Meet the Artists

Laura Schlappa

Laura Schlappa

Laura Schlappa, was born in the north German town of Cuxhaven in 2000 and began learning the piano at the age of 4 and the organ at 14. In 2016 she was accepted on the young student programme at the Music Academy of Hannover. She is currently studying church music at the University of Music in Detmold with Prof Dr Martin Sander and is supported by a Jütting scholarship. She won first prize at the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition in 2020. Recitals at St Pauls Cathedral London, Westminster Abbey, Liverpool and Belfast cathedrals, St Thomas New York and Trinity College Cambridge followed. In 2018 she won first place in the intermediate competition of NIIOC and in 2019 she won the London Organ Competition. Laura’s virtuoso programme for the NIIOC 2020 competition included the Fugue in D major BWV 532 by J S Bach, the Scherzett No 14 from 24 Pieces in Free Style by Louis Vierne and the Toccata Op. 9 by Jean Guillou.

The Hibernian Orchestra

The Hibernian Orchestra

Founded in 1981, the Dublin-based Hibernian Orchestra (formerly the Hibernian Chamber Orchestra) is now recognised as the leading voluntary orchestra in Ireland.  The players come from a variety of backgrounds: as well as music teachers and music students, the orchestra includes many pre-professionals, musicians pursuing other careers and, increasingly, players who were trained across the world and who now reside and work in Ireland. What unites the members of the ensemble is their love of classical music and their commitment to the highest possible performance standards.

The orchestra has a demanding schedule and prepares between four and five programmes each season based on weekly rehearsals that take place between September and June in St Louis’s High School, Rathmines, under the baton of artistic director, John Finucane. The orchestra’s repertoire stretches across the musical spectrum, ranging from early works to newly commissioned pieces. The orchestra performs extensively in Dublin and increasingly is bringing music to regional towns across Ireland. The list of artists who have performed with the Hibernian Orchestra is impressive and includes many of Ireland’s most famous virtuosi, including Finghin Collins, Philip Martin,
Catherine Leonard, The Cashell Trio (Anna, Ben and Sophie Cashell), Nicola Sweeney and Iona Petcu-Colon. The orchestra is also committed to providing a platform for the next generation of soloists and has given early solo opportunities to many of Ireland’s most talented young musicians.

Orla Flanagan

Orla Flanagan

Orla Flanagan is Assistant Professor of Music at Trinity College, Dublin and has conducted Mornington Singers since 2002. Orla holds an Advanced Diploma from the Kodály Institute, Hungary and a Doctorate of Music in Performance from the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Winner of the McCurtain & McSwiney Award at the Cork Choral Festival’s Fleischmann International Trophy Competition on multiple occasions, Orla was also awarded a special prize for interpretation at the 10th International Choral Competition, Maribor, Slovenia. In addition to her work with Mornington Singers, Orla gives choral workshops, adjudicates at festivals in Ireland and internationally, and has conducted professional ensembles including Milltown Chamber Choir, EnsemBéal and the National Chamber Choir of Ireland.

Mornington Singers

Mornington Singers

    Founded in 1997, Mornington Singers takes its name from the first Earl of Mornington, Garret Wellesley, who was the first Professor of Music at Trinity College Dublin. Mornington Singers is committed to the promotion of choral music, including the commissioning of new pieces. The choir recently commissioned a major new work from Irish composer John Buckley with the support of the Arts Council, and in 2014 held a successful choral composition competition for Irish composers. The choir performs a broad range of choral music and specialises in a cappella repertoire, with a particular focus on music of the 20th and 21st centuries.

    Mornington Singers has established itself as one of Ireland’s leading choral ensembles. In addition to its own concert programmes the choir has sung in live performances of video game music, at Electric Picnic, on film soundtracks and television and in concert with Andrea Bocelli, Lesley Garrett and David Puttnam. Competition performances have included the International Baltic Sea Choir Competition, Arezzo International Choral Competition, the Florilège Vocal de Tours, Maribor International Choral Competition and, closer to home, the international choral festivals of Cork, Derry and Sligo. Mornington Singers was the winner of the 4th International Baltic Sea Choir Competition held in Jūrmala,  Latvia in September 2019. The choir was named Ireland’s Choir of the Year 2019 at the 65th Cork International Choral Festival.

    Aleksandr Nisse

    Aleksandr Nisse

    Aleksandr Nisse is an organist and composer of Russian (St. Petersburg) and French (Paris) descent. Aleksandr spent his childhood years growing up in Hamburg and in the family ancestral home in Normandy, France. As a child Aleksandr was influenced by the legendary blind organist Helmut Walcha who was his father’s teacher and by his aunt Danielle Salvignol-Nisse, a student of Jean Langlais and Gaston Litaize. Having studied piano with Valery Krol, Aleksandr went on to study organ with Susan Landale in Paris  and continued his keyboard studies with Louis Robilliard at the Conservatoire National de Region de Lyon, where he was unanimously awarded ‘Premier Prix de Perfectionnement’ with distinction. A scholarship for postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London followed where he studied under Nicolas Kynaston and Lionel Rogg. He regularly performs concerts in Ireland, Switzerland, France and Germany and succeeded in obtaining an award from TU Dublin for a PhD in composition under the supervision of Prof. Gráinne Mulvey. His research area lies in the application of the exact partial pitches of
    the harmonic series. He has held positions in Terenure College, St Andrew’s Church Westland Row, Whitefriar Street Dublin and has recently been appointed as Titular Organist at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral Dublin.

    His recent recording, “The Ascension”, on the world famous Selby Abbey organ received 4 stars in the BBC Music Magazine and 5 stars in the Choir and Organ magazine. As a composer he was commissioned in 2019 by the Hochschule der Künste Bern, Switzerland to write an Irish based piece for voice, strings and wind dynamical organ and dancers. Entitled Aiséirí this piece was performed as part of a dance production in Bern Minster in June 2019.
    His most recent piece NOTINTUNE was commissioned by the Crash Ensemble. A reflection on the impact of digital devices on society, the piece explores what happens when humans, distracted and out of tune with their natural selves and surroundings, lose empathy, a quality without which it is suggested our human civilization might cease to exist.

    Simon Harden

    Simon Harden

    Simon Harden lectures in Organ performance at the TU Dublin Conservatoire and is Organist and Director of Music at Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford. Regular concert engagements take him throughout Europe and further afield. He has performed solo recitals in such venues as Notre-Dame Paris, Westminster Abbey London, Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall and St Jacobi Hamburg. Simon began his studies at Trinity College Dublin reading Music and History of Art. Further studies at the Music Academies in Berlin and Hamburg led to a first-class Postgraduate degree in performance followed by a ‘Premier Prix’ for his studies in Paris. On receiving a scholarship from
    the City of Hamburg, he took the ‘Konzertexamen’ with distinction, the highest award for performance in Germany.

    Simon has won several prizes in international competitions including 1st prize and audience prize at the ‘International Schnitger Organ Competition’ in the Netherlands and 2nd prize at the ‘Grand Prix Bach de Lausanne’. He was also awarded the DAAD prize for ‘outstanding performance and intercultural involvement’ whilst in Hamburg. In 2020, Simon served on the jury panel of the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition.
    He founded the Waterford International Organ Festival in 2021 and became its Artistic Director. Simon’s research into new and historic organs is published regularly in the international ‘Choir and Organ’ magazine and solo CD recordings include performances on the Marcussen organ in Gettorf and the new Glatter-Götz organ in Frankfurt.