Skip to main content

Tullamore Academy Chamber Choir; Gerard Gillen, organ

Tullamore Academy Chamber Choir
Ciaran Brady, director
Gerard Gillen, organ

The Academy Chamber Choir was founded in September 2008 as part of a performing groups initiative undertaken by the Academy of Music in Tullamore. Each choral scholar is an advanced student of voice with the Academy and has a different and wide-ranging background in solo, operatic and competitive performance, which enhances this young choir’s ability to undertake some of the more challenging choral works and contributes to its fresh and unique sound. From the beginning the choir set its sights high, winning second prize in the Chamber Choirs competition in the Navan Choral Festival and being awarded a certificate of Distinction for Choral Excellence in the Bord Na Móna National Choir of the Year 2009 competition, in its first year of existence.

Ciarán Brady is founder and director of the choir, and is an Honours graduate in music from Maynooth University, where he also completed his Masters degree in Vocal Performance and undertook further advanced vocal studies in Freiburg in Germany. Ciarán’s vast choral experience started at the age of 10 as a boy treble and Head Chorister of the Palestrina Choir in Dublin. While studying Ciarẚn was director of the Maynooth University Chamber Choir in many acclaimed concerts, winning the International Competition at Limerick Choral festival in 1991. Ciarán is now a full-time vocal instructor with The Academy of Music, Tullamore where he is channelling all his energies into high-calibre performing ensembles, of which The Academy Chamber Choir and Youth Choir are proving to be significant flagships in promoting choral excellence in the midlands.

Gerard Gillen was Professor and Head of Music at Maynooth University from 1985 to 2007, and was Titular Organist of Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral from 1976 to 2018. He is widely regarded as one of Ireland's leading church and concert organists. A First Class Honours graduate of University College,Dublin, Oxford University, and the Royal Conservatoire of Music, Antwerp (where he gained the Prix d'Excellence, the highest award for instrumental performance, in the class of Flor Peeters), Professor Gillen has an international reputation as an organ recitalist and has given more than 1000 recitals throughout Europe, the Middle East, America, Hong Kong and Australia, performing at such prestigious venues as the Royal Festival Hall, London, King’s College, Cambridge, St Thomas, New York, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna, St Thomas’, Leipzig, St Bavo, Haarlem, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, and cathedrals and major recital venues in Antwerp, Bratislava, Brussels, Bruges, Copenhagen, Freiburg, Ghent, Hamburg, Jerusalem, Kosice, Lübeck, Luxembourg, Malaga, Stockholm, Oslo, Notre Dame and La Madeleine, Paris, Pittsburgh, Potsdam, Rome, San Francisco, Talinn, Turin, Warsaw, Zaragosa, etc. He has also been a member of international organ playing competition juries in Oxford, Ann Arbor, London, Graz, and Dublin. Gillen was conferred with a Knighthood of St. Gregory (KCSG) by the Vatican in 1984. Other honours include the John Betts Visiting Fellowship at Oxford (1992), and in December 1996 he was nominated the classical winner in Ireland's TV National Entertainment Awards, the first and only organist to be so honoured. In 2006 he was conferred with the title Chevalier des Ars et des Lettres by the French Government for his contribution to French Music, and in 2007 he was conferred with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa by the Pontifical University of Maynooth for his services to Church Music, and he was also elected to Fellowship of the Royal Irish Academy of Music (FRIAM). In 2010 he was decorated by King Albert ll of Belgium as an ‘Officer of the Crown,’ and was awarded the Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst (Cross of Honour for Science and Arts) by the Austrian Government. His CD of the organ music of César Franck and Flor Peeters on the LCS HiRes label was one of Norman Lebrecht’s special Christmas recommendations for 2009. He has been artistic director of the series of annual recitals since its inception twenty-five years ago in 1999.


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Prelude in E flat, BWV 552i

Z. Randall Stroope (b.1953)

In Paradisum

Paula Mealor (b.1975)

Ubi Caritas

Moses Hogan (1957-2003)

My soul’s been anchored in the Lord

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621)

Ballo del Granduca

Alexandre Guilmant (1837-1911)

Grand Choeur in D, ‘alla Handel’, op.18

Jacob de Haan (b.1959)

Missa Brevis (2002)






Agnus Dei

Performer photo
Tullamore Academy Chamber Choir
Gerard Gillen