Studio Symphony Orchestra

Guest Artist Profiles - 2016/17 Season

  • Jenny Bourke
  • Tamás Kocsis
  • Michael McHale

Jenny BourkeJenny Bourke is a music graduate of Queen’s University. Following graduation she was funded by the Musician’s Benevolent Fund to do a Masters Degree in Performance at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

Jenny has performed oratorio throughout the UK and Ireland, most notably a Messiah under the baton of Brian Kay in Penrith and Kendall, a Messiah at Maynooth University and Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Irish Youth Choir in Cork, Limerick and Dublin’s National Concert Hall. She has performed in Bach’s St. John’s Passion, Bach’s Mass in F minor, Mozart’s Vesperae Solemnes, Purcell’s Te Deum in D, Monteverdi’s Vespers, Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Vivaldi’s Gloria with Saint George’s Singers.

Her operatic roles include Lucy Lockett The Beggar’s Opera with Opera Fringe, Mother Goose The Rakes Progress (cover at RSAMD,) Sorceress Dido and Aeneus concert performance, Shepherd boy Tosca Ulster Orchestra and Kate Pinkerton Madame Butterfly, Third Lady Magic Flute, Florence Pike Albert Herring, Queen of the Gypsies Bohemian Girl and Dorabella Cosi fan tutti with Castleward Opera.

Jenny was one of a trio who sang at the opening of the St.Patrick’s Day celebrations live on NBC in New York in 2002. She is member of Melisma, an eight-part vocal harmony group who were engaged to sing in Ripon, Leicester, Truro, Chester, Salisbury, Gloucester and St. Patrick’s Dublin Cathedrals. Melisma was also invited to sing in the famous churches of New York in July 2009. These included St. Thomas’s Fifth Avenue, Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Holy Trinity Wall Street.

Currently teaching singing in some of Northern Ireland’s top Grammar school’s and Queen’s University, with student’s going on to study at the Royal Schools and top London Theatre Colleges, Jenny is delighted to be able to fulfill her dual role of performing and teaching, embracing the opportunities the music world presents.


Tamás is a native of Budapest, Hungary. At the age of nine he was accepted at the Liszt Academy of Music where he studied violin with Dénes Kovács. In 1989 he moved to the United States to work with Josef Gingold on a full scholarship at Indiana University and later with Dorothy DeLay at the Julliard School in New York. He also received a full scholarship to the Aspen Music Festival. During these years he also studied with Nelli Shkolnikova, Isaac Stern, Rostislav Dubinsky and János Starker.

Before his appointment as Leader of the Ulster Orchestra in 2010, Tamás held concertmaster positions with the Forth Worth Symphony, the Savannah Symphony and the Orlando Philharmonic. He also had concertmaster positions at the summer festivals of Breckenridge abd Crested Butte in Colorado. He has been invited as Guest Concertmaster with the orchestras of Charleston, Tampa, Melbourne and Vancouver as well as being the Concertmaster of Opera Tampa under Maestro Anton Coppola. Tamás was also with the Teocalli Trio for a number of years.

He recorded Brahms’ Violin Sonatas and Piano Quartets with pianist Fabio Bidini for the EPR Encore label and made a number of recordings for Hungarian Radio. He has also been honoured by receiving an award from the European Council in 1994 and won the Artists’ International Auditions in New York City in 1995. In 2006 he was knighted in Budapest.

He is an avid fan of the Montréal Canadians ice hockey team and loves to go out and play a round of golf whenever he has the chance. He is married to cellist Alexandra Desbruslais and has a young son, Gusztáv.


Belfast-born Michael McHale has established himself as one of the leading Irish pianists of his generation.

Since completing his studies at Cambridge University and the Royal Academy of Music he has developed a busy international career as a solo recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician. Michael has performed at many important musical centres including Suntory Hall, Tokyo; Lincoln Center, New York; Symphony Hall, Boston; Konzerthaus, Berlin; Pesti Vigadó, Budapest; the Ushuaia and Tanglewood Festivals, and for TV and radio broadcasts throughout Europe, Asia, North and South America.

His début solo album ‘The Irish Piano’ was released in 2012 on the RTÉ lyric fm label and has already been featured on national radio in France, Austria, Canada, Australia, the USA, Italy, Estonia and the UK. The disc was selected as ‘CD of the Week’ by critic Norman Lebrecht, who described it as “a scintillating recital…fascinating from start to stop”, whilst Gramophone praised “the singing sensibility of McHale's sensitive and polished pianism”.

Michael has performed frequently as concerto soloist with the Hallé, Bournemouth Symphony and Moscow Symphony orchestras, the Teatro Colon Orchestra, Discovery Ensemble in Boston, the London Mozart Players and all five of the major Irish orchestras in repertoire ranging from Mozart and Beethoven to Gershwin and Rachmaninov.

A recent début with the Irish Chamber Orchestra saw Michael deputise for the indisposed Leon Fleisher in a performance of Prokofiev’s Left Hand Concerto with Gérard Korsten, which was broadcast worldwide on a live online video stream. Engagements in 2013/14 include performances with the Minnesota Orchestra (Mozart K.488 with Courtney Lewis), Ulster Orchestra (Liszt Concerto No.2 with Alan Buribayev), Irish Chamber Orchestra (a new concerto by Garrett Sholdice with Gábor Takács-Nagy) and the RTÉ National Symphony (Gershwin Concerto with Jayce Ogren).

His début solo recitals in the Wigmore Hall, London, the National Concert Hall, Dublin, and the Phillips Collection, Washington DC received great public and critical acclaim, with the Washington Post praising his “…bravura playing in the music of Franz Liszt…” and his “…beautifully proportioned and energetic account of Mozart’s Sonata in C minor, K.457…”

Upcoming engagements include return visits to the Discovery Ensemble (Mozart K.467), Ulster Orchestra (Mendelssohn Concerto for Violin and Piano, and Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue), RTÉ NSO (Prokofiev Concerto No.1, and a première of a new concerto by Philip Hammond), a début solo recital at the Chopiniana Festival in Buenos Aires, a Wigmore Hall coffee concert with London Winds, solo and chamber music performances with Camerata Pacifica in Los Angeles, and with the Vogler Quartet in Madrid and Berlin. New albums due for release in 2014/15 include a second solo CD, Miniatures and Modulations, a disc of clarinet sonatas by Brahms and Reinecke with Michael Collins, and an album of flute and piano works by Schubert, Prokofiev and Liebermann with Stefan Hoskuldsson.

In addition to winning first prize and the audience prize at the prestigious Terence Judd/Hallé Award finals in 2009 (previous winners include Nikolai Lugansky and Stephen Hough), Michael was awarded the Brennan and Field Prizes at the 2006 AXA Dublin International Piano Competition and the 2005 Camerata Ireland/Accenture Award. His teachers and mentors include John O’Conor, Réamonn Keary, Christopher Elton, Ronan O’Hora and Barry Douglas.

Michael collaborates regularly with Sir James Galway, Michael Collins, Patricia Rozario, Ensemble Avalon, Cappa Ensemble and the Vogler Quartet, and his discography includes recordings for Chandos, RTÉ lyric fm, Louth CMS, Lorelt and Nimbus Alliance. For more information visit