My Weekend: I wake up every day feeling super lucky that I get to travel the world doing what I love

The Ortús Chamber Music Festival runs in Cork from March 1 to 3. Sinéad O’Halloran, one of the driving forces behind the festival talks about growing up with classical music, traveling the world and why yoga is part of her daily routine.
My Weekend: I wake up every day feeling super lucky that I get to travel the world doing what I love
Violinist Mairéad Hickey and cellist, Sinéad O’Halloran are behind the Ortus Chamber Music Festival.

TELL us a little bit about yourself:

My name is Sinéad O’Halloran and I am a 24-year-old cellist from Cork but currently based in Düsseldorf, Germany, where I am carrying out my Bachelor of Music.

I grew up surrounded by classical music — my mum is a cellist and both of my older sisters played various instruments.

I knew from a pretty young age that music was my biggest passion and I still wake up every day feeling super lucky that I get to travel the world doing what I love!

I am the co-founder and Artistic Director of the Ortús Chamber Music Festival.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

I absolutely love performing so I’m always happy to have concerts on Friday nights with some celebrations afterwards.
I also really enjoy a night in with my closest friends; enjoying good food, good wine and great conversation — it doesn’t get much better than that.

Lie-ins or up with the lark.. which is it for you?

I’m afraid I am naturally a late sleeper but as tour schedules usually don’t align with that I have had to train myself to wake up early.

I always make an effort to start the day with yoga and meditation which makes a huge difference to my day.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Absolutely. Weekends don’t really exist for musicians — we are always rehearsing, performing or catching up on administration.

This weekend I am on tour with the Budapest Festival Orchestra. On Friday morning we flew from Amsterdam to Udine after a concert in the Concertgebouw for a concert in Italy on Friday evening. Saturday morning we flew from Trieste to Budapest for a Midnight Concert that night and a Sunday afternoon concert. I spent my plane journeys writing emails and learning music for my upcoming projects.

Sinead O'Halloran, Ortùs Festival, during the performance.Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Sinead O'Halloran, Ortùs Festival, during the performance.Picture: Jim Coughlan.

If money was no object where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you?

I had the pleasure of performing in Barbados a few years ago. I often dream about flying back to that paradise for a few days with my boyfriend.

It might be a bit far for a weekend getaway but we can always dream.

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries?

I grew up in Blackrock and always loved doing a walk of the Outer Ring to clear my head and enjoy the Irish air.

Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend?

Absolutely. As I spend so much time on the road I always really appreciate the quality time I get to spend with my family and friends. I especially love spending time with my little niece and nephew. Seeing life through a child’s eye is always very inspiring.

Do you get to indulge any hobbies? Even as a spectator?

Yoga is certainly a very important part of my daily routine and I really notice the effect it has on my body and mind. I also enjoy indulging in Netflix at the end of the day.

Entertain or be entertained? If it’s the latter do you have a signature dish?

Although I very much enjoy playing hostess, I also love sitting back and sampling other people’s signature dishes (food is another passion of mine.)

We have so many places to eat out in Cork — where are your go to spots for coffee/lunch/special meal?

I recently discovered the Good Day Deli and couldn’t believe what a gem we had in the middle of Cork city.

My sister had her wedding meal at Jacob’s on the Mall and so the delicious food there always brings back very happy memories.

Sunday night comes around too fast.. how do you normally spend it?

If I am in Düsseldorf I would often make an effort to get all of my practice done in the afternoon so that I can go for a walk along the Rhein, cook myself a nice dinner and catch up with some friends (either in person or via Skype.)

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning?

It varies from week to week — last week it went off at 7am for our morning rehearsal, however this Monday I might treat myself to a lie in to make sure I have lots of energy for our evening concert.


The Ortús Chamber Music Festival runs in Cork city and county from March 1 to 3. Violinist Mairéad Hickey and cellist, Sinéad O’Halloran are behind the festival.

This year’s festival has an incredible line up. On violin there is Patrick Rafter from Dublin and celebrated American violinist William Hagen, on viola Timothy Ridout from the UK, and Dutch cellist Ella van Poucke.

Ortús 2019 is also delighted to welcome brilliant Irish pianist, Michael McHale, and London based clarinettist Jessie Grimes will also perform, as will Clare Uilleann Piper, Fergal Breen.

Also performing will be Mairéad and Sinéad themselves.

This last year has been an exciting year for Sinéad as she was selected as Principal Cellist of the European Union Youth Orchestra which gave her the opportunity to lead the section at the BBC Proms and on tour across Europe, South American and the UAE.

She performed in front of 84 Heads of State at the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day under the Arc du Triomphe.

Mairéad too has had a very busy year and one of her highlights was touring in Siberia.

Last May, she played at the Mantova Chamber Music Festival in a recital with pianist Alexander Lonquich.

They performed in the Teato Bibiena, a beautiful theatre where a teenage Mozart performed at its opening concert.

For a full line up/ tickets see

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