Primary, Lisa is busy teaching guitar in four other schools in Kilkenny, Kilkenny College, Loreto Secondary, St.Kierans College , and CBS Secondary.

Katie Murphy

Violin,Pre-Instrumental, Assisant to Junior Orchestra & Chamber Music

Katie graduated in 2010 with an honours degree (BMus) from CIT Cork School of Music. During her time there she studied violin with Adrian Petcu, pedagogy with Leslie – Gail Ellis and Chamber Music with Constantin Zanidache. She has performed throughout Ireland and Switzerland with numerous orchestras, including the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland, the Young Irish Chamber Orchestra in Cork, Cork Symphony Orchestra, and Cork School of Music Symphony Orchestra. She has worked with an extensive list of performers including Nigel Kennedy and Nicola Benedetti. Katie studied piano with Margaret Murphy and soloist Andrew Zolinsky. She has been involved in many orchestral and chamber music performances of contemporary music including works by young Irish composers.

Since graduating she has established a successful teaching career in Cork, Kerry and surrounding areas, teaching Violin, Music Theory, Piano, and Early Childhood Music. During her teaching career so far she has taught all levels including adults and diploma level, as well as preparing students for examinations, auditions and concerts. Katie has a keen interest in Chamber Music and regularly works with string quartets preparing them for competitions and helping them to develop their ensemble skills.

In 2015 Katie became part of Corks newly founded orchestra Cork Concert Orchestra and enjoys engaging with their orchestral projects. Most recently Katie has continued her violin studies with members of the Irish Chamber Orchestra including Katherine Hunka and Diane Daly. In June 2017 Katie earned a distinction from the ABRSM for her ARSM Diploma in violin performance.

Aisling O’Connor


Kilkenny based Aisling joined the teaching staff of St Canice’s National School in 2007, where she currently teaches 5th Class. Aisling is a keen violinist and first started playing the violin in St John’s Girls Primary School in Michael Street.  She is a former member of the Loreto Girls Secondary School Orchestra and is currently a member of St Canice’s Gateway Orchestra, who recently performed with the Kilkenny Musical Society as part of their Christmas Concerts in December 2013. Aisling enjoys playing violin at every opportunity and currently teaches violin to the Junior Infant Baby Bows classes!

Danny Pullman


Danny is a graduate of the City of Leeds College Of Music (England ) where he studied Saxophone & Flute gaining a 1st Class Honours Degree in Jazz Studies (Major Performance) and was also awarded the Spud Murphy Prize for Saxophone on graduation. Danny has been performing in and continues to play with numerous bands and ensembles across the UK and Ireland as well as mainland Europe ranging from Jazz, Blues, Rock, Pop and Traditional Lineups.

Coming from Dorset in the southwest of England, Danny has been living in Ireland since 2002, currently living in Tramore, Co. Waterford and has been teaching across the South East for over 10 years . He is part of the Teaching staff in WIT Waterford where he tutors Woodwind and Brass students in the Music Degree in Jazz/Improvisation.

Jeremy Hickey


Jeremy Hickey is a multiinstrumentalist hailing from Kilkenny City who has gained the reputation as one of Europe’s leading drummers and percussionists .

Jeremy commenced training under the tuition of Dan Breen at The Royal Irish Academy Of Music , Dublin in 1999 and for the last 15 years has been working as both a tutor and a session musician. During this time, he has curated private lessons and thought in various primary schools around the country including, St. Corban’s CBS, Naas , Scoil Chiaráin Naofa, Stoneyford , Co. Kilkenny and St. Canices, Kilkenny.

Hickey is a tutor with The Irish Drum Academy in Dublin , a certified Samba Drums instructor with The Kilkenny Education Centre and has recently completed a successful summer course in The Ossory Youth Centre combining music production and performance.

When Jeremy is not in the classroom, he is performing onstage at home or abroad or in the studio under the guise R.S.A.G. aka Rarely Seen Above Ground. He has two critically acclaimed albums under his belt and a Choice Music Award nomination . He has also received the highest of accolades from the likes of RTE, The Irish Times and Hot Press Magazine . Jeremy has toured Ireland, UK, Europe and North & South America. As a session musician he has worked with local and world renowned artists and producers including Jerry Fish, Cathy Davey, Neil Hannon, Conor O’Brien (Villagers), Cat Dowling , Grammy Award winners Justice , and French outfit Bot’Ox .

Charity work over the years includes projects with Headstrong mental health and Dogs in Distress.

