The Dónal ‘Doc’ Gleeson Awards
UCC Department of Music Student Performers
In memory of their colleague, Dónal Gleeson, the Dublin Postal Clerks Branch of Communication Workers Union has established a fund to enable the University to provide a number of Instrumental Tuition Awards. Not more than four awards are made each year to deserving undergraduate students in the Department of Music to help them defray the cost of the individual instrumental lessons they are required to take with an approved teacher.
This year’s recipients of the Dónal ‘Doc’ Gleeson Awards are: Donnchadh Hughes, Iona Ritchie, Eve Whelan & Jamie Reese Benson.
Donnchadh Mac Aodha is a 20-year-old composer and multi-instrumentalist from Dundalk, Co.Louth. He is a Quercus Creative and Performing Arts Scholar and a 2nd year Arts-Music student, studying Music and Irish. Donnchadh learned his flute playing from Bronagh Needham, daughter of Roscommon flute player Peig Needham, and later with Cian Kearins from Co Sligo. He also attended summer schools and festivals learning from players such as Aoife Granville, John Wynne, Dave Sheridan and Louise Mulcahy. In recent years, Donnchadh was awarded the Mícheál Ó hEidhin medal by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann for achieving distinction in his grade 8 SCT flute exam and reached the final of the Bonn Óir Seán Ó Riada competition in 2020. He is a 3 time All Ireland Champion on flute, most recently winning the Senior Flute Slow Airs title in Mullingar 2022. He is currently studying piano under Michael McHale at Cork School of Music, and harp with Niamh O’Brien as part of his degree course at UCC.
Donnchadh is very grateful to be the recipient of a Dónal ‘Doc’ Gleeson Award, which he hopes to put towards the purchase of a new Eb flute.
Iona Ritchie is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer and second year Music and English student from Dunmore East, Co. Waterford. Iona has achieved two diplomas (DipLCM) in Irish Music Performance on both Fiddle and Button Accordion from the London College of Music, where she also received a 98% in her Grade 8 in Melodeon. A member of CCÉ Cathair Phort Láirge, she has represented her branch and is a county, provincial and All Ireland prize-winner in both singing and melodeon. In 2021, she competed in Fleadhfest in the Traditional English Singing category. She has played nationally and internationally with Music Generation Waterford’s Senior Traditional Ensemble and is a member of Craanhill Ceilí Band and Grúpa Cheoil. She has performed in concerts, competitions and T.V shows, including PBS’s “Ireland with Michael” and “Other Voices”. Iona also enjoys teaching and giving workshops in traditional singing. Iona is a Quercus Creative & Performing Arts Scholar and was a recipient of the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Scholarship in 1st year.
Eve is a second year BMus student from Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. At age nine she began learning to play the trumpet in her local marching and concert band. A lifelong love of singing and songwriting led to the release of her debut EP “Reflection“ in 2021, which was written, performed, recorded and mixed by Eve from her home studio. She was featured on Spin 1038 “One To Watch” and her song “August“ was featured on Hotpress “New Irish Songs To Hear This Week“. Her latest single “Wasted Youth“ was featured on Goldenplec “Fresh Fridays – New Irish Music“ and received national radio airplay. Eve performed in the “Clonmel Song Cycle”, composed by Eamon O’Malley which was featured on RTÉ Culture Night- Live from Lough Boora. She feels deeply honoured to have been awarded the prestigious Donal ‘Doc’ Gleeson Award and will be performing her original songs at the concert.