Blackwater Valley Opera Festival and the Royal Irish Academy of Music have announced a transformative new music prize to support the studies of two Masters students every year at Ireland’s National Music Conservatoire.

The largest bursary of its kind in Ireland, the BVOF/RIAM Next Generation Awards will select one vocal studies student and one instrumental student annually to receive €20,000 per student.This new award will assist each winner to complete their two-year Master in Music Performance programme at the RIAM.
Blackwater Valley Opera Festival have carefully designed the awards to meaningfully support the next generation of classical musicians studying and working in Ireland.

The entrance bursary provides access to the acclaimed Masters programme at the RIAM, plus a unique performance platform at Ireland’s Summer Opera Festival within the impressive setting of the Blackwater Valley in Co. Waterford.

Speaking at the award announcement, RIAM Director Deborah Kelleher, said: “This award is truly life-changing for two emerging young music professionals each year.

This is the largest entrance bursary in the history of the Academy, the largest of its type in Ireland, and indeed, bursaries this generous are rare across conservatories worldwide.”

“We are beyond thrilled to partner with BVOF and the John Pollard Foundation to offer this astonishingly generous bursary to some truly talented and remarkable musicians. The new award will open the doors of the RIAM to students across the globe, who may not otherwise have the means to study at Ireland’s oldest conservatoire, right in the heart of Dublin.”

Director of BVOF, Eamonn Carroll, added: “The new BVOF/RIAM Next Generation Award will provide vital support for emerging artists in Ireland; it has always been our ethos to support and promote exceptional talent and we are delighted to partner with RIAM on this important initiative. This award is a significant new addition to our bursary programme, which also includes our own BVOF Bursary Award of €10,000 and collaborations with the RDS and Irish Heritage.”

The award is open to vocal and instrumental students worldwide who apply to study on the Masters in Music Performance programme at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, with a particular focus on applications from tenor/countertenors for the vocal award.

One vocal student and one instrumental student will be chosen through their RIAM audition to receive the award, which will be provided as €10,000 in Year 1 and €10,000 in Year 2. Students interested in studying at Masters level at the RIAM from September 2022 can apply between 1 March – 12 April 2022. All applicants will be eligible for the award.

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival and the Royal Irish Academy of Music have announced a new prize to support Masters students.

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival
Blackwater Valley Opera Festival –Ireland’s Summer Opera Festival– returns for 2022 with Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice -conducted by Peter Whelan and directed by David Bolger, from 31 May – 6 June in Lismore, Co. Waterford. This year’s opera production will feature artistic collaborations with the acclaimed Irish Baroque Orchestra and award-winning CoisCéim Dance Theatre.

There will be classical music recitals and concerts, schools and free events, and dining experiences at fantastic venues throughout the Blackwater Valley. Lismore Castle has been the festival’s home since 2010, with the old Stable Yard and impressive grounds of the Castle providing a magical backdrop for our bespoke opera production each summer.

Some of this year’s highlights include a series of unmissable concerts in the breath taking Dromore Yard, featuring Maurice Steger and Friends: with Daniele Caminiti and Mauro Valli; the phenomenally talented pianist Giovanni Bellucci; and the Irish Baroque Orchestra, conducted under the artistic direction of Peter Whelan.

The recitals series will feature a variety of beautiful programmes in the magical surrounds of Lismore Castle, Salterbridge House, St Carthage’s Cathedral, Villierstown Church and Tourin House.

Dining and hospitality will be part of the unique festival experience once again this year in the beautiful grounds of Lismore Castle and at Dromore Yard, Co. Waterford.

For the most up to date information visit

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival is supported by grants from the Arts Council, Waterford City & County Council, Waterford Leader and Fáilte Ireland. The festival’s lead sponsors are Kildare Village, Marsh, AIB and the John Pollard Foundation.


Royal Irish Academy of Music

Ireland’s oldest conservatoire, an associate college of Trinity College, the University of Dublin, and ranked in the top 50 institutions in the world for the performing arts, the RIAM offers junior, pre-college, undergraduate and postgraduate musical training of the highest standards. RIAM Exams assess and support the learning and development of young musicians and their committed teachers throughout the island of Ireland

The RIAM is proud to provide individually tailored music education with the most one-to-one tutor hours of any music conservatory in Europe. Only a small number of students are accepted each year, ensuring greater performance opportunities and deeper relationships with heads of faculty, expert teachers, and fellow students.

Performance opportunities include masterclasses with internationally acclaimed artists, solo and chamber music recitals, large-scale opera productions, International touring opportunities through collaborations with Juilliard School of New York, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, and the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris, and large ensemble performances with the RIAM Philharmonia, RIAM Baroque Ensemble, RIAM Opera Orchestra, and RIAM Contemporary Music Ensemble.

In September 2022, RIAM is set to open a brand new €25 million world-class campus that will double the number of teaching and practice rooms and includes a 300-seat Recital Hall, Library and Research Hub, Opera Studio, Music Discovery and Therapy facilities, and a Sonic Arts Hub.

The Masters in Music Performance Programme attracts instrumentalists and vocalists from all over the world who have achieved a high level of technical and musical skills in their undergraduate studies and want to work with the RIAM’s renowned tutors.