The Trench Award

The purpose of this award is to assist a singer/musician from the Midlands/Mid-West region to develop their professional career through further study at a University/Music College/accredited music establishment, in Ireland or abroad, undertaking classical music studies in pursuit of a career in professional performance.

Find out more about our 2021 finalists here


Trench Award Recipients to date:


2020  Ben Gannon - oboe

2019  Aidan Chan - piano -

2018  Philip Keegan - tenor

2017  Richard Thomas - violin

2016  Sarah Brady - soprano - more info here

2015  Carolyn Holt - mezzo soprano -

2014  Heather Fogarty - mezzo soprano

Birr Lions Club Bursary

This award is named in recognition of Birr Lions Club's ongoing support for Birr Festival of Music which is greatly appreciated.  They have generously supported numerous community, education and cultural organisations in Birr since establishment in 1974.  

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Canto Al Serchio Award

Awarded to a singer in the Trench Award final, this is a residency at the Summer Opera Academy in Tuscany of renowned baritone Bruno Caproni and pianist Julian Evans.  The recipient joins a small group of international singers for vocal coaching, Italian lessons and performance opportunities, visiting Puccini's birthplace in nearby Lucca and generally immersing themselves in Italian culture.  


The Audrey Chisholm Award

In memory of the late Audrey Chisholm, concert pianist and hugely popular teacher for many years at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin.  Audrey grew up on Oxmantown Mall, Birr.  Her father, William, was head forrester at Birr Castle, her mother, Ciss, taught piano and gave Audrey her first lesson.  Awarded to an instrumentalist, funded from Audrey's estate by her brother Danvers, and curated by Linda O'Shea Farran.      

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Musical Futures 2020

A bursary awarded to a Midlands student entering full time music studies in the classical field.  Recipients to date are:

2020 Aoibhin Keogh Daly - Cello

2019 David Kennedy - Tenor

2018 Dylan Rooney - Baritone

2017 Mollie Wrafter - Violin