A new Concerto Award – launched this week in Derry, Northern Ireland – will provide a springboard for a talented and promising young musician with the potential for an international career in music.

Created by Le Foyer des Artistes in partnership with the St Columb’s Hall Trust, the St Columb’s Hall Concerto Award is the single largest annual classical music bursary in Ireland, and one of the largest in Europe.

With a total prize fund of £22,000, a bursary of £14,000 will be awarded to the winner, with £4,000 and £2,000 conferred upon second and third place artists respectively.  Audience members at the finalists’ recital will also vote to award an additional audience prize of £2,000.

The competition will see musicians from around the world travel to Derry City – one of Ireland’s most historic centres – to perform in its iconic, Grade A listed St Columb’s Hall at the finalists’ recital on 04 February 2022. The winner will also be invited to perform as a concerto soloist with Le Foyer des Artistes at a special Midsummer Concert on 09 June 2022 in celebration of St Columba’s Day.

Derry-native Darren Hargan, Founder and Artistic Director of Le Foyer des Artistes, explained: “The St Columb’s Hall Concerto Award is open to talented instrumentalists from around the world, providing a unique opportunity for an emerging soloist with the potential for an international career in music.”

“The Award will also celebrate St Columb’s Hall’s rich music tradition over the past 135 years, firmly re-establishing it as a centre for music excellence in Ireland and promoting Derry City’s strong cultural identity abroad.”

Chaired by Director of the Royal Irish Academy of Music Deborah Kelleher, the Jury will also include David Byers, Former Chief Music and Arts Producer, BBC Northern Ireland; Concert Pianist Michael McHale; Weimin Zheng, Professor of Violin, Shanghai Conservatory of Music; and Darren Hargan, Artistic Director, Le Foyer des Artistes.

The competition is open to all musicians of any nationality, aged 28 and below, with categories including Piano, Strings, Woodwind, Brass, Percussion and Harp.

Applicants are invited to submit a video of their performance of a concerto of their choice (with orchestra or piano accompaniment), together with their CV and proof of birthdate, a recent photo and a letter of recommendation from a respected professional musician.  Applications must be submitted via before 30 September 2021.

For more information about the St Columb’s Hall Concerto Award, visit

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