Dáirine Ní Mheadhra

Conductor, Canada

Dáirine Ní Mheadhra grew up in Cork, Ireland, speaking Irish as her first language. She began her professional career in Dublin as a ‘cellist with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and in 1990 Dáirine founded the new music ensemble Nua Nós. In 1995 she immigrated to Canada to join her Canadian husband, pianist John Hess. In Toronto, they founded the chamber opera company Queen of Puddings Music Theatre. Notable company successes include Beatrice Chancy (Rolfe/Elliott Clarke), The Midnight Court (Sokolovic/Bentley/O’ Connor) Love Songs (Sokolovic, Various poets). Svadba-Wedding (Sokolovic, original Serbian poetry), epitomized the company’s aesthetic of a physical singing theatre. Svadba-Wedding won the 2012 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Opera, touring to Philadelphia Opera, Paris, Orléans, Belgrade, Dublin, Festival Lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence, and San Francisco Opera. In May 2012, Dáirine was awarded Canada’s 2012 Molson Prize in the Arts in recognition of her outstanding lifetime achievements and ongoing contributions to the cultural and intellectual life of Canada, and in October 2013 the Opera Canada Ruby Award.  She is currently Co-Director of the Contemporary Music Studio at Canada’s Western University, and Co-Director of Amhráin ar an Nua-Nós, a new project in Ireland to create, record and tour a body of fifty new art songs, written solely on texts in the Irish language.