Fionnuala Hunt with her violin
Fionnuala Hunt

Fionnula Hunt - Violin

Fionnuala Hunt is one of Ireland’s most distinguished performers known as soloist, director and chamber musician. She was Artistic and Music Director of the Irish Chamber Orchestra and Artistic Director of the annual Music Festval held in Killaloe from 1995-2002. With the ICO she directed performances both nationally and on tour in Europe, the USA and Australia, recorded CD's of Irish Classics and works by Tchaikovsky, and gave world premieres of specially commissioned works by leading Irish composers, a number of which have also been released on CD. She has recently recorded a CD of Tangos in her own arrangements with the RTE Concert Orchestra.

She has made many solo appearances in Ireland with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the RTE Concert Orchestra, and the Ulster Orchestra including a televised performance of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Performances of contemporary works for violin and orchestra include Lutoslawski's Partita with Jerzy Maksymiuk at Snape Concert Hall and Bernstein's Serenade in Finland conducted by William Boughton. Bill Whelan wrote his Double Concerto 'Inishlaken' for her; she gave the world premiere at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and a live performance on BBC TV for the 2002 Proms in the Park. She has directed performances from the violin of concertos by Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart and Mendelssohn with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Mozart Concertos with the Ulster Orchestra, and the Four Seasons with the Wheeling Symphony in the USA. In 2000 she performed Stanford's Irish Concertino with the Ulster Orchestra, which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. In July 2002 she directed the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Recent performances include Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy with the Ulster Orchestra at the Belfast Festival, a tour with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland performing Mozart’s Concerto No 3, and Inishlaken with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia in Spain.

Fionnuala Hunt played with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, and spent two years with the Bavarian State Opera Orchestra in Munich. She was co-leader of the RTE Symphony Orchestra in Dublin for three years. She has been a guest leader of the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. In June 1995 she performed at the Ojai Festival in California as leader of the Orchestra of the Opéra de Lyon conducted by Kent Nagano. In February 1997 she led the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Georg Solti, who subsequently invited her to play with the World Orchestra for Peace in Baden-Baden. She returned to lead the Melbourne Symphony in October 2001, and in October 2002 she was guest leader of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for the first time. In May 2003 she was a guest leader with the World Orchestra for Peace under Valery Gergiev in Moscow.

She has played chamber music with her sister, Una Hunt, from an early age. As a duo they perform regularly together throughout Ireland and have appeared in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Great Britain and America. As well as the classical repertoire for violin and piano they have great success performing Irish music and recorded a CD called 'Irish Fantasy' for Continuum. She is also a member of the Dublin Piano Trio. She has played chamber music at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London as part of the South Bank Centre's 'Young Brahms' series, at Snape Concert Hall during the October Britten Festival, and at the Wigmore Hall, London. She was the Artistic Director of the 1997 series of chamber music recitals at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. She is a regular resident artist at the Sarasota Festival in Florida.

Born in Belfast, Fionnuala Hunt studied at the Ulster College of Music and the Royal College of Music in London with Jaroslav Vanacek. From 1976 to 1984 she attended the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna studying with Wolfgang Schneiderhan and Franz Samohyl gaining her performing diploma with first class honours.

In 1999 the Sunday Independent in Ireland honoured her with the 'Spirit of Life Award'.