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Cassiopeia Winds

Cassiopeia Winds


Cassiopeia: a group of five bright stars in the shape of a W, to be found in the northern sky.

Cassiopeia Winds: a group of five exceptional musicians, whose sheer joy in performing together shines through each concert.



Cassiopeia Winds is an Irish chamber wind ensemble formed in 2010, whose performances are marked by vivacity, panache and a dedication to the exploration of fine soundworlds. Though the ensemble has the capacity to expand or contract to suit its innovative programming, at its core is a quintet of players whose members are among the finest in the country, including players from the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the Crash Ensemble.



The ensemble aims with each performance to run the full and varied gamut of the wind repertoire from 19th-century to contemporary works, including Danzi, Reicha, Barber, Hindemith, Poulenc, Francaix, Ibert, Nielsen, Ligeti and Arvo Part. Their concerts represent the startling originality and exoticism, and the inimitable palette of tone colours of the wind ensemble. They have a dedication to bringing the lesser-known works of this repertoire into the Irish and international concert halls and festivals.


The ensemble also have a great interest in contemporary music and in supporting the work of new Irish composers, and intend to commission new works for wind quintet for performance in Ireland and internationally. They will give the first performance of a new work by Sean O’Callaghan at a concert in Wicklow in July 2014.


Cassiopeia Winds have performed across the country as well as completing a tour of Dublin churches. They have a passion for collaborating with other artists, such as renowned pianist Finghin Collins with whom they performed the Poulenc Sextet in 2011, followed by concerts at the Music for Wexford Concert Series in 2012 and at Waterford Music in 2013. Recent concerts in 2014 include a performance at the launch of the Galway Midwinter Festival, and a day-long residency at the RTÉ lyric fm stage at the Bloom Festival in Dublin. The ensemble performed a weekend of concerts as part of the New Ross Piano Festival in September 2014 and performed at the Joan Trimble Centenary concert at the Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen in June 2015.



Credit: Emily Manning

Cassiopeia Winds are:


Matthew Manning was Principal Oboe in the RTE National Symphony Orchestra for 21 years before leaving to pursue a freelance career . He has played with the Irish Chamber Orchestra , The Orchestra of St Cecilia, the Irish Film Orchestra, the Wexford Festival Orchestra, and the Scottish National Orchestra . His work ranges from education workshops in County Mayo and the National Youth Orchestra to commercial recordings and concerts with 'The Doors' and 'Bill Bailey's Amazing Guide to the Orchestra'!... He teaches oboe in the Royal Irish Academy of Music and the Cork School of Music. His solo CD 'Silver River' features the music of  Michael McGlynn and is available on www.cdbaby.com.


Catriona Ryan studied flute as a scholarship student with Doris Keogh at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and later at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. During her college years she was engaged by various orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, Northern Sinfonia and Hallé Orchestras. She joined our own RTE National Symphony Orchestra in 1993 as Sub-Principal Flute & Piccolo, and in 2006 she won the appointment of Flute Section Leader, a position she continues to hold and enjoy to this day. Catriona has played with many ensembles including the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St.Cecilia, and the Irish Film Orchestra. An enthusiastic chamber musician and soloist, she has also collaborated with the Grammy-nominated Friday-Seezer Ensemble on a CD and book of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf with illustrations by Bono, with all proceeds going to The Irish Hospice Foundation.


Deirdre O'Leary is a freelance clarinettist from Dublin. She has been a member of the Crash Ensemble since 2003 and has travelled to Australia and NY with them and played at the iconic Bang on a Can Marathon. Deirdre is a founder member of Prey, a wind trio which has performed regularly around Ireland since 2001. Prey travelled to Norway in 2009 to perform their show Metamorphoses at the Stamsund International Theatre Festival. She has also played regularly with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the Wexford Opera Festival Orchestra and the RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland. Deirdre is very interested in world music and improvising; she currently listens to other people playing klezmer and other funky world music more than they listen to her, but she's working on changing that. Deirdre lives in Cloughjordan with her husband and two daughters where they are building a cob house.


