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Performing Arts Drama

Get a behind the scenes view of the Ad Astra Performing Arts Drama Scholars by clicking here!

Carla Fusciardi Wallace, Drama Scholar, Law Stage Alumna (2022)Carla receiving award

UCD Ad Astra Performing Arts Scholar and Law Alumna (2022) Carla Fusciardi Wallace offers her advice on applying to  UCD’s Ad Astra Performing Arts Scholarship. Read here to find out her reasons on why you should apply!

Performing Arts Music

One of the benefits of the Academy is the opportunity to perform in different venues to members of the public. Check out this link to see our Musical scholars perform in Newman Church, St. Stephens Green in March 2019.

Lukas O'Brien, Oboist, Medicine Alumnus

Performance Highlights: I am lucky to have performed extensively locally and abroad whilst I was growing up. I won the McCullough Cup for woodwind concerto at Feis Ceoil in 2012 which resulted in performing a concerto as a soloist with the Dublin Orchestral Players the following December at the Honourable Society of Kings Inns. I performed in the United Arab Emirates with the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland, I was lucky enough to play in that orchestra for 6 years. I also have diplomas in music performance from the London College of Music and Trinity College London (DipLCM,ATCL,LTCL). Music has also allowed me to perform in Sweden, Belgium, The USA, England, and Germany in recent years. I am extremely grateful to be a performing arts scholar at UCD, and I would highly recommend the experience to anyone.

‌Ad Astra Experience: With Ad Astra, I’ve been able to continuously improve and challenge myself as a classical musician, whilst pursuing a separate degree in the process. My very first event for Ad Astra was a masterclass series in August 2013 with Conductor Roy Goodman. It was a hugely enjoyable week, I still remember vividly the recording he played of himself as a boy soprano singing Allegri Miserere with Kings College Choir, Cambridge. After the recording finished, there was a collective silence in the room, and it was the sound of mutual admiration and respect for a fellow musician; a beautiful realisation considering the room consisted of Medics, Maths, and Actuary students! Aside from this reverie we’ve had ample opportunities to perform as ensembles: another huge advantage of the Ad Astra programme. Unless studying undergraduate music at a conservatory, it is difficult/near impossible to play chamber music at a high standard in your university. With the Academy, we have some of the best musicians in Ireland right on campus in Belfield, and the Artistic Directors of the Academy encourage ensemble playing as often as possible. We perform on campus regularly, in the O’Brien centre for Science, and Memorial Hall Richview, amongst other venues around the city of Dublin. We’ve been lucky enough to travel abroad in recent years with the Academy. In January 2017, we went to Amsterdam. Here I had a Masterclass with Aisling Casey; principal oboist of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and the strings had tutelage from The Amsterdam Conservatory string faculty head; Kees Koelmans. We had a highly engaging trip to Toronto, Canada in March 2018 to play at the residence of the Irish ambassador, as part of their St Patricks day celebrations.

Anna Mitchell, Violin, Psychology Alumna

Anna has been awarded and accepted a place on the Masters of Classical String Performance at the Irish World Academy in the University of Limerick this year.

I joined the Ad Astra Performing Arts Academy in 2018 and so far, my experience has been phenomenal. I had decided in 6th year not to pursue music professionally, but I knew I didn’t want to let go of my passion for the violin. The Ad Astra Academy has enabled me to do this. By being a member of the Academy, I am able to study both Psychology and the violin to equally high levels. This is a gift that I am very grateful for. It is not easy keeping up the high level of violin performance required as well as adjusting to college life, but the Academy has been very helpful. It is very important to have a balance between my music and my studies, and not to let either suffer. Being an Ad Astra scholar keeps me busy, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

The Academy has already given me countless opportunities to pursue my interest in music that I would not have been given otherwise, and I try to get involved with events organised by the Academy as much as possible. We regularly give recitals and performances in the college and this year we will travel to Canada. It is a wonderful platform for me where I get the opportunity to meet likeminded people and to collaborate with other Music and Drama scholars. I have the chance to work alongside other great musicians in chamber music ensembles and in the UCD Symphony Orchestra too. The Ad Astra Performing Arts Scholarship has also aided the development of my violin skills outside of the college. I have the ability, freedom and support to participate in masterclasses and competitions thanks to the Academy. It is great to be able to bring my talent to UCD as you can see the enjoyment it brings to the community. The recitals and ‘pop-up’ performances we have given this year have been really appreciated by the other students and this makes it all the more fun.

Contact UCD Ad Astra Academy

Student Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4.
T: +353 1 716 3105 | E: adastraacademy@ucd.ie