Irish cellist Ailbhe McDonagh is an international soloist, chamber musician and composer who performs throughout Europe, Asia and the USA.
She is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York (Steven Doane) and the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin (Aisling Drury-Byrne, William Butt). McDonagh gave her debut recital with celebrated Irish pianist John O’Conor at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland.
'Out of several performances of the Beethoven A major sonata heard over 30 years, McDonagh’s was the most musically complete and satisfying' (The Irish Times).
As a chamber musician, she performs with ‘The McDonagh Sisters’ with pianist Orla McDonagh. She is also a member of the Ficino Ensemble and the crossover traditional Irish music group, Trio Elatha where she plays traditional Irish music on the cello.
McDonagh is also an established composer with numerous compositions and commissions to her name.
Boosey & Hawkes, London published two books of her piano music entitled ‘It’s a Piano Thing’ and more recently ‘It’s a Cello Thing’, two books of her pedagogical pieces for cello. Further works for cello include a solo suite commissioned by the Arts Council of Ireland and the title piece for her recent ‘Skellig’ album for cello and piano. McDonagh has also been published by ABRSM, RIAM and Hal Leonard.
McDonagh's albums include 'Beethoven: Complete Cello Sonatas 1-5‘ (2021, Steinway & Sons music label, New York) with renowned pianist and Beethoven specialist John O'Conor.
'It’s a Cello Thing’ (2012 CD of the week on RTE Lyric FM) and ‘Skellig’ (2020 Irish Examiner, Top Picks of the Year).
During 2021, Ailbhe collaborated with cellist Katie Tertell undertaking one Popper study each week, recorded a live discussion of practice tips and performed it live to each other. Each of these videos gives two professional cellists’ practice approaches to each étude. Learn more about that project on www.popperetudes.com.
McDonagh joined the cello faculty of the RIAM in 2010 and she enjoys regular invitations to give masterclasses. She performs on a Postacchini cello.
How to pronounce Ailbhe
Ailbhe is pronounced AL-vah. In the Irish language the letters bh are pronounced like a v.