Gerri Dunne

Double Bass

Gerri is a native of Cork City where she graduated from UCC with a B.Mus. and H.Dip.Ed. She’s been a member of many orchestras both in Ireland and abroad. She toured America and Europe with the legendary Liam Clancy and has done many recordings with varying artists. She has appeared many times on TV and most recently took part in a series for TG4 called “Glaoch an Cheoil”. Gerri is a member of Trio Libra, who perform in many concerts, weddings and corporate functions around Ireland.

Elspeth Hayes


Mezzo-soprano Elspeth Hayes sang from an early age and played the oboe in youth bands and orchestras at school and on into University, where she graduated BA (Hons) in Music and German.  Before moving to Co. Kilkenny in 2007 Elspeth sang with many choirs in Dublin including Cantique, Christchurch Cathedral Choir and the RTE Philharmonic Choir.

Following study with Vanessa Sadlier in WIT and also with Roisín O’Grady,  Elspeth completed a M.Mus (Performance) at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, where she studied with Jennifer Hamilton and Mary Scarlett and graduated with first class honors in 2015.

Performances include Luciano Berio’s Folk Songs under the baton of David Brophy at the John Field Room, NCH;  Chorus member and cover Second Secretary for Wide Open Opera’s production of John Adams’ opera Nixon in China conducted by Fergus Sheil; the premiere of Andrew Synnott’s opera Breakdown in the NCH, January 2015, and Grainne Mulvey’s Eternity is now as part of the CMC Musical Tales Series in November / December 2015.   In March 2016 Elspeth recorded three songs by Frederick May (1911-1985) with Varadzat Khachatryan (piano) as part of a DIT project led by Dr Mark Fitzgerald to typeset and record songs by May.   In October 2016 Elspeth appeared in the premiere of Eric Sweeney and Mark Roper’s new opera The Green One, in concert performances in Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford.  Elspeth continues to work as a soloist for oratorio and recital and has a special interest in twentieth century song and song by contemporary Irish composers.

Elspeth has worked since 2015 with Music Generation Carlow on the primary years Vocal and Early Childhood programmes.  She has studied the specific teaching of Young Voices, gaining certification from UK based Voice Workshop following study with Dr Jenevora Williams.

Jenny Burnes


Jenny, a multi-instrumentalist and native of Surrey studied music at a young age in primary school, beginning on recorder and quickly moving on to violin & piano. But it was with the flute that she would do tours of Switzerland & Germany as principal flautist with CSMC (Croydon Schools Music Centre) & CYPO (Croydon Youth Philharmonic Orchestra) , before gaining a degree at Essex University Colchester, majoring in performance.

Whilst studying she also found time to tour Canada with the school choir, win 1st prize at the Redhill & Reigate Music Festival and won a GCSE competition to have her compositions played on BBC Radio. She was a member of St. Botolph’s Chamber Orchestra, Colchester and also played regularly with various Blues & Jazz bands whilst also writing songs and composing original music.

Living in the Waterford area for almost 20 years, Jenny continues to play all genres of music which has seen her perform throughout Ireland, Britain and Europe. She is currently a member of Waterford Concert Orchestra and a sought-after session musician.

Bróna Colfer


Bróna Colfer represented Ireland as a cellist in the European Youth Orchestra.  Following a BA mod in music from Trinity College Dublin, she studied cello with Christopher Bunting at the Royal College of Music London, achieving LRSM in cello performance, and LTCL in both cello and piano teaching.

As a professional orchestral cellist, Bróna has worked nationally with the RTE Orchestras, and internationally with BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Welsh National Opera Orchestra and the Austin Symphony Orchestra Texas.

As a teacher Bróna has worked in the International School Cardiff, Wexford School of Music, Carlow College of Music and also with UT Austin String Project.  In addition, she has conducting experience in UT Austin, and with Wexford Youth Orchestra and Carlow junior youth orchestra.

She is now enjoying bringing her extensive experience to a new generation and is a current examiner with the RIAM.

Bróna is also a composer and writer.  More recently she completed a postgraduate qualification in arts in healthcare from NUI Maynooth.  She is looking forward to joining the St. Canice’s team.

Please see more of Brona’s work here :-

and her compositions on sheetmusicplus here:-

Cathy Kenny


Graduate of Trinity College, Dublin . Cathy also has a higher Diploma from W.R.T.C and a Diploma from Trinity College , London. Cathy was a member of the College orchestra and choir and also studied singing . Presently she teaches strings and piano in secondary and primary schools . Cathy has a great interest in promoting ensemble playing from a young age and works with school orchestras . Choral work is a core part of her teaching in primary schools . Cathy also works as an accompanist for examinations and festivals.

Go to Top