Festival of Percussion


“Festival of Percussion” at the CIT Cork School of Music, Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th of November, 2018. 

Saturday 3rd November

3pm – 4:15pm Masterclass in Orchestral Percussion with Principal Percussionist of the CBSO Adrian Spillet

4:30pm – 5:30pm Concert featuring Millennial Percussion & the CSM Junior Percussion Ensemble

Sunday 4th November

2pm Masterclass in Cuban Percussion with Sophie Hastings

3:30pm Masterclass in Bodhran & Folk Percussion with Cormac Byrne

The CIT Cork School of Music percussion department are proud to collaborate for the first time with the percussion ensemble “Millennial Percussion” from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and its artistic director Adrian Spillet (principal percussionist with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra), and the conservatoire’s percussion lecturers Sophie Hastings and Cormac Byrne. 

Three masterclasses and a concert will be held in the state of the art Curtis Auditorium in the CIT Cork School of Music, Union Quay, Cork. All events are open to the general public and admission is free. 

Organised by CIT CSM lecturer Stephen Kelly, Millennial Percussion will be joining forces with the Cork School of Music Percussion Ensemble for a weekend of percussion in the CIT Cork School of Music, with three  masterclasses and a concert.

On Saturday the 3rd of November at 3pm Adrian Spillett, head of the percussion department at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire will give a masterclass in orchestral percussion. Adrian has been the principal percussionist of the world famous City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra since 2011, and was the first percussionist to win the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 1998. 

This will be followed by a concert at 4:30pm – 5:30pm featuring Millennial Percussion & the Cork School of Music Percussion Ensemble, featuring music that will show off a plethora of percussion instruments in a show that will suit all ages. 

On Sunday 4th at 2pm percussionist Sophie Hastings will be giving a masterclass in the percussion instruments and rhythms of Cuba. The class will cover the technical aspects of playing cuban percussion as well as showcasing the incredibly funky sounds of Rumba Columbia, Comparsa, Mozambique, Guarapachangeo and the even funkier Bata Toques from Matanzas. Come and enjoy the intensity of cuban music stripped down to its essentials rhythm and the drum.

This will be followed at 3:30pm by Waterford’s own Cormac Byrne giving a class on Bodhran and Folk percussion. Cormac is one of Ireland’s finest musical experts, and its an honour to welcome in to the CIT Cork School of Music where he will demonstrate his incredible bodhran technique, with an emphasis on its use in current folk music trends. Cormac will also be showing how to incorporate other percussion instruments into a folk music setting. 

Stephen Kelly is lecturer in percussion at the CIT Cork School of Music, and is the Associate Principal Percussionist in the RTE Concert Orchestra, with whom he has played with many of the top national and international stars in the music business, including the recent successful collaboration with DJ Jenny Greene https://youtu.be/30C0skgB93c

He also rates trashing a piano with metal chains as one of the musical highlights of his illustrious career. https://youtu.be/lCkoIMrLcqY

Millennial Percussion

Artistic Director Adrian Spillett


Millennial Percussion is made up of students from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Percussion Department.  The department aims to offer the most versatile training with employability being the main focus of the course. The department offers an immensely broad and thorough percussive education, with over a dozen highly acclaimed specialist tutors including Alexej Gerassimez, Adrian Spillett, Sophie Hastings, Owen Gunnell, Cormac Byrne, Maraca2 Percussion Duo & Paul Turner.

Recent years has seen students travel on a learning exchange programme in Brazil with the Bahia Orchestra Project (Neojiba) and the world-famous traditional Samba School, GRES Portela.Lastyear, four students won 3rd prize in the Taiwan International Percussion Convention Competition. Other performances include Steve Reich’s DrummingMusic for Mallets, Voices & OrganSix Marimbas, Xenakis’ Persephassa, Ishii’s Concertante at the prestigious CBSO Centre Stage Series platform.

2018 saw the group perform in new exciting residency in Digbeth’s Centrala, featuring music for percussion with microphones and lighting in addition to Festival Ibérico de Música de Badajoz, Spain.

Adrian Spillett is the Section Leader Percussionist with the world renowned City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and works regularly with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, the Graham Fitkin Band, the Colin Currie Group and the John Wilson Orchestra.

Recent performances include Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians at the Glastonbury Festival with London Sinfonietta, the BBC Proms with the World Orchestra for Peace and Stewart Copeland’s Percussion Quartet Concerto, Poltroons in Paradise in China with the RLPO.

As a soloist, Adrian has performed with the Royal Liverpool, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic and Irish Chamber orchestras. 

His concerto performances include Macmillan’s Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, Keiko Abe’s Prism Rhapsody II, Joseph Schwantner’s Percussion Concerto, and the world premiere of Dinuk Wijeratne’s Percussion Concerto. 

Sophie Hastings studied at the RNCM in Manchester and graduated in 1998. Since then, she has performed with many professional orchestras, TV and touring shows playing drum kit, Latin and orchestral percussion.

The orchestras include the City Of Birmingham Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Opera North, English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Northern Ballet, Royal Scottish National and Scottish Chamber. Touring shows include The Producers, Oklahoma, The Lion King, Never Forget, Dirty Dancing, SHOUT!, Saturday Night Fever, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Beauty And The Beast and Footloose. TV credits include performances for Gary Barlow, Ice T, Emma Bunton, John Barrowman, Lulu, Mel B, Big Brovaz and Misteeq. Shows include Katherine Jenkins, Jane Macdonald, Leslie Garrett, Antony Costa, Jonathan Wilkes, Joe Longthorne and Kiri Te Kanawa. http://www.bcu.ac.uk/conservatoire/music/departments/percussion/key-staff/sophie-hastings

Cormac Byrne is a bodhrán player and percussionist from Waterford, Ireland and is now based in the UK. He has received many awards for his work including The BBC Young Folk Award and was winner of the BBC Fame Academy Education Bursary in 2006.

Cormac has appeared at numerous festivals around the world and has toured extensively. Primarily playing with Mercury Music Prize Nominee, Seth Lakeman, he was also a founder member of BBC award winning band, Uiscedwr. His versatility has seen him in much demand across many genres, both live and in the studio, from Traditional Irish, Folk &World Music. 

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