Norah O’Leary – Baroque Cello #purplevelvetcellist #hypnoticandseductive

Norah Dagda


When not playing her cello Norah enjoys standing on her head and can most likely be located on a yoga mat or in the kitchen. Recently she learned to float on her hands and really we are thinking it’s like working with some classification of trained seal. However we are glad she is finally home in Ireland. The boot of her car has been known to contain yoga mats, wellies, lutes, fiddles, coffee makers and farm animals/equipment –  A tribute to modern rural Ireland. Ensemble Dagda members are convinced that Norah runs purely coffee and fears the day the fuel runs out ….

Norah O’Leary holds a Masters of Performance of Early Music from the Sibelius Akatemia of the University of Fine Arts, Helsinki, where she studied under the uber cool Louna Hosia. She is also the proud recipient of a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance from the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM) under the tutelage of William Butt. She began her studies at the age of four with both Olwen Lewis and Heather Boxwell in the Wexford School of Music and at the age of eleven was accepted with full scholarship to study both the cello and clarinet in the Royal Irish Academy of Music. In 2006 she received a Diploma in Music Teaching and Performance, and now also holds the Teacher’s Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music.  Norah has received master classes and lessons from Rolf Gjielsten, Stefan Popov, Hannah Roberts, Marc Copey, David Kenedy, Francesco Dillon, Christopher Marwood, Lucia Swarts, Jaap ter Linden, Lea Pekkala, Thomas Pitt, Mime Yamahiro-Birkman, Heidi Peltoniemi, Gerald Peregrine, Eliah Sakakushev-von Bismarck, Sarah MacMahon, Jonathan Byers and Hugh Maguire. She a former member of the RIAM Symphony Orchestra, St. Hibernian’s Orchestra, Trinity College Dublin Orchestra and former principal cellist of both the RIAM Chamber Orchestra, RIAM Baroque ensemble, National Youth Orchestra of Ireland. An experienced chamber musician, Norah has travelled extensively in Europe and America, and with the RIAM Chamber Orchestra has made several performances in New York’s prestigious Carnegie Hall. Other performances include numerous appearances in the National Concert Hall, The Helix, The Tivoli Theatre, and Wexford Opera House and on Irish National Television. Norah has recorded with several up and coming popular artists as well as being one of the founding members of the RIAM’s student run ensemble, Kirkos. In the final year of her undergraduate studies Norah became a keen advocate of Historically Informed Practice and soon became the newest member of Respicio, an early music specialist ensemble and ensemble in residence with Opera Antiqua. In 2014 Norah was accepted as a baroque cellist into several distinguished European Conservatoires and has subsequently commenced her studies for a Masters in Early Music at the renowned Sibelius Academy (SibA) in Helsinki, Finland. She  made her debut as a soloist with the SibA Baroque Orchestra within her first semester there and was consequently  offered collaboration projects with Concerto Copenhagen and the Royal Danish Academy of Music. In January 2015, Norah was accepted as cellist with the Nordic Baroque Orchestra where she worked closely with leading baroque specialists. During the course of her studies in Finland worked in close collaboration with other departments in the academy including performances with notable Irish bayanist Evin Kelly and composition students of Juhani Nuorvala. She has also been working with Finnish Baroque Orchestra (FiBO) and FiBO Storia ensemble on a professional level. Norah has filled the position of Assistant Artistic Manager with West Cork Chamber Music Festival (WCCMF) and been awarded the position of continuo cellist with WCCMF’s Baroque master class scheme as a member of Bantry Baroque in collaboration with Concerto Copenhagen. Most recently, apart from learning new yoga tricks, Norah has been accepted on full scholarship to the Vadstena Opera and Baroque Dance Residency programme in Sweden for their 2017/18 season. However she would like to categorically state that she is ‘not no faith boy emigrating’, this is just a temporary leave of absence which will not begin until June 2018.