Zoë Conway announced as Associate Artist with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra

RTÉ has announced fiddle player, singer and composer Zoë Conway as Associate Artist with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

Zoë is an extraordinary talent and a central figure in Irish traditional music. Over the years she has collaborated with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra on a range of projects encompassing concerts, broadcasts, recordings, a Fleadh Cheoil na Éireann appearance and a tour of China. As Associate Artist, her contribution will enrich traditional and folk elements in the RTÉ CO’s repertoire. She joins an artistic team that includes jazz supremo Guy Barker, also an Associate Artist, with each of these remarkable musicians bringing their expertise to important strands in the RTÉ CO’s eclectic musical programme.

Zoë Conway said: ‘I feel privileged to bring my music to this wonderful orchestra as playing with them is one of my favourite things to do! I just love that place where Irish traditional and orchestral worlds come together, and I feel this collaboration is an exciting development for my music and voice as a composer and performer, and an important development of our living, breathing tradition.’

RTÉ Concert Orchestra General Manager Joe Csibi said: ‘Zoë’s personality has always shone through in her creative being. She writes so beautifully and creatively that it is hard to do anything but be captivated. As a performer, she is a virtuoso. As a composer, a genius. Our orchestra is lucky to work with Zoë and to create new and fabulous musical adventures for our audience.’

Marking this milestone, an RTÉ Concert Orchestra concert on 15 November at the National Concert Hall will showcase Zoë as both a performer and a composer. The first half features the world premiere of the film From a Forest to a Fiddle accompanied by live performance of Zoë’s score, while the tempo is stepped up in the second half with a feast of traditional music old and new, including her Desert Storm/Rounding Malin Head and Bill Whelan’s Riverdance.

From a Forest to a Fiddle is a meditative artistic timelapse capturing craftsman Jim Mc Killop making a fiddle in his rural workshop in the Cooley Mountains. He has stopped making instruments but was persuaded by Zoë – who buys all her fiddles from him – to make just one more so his process could be captured. It is a magical celebration of tradition, of craft and of nature as we witness the alchemy that sees a rough piece of sycamore in the hands of a master become a fiddle. This project was supported by An Táin Arts Centre and The Arts Council, and commissioned by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

Performing alongside Zoë will be guitarist John Mc Intyre. The two make up what the BBC described as  ‘one of the best folk duos on the planet’ – as well as being a married couple! Other guests including Dónal Lunny, Louise Mulcahy and John Sheahan will be joining the RTÉ CO and its Principal Guest Conductor Stephen Bell.

The music and the atmosphere promise to set the National Concert Hall alight on 15 November to welcome Zoë to her new role with the orchestra and to mark this very special night.