Cormac O hAodáin was born in Dublin in 1971. He studied horn with Victor Malirsh at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and continued his studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. Cormac has been a member of both the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra in London and is now Section Leader/Principal French Horn of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.


John Hearne completed his studies on the bassoon at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, and at the Scuola Musicale di Milano. Since returning to Dublin in 2001, John has worked with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the RTE Concert Orchestra, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Cecilia, Opera Theatre Company, the Castleward Opera orchestra and various other ensembles. He has performed and recorded with a number of artists including singer/songwriter Julie Feeney, featuring on her album "Pages". A keen chamber musician, John also teaches the bassoon at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama.


Upcoming Events

Thanks to an Arts Council touring Award, Cassiopeia Winds will be performing live again in September.

You can catch them on:

Thursday 23 in Calary Church, Co Wicklow

Saturday 25 in Draiocht Arts Centre, Blanchardstown

Sunday 26 in the Hugh Lane Gallery, Parnell Square

Wednesday 13 October in The Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge

A wonderful programme played by five wonderful performers..

Tickets for the concert in Draiocht are now on sale and can be purchased online at https://draiocht.ticketsolve.com/shows/1173612489


 Due to Covid-19 restrictions capacity in the theatre is down to 50 so it might be a good idea to book NOW!


 Cassiopeia Winds Touring Programme September/October 2021

 Danzi: Wind Quintet 

 Zemlinsky: Humoreske (Rondo) 

 Coleman Red Clay & Mississippi Delta 

 Mozart: Adagio & Allegro

O’Dwyer: The Cynical Clown

Holst: Quintet in A minor, Op.3 

Berio: Opus Number Zoo 






 Older projects


Over the coming months Cassiopeia Winds can be heard (and enjoyed) on the following dates and in the following venues across Ireland:

29 October at 6pm - Royal Irish Academy of Music, Westland Row. (free admission)

The event is a Contemporary Music Centre (CMC) Salon where the quintet will be joined by the composer John Buckley. They will perform sections of John's new quintet, Wind Quintet No. 2 commissioned by the ensemble for performance on their forthcoming tour. Also on the programme for the evening will be John Buckley's first winf quintet written almost 40 years ago and Three Diversions by Joan Trimble whose centenary occurs this year.

Further details of this event at http://www.cmc.ie/calendar/index.cfm?firstday=10/29/2015#29



Cassiopeia Winds on Tour


Sat. 7 Nov at 8pm Birr Theatre and Arts Centre, Birr

Tickets €18/€16 – T. 057 9122911 or www.birrtheatre.com

Sat. 14 Nov at 8pm Tullynally Castle, Castlepollard

Promoted by Derravaragh Music Association

Ticket €20 – T. B. Taylor 044-9666344, or loughbawn@eircom.net

Sun. 29 Nov at 3pm The Black Abby, Kilkenny

Promoted by Music in Kilkenny

Tickets €15/€10 – T. 086 1777017 or at the door

Tues. 8 Dec at 8pm Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise

Tickets €18/€16 – T. 057 8663355 or www.dunamaise.ie

Thurs. 11 Feb (2016) at 7.30pm St Peter’s C of I Drogheda

Promoted by DICMS

Tickets €18/€16 (€5 children and students)

T. (041) 9833946 or, www.droichead.com




Franz Danzi       Wind Quintet in D minor Opus 68 No.3

Jacques Ibert     Trois Pièces Brèves

John Buckley                 Wind Quintet No 2


Jean-Michel Damase       Dix-Sept Variations

Carl Nielsen                   Kvintet Opus 43


This is music for all age groups – music that will raise the spirits and send you home smiling.


Cassiopeia Winds is an Irish chamber wind ensemble formed in 2010, whose performances are marked by vivacity, panache and a dedication to the exploration of fine sound-worlds. At its core is a quintet of players whose members are among the finest in the country, including players from the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the Crash Ensemble.


Cassiopeia Winds offer music of unique versatility and variety. This wonderfully diverse music is rarely played and is relatively unknown around Ireland. However, once heard, audiences are usually hooked and want to hear it played again and again.