"Blending ‘folk’ voices with choral precision and tight harmony isn’t easy, but Desmond Earley has a passionate stake in both and doesn’t put a foot wrong here. Too many highlights to list, but Ivo Antognini’s ‘War’ and ‘Peace’ stand out, as do a lovely arrangement for tenor of ‘Black is the Colour’ and Earley’s own ‘He wishes for the cloths of Heaven’ (after Yeats) [...]"
Choir & Organ Magazine review of Invisible Stars
"Whatever artistic director Desmond Earley and voice coach
Síle McCarthy-Cannon are doing with The Choral Scholars of
University College Dublin, it’s something every other choral
director should be knocking down their door to discover. [...]"
Gramophone Magazine review of Pereptual Twilight
The Choral Scholars is an internationally acclaimed chamber choir of gifted student singers led by founding Artistic Director, Dr Desmond Earley, based at University College Dublin School of Music. Scholars come from various academic disciplines and commit to an intensive programme of choral study. Throughout each semester they receive intense vocal coaching, language instruction, and performance-practice studies.
Since its formation in 1999, the choir has maintained strong links with its family of over two hundred alumni who often return to perform with the ensemble on the national and international concert stage. With a classical focus and an inspiration found in the music and literature of Ireland, the ensemble’s repertoire ranges from contemporary choral music to the re-imagining of Irish traditional song. What differentiates the Choral Scholars from other choirs is a strong national identity, a commitment to artistic excellence, an ambitious vision, a joyful camaraderie, and a dynamic, youthful sound.
The choir frequently performs with Ireland’s leading instrumentalists and orchestras and has in recent years collaborated with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the European Union Chamber Orchestra. In touring the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, the group has brought University College Dublin and its music to an international audience. The choir regularly broadcasts on television and radio. Notable recent appearances include Centenary (RTÉ), for which the ensemble provided the choral soundtrack. Concerts with Hans Zimmer and Ennio Morricone are among their recent prestigious collaborations. In March 2019, they marked their 20th Anniversary at their debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
The performance and commissioning of works by living composers is a hallmark of this ensemble. New compositions have been written for the group by Ivo Antognini, Eoghan Desmond, Desmond Earley, Colin Mawby, Michael McGlynn, Timothy Stephens, and Bill Whelan.
The choir has recorded two albums on the Signum Classics label - Invisible Stars (2015) & Perpetual Twilight (2019) - which feature a collection of traditional and contemporary choral music from Ireland and Scotland, including new arrangements and compositions by some of Ireland’s most celebrated composers.
"The Choral Scholars is one of the best choirs I’ve worked with on my live tour."
Hans Zimmer, Film Composer & Performer
" My 6-year-old daughter Katherine and I made an ancestral journey from Kentucky to Ireland for a week during Christmas. Somehow we stumbled upon the Choral Scholars Invisible Stars album and she has been hooked ever since. We now listen to it every night! Thank you so much for producing this album. You now have given a 6-year-old from Kentucky even more to aspire to. "
Betsy Wade, Louisville, Kentucky, USA