About The Show

Have you ever wished you could play a musical instrument? Did you learn an instrument as a kid and regret giving it up? RTE's new series 'Instrumental' proves its never too late to pick up an instrument… especially if the end goal is to play live on stage with the RTE Concert Orchestra.

Follow the highs and lows as Brent Pope, Manuela Spinelli and John Murray partner members of the public on an exciting musical challenge.

'Instrumental' seeks to stimulate the nation to pick up and play a music instrument. Three personalities and three members of the public will set off on a 4 month journey to learn a musical instrument from scratch, and over a course of escalating challenges and public performances each week, their journey culminates on stage at the National Concert Hall as they play a solo with the RTE Concert Orchestra.

Each student is mentored by a member of the RTE Concert Orchestra and the journey's presenter and task master is principal conductor David Brophy. On this series, in conjunction with the John Murray radio show and interactive web site, David wants to inject the nation with the drug of music, so that it can enrich their lives, as it has his own. The series illustrates the hard work, passion, dedication and fun in learning to master an instrument. The series airs from early October on RTE 1, and will run for 6 weeks, culminating in their performance in the National Concert Hall in November.

David Brophy - Presenter

David is presenting the Instrumental series, and is hugely excited about it! He really wants to change people's lives through music and get everyone across the country picking up an instrument. He thinks the RTÉ Concert Orchestra are a great bunch of musicians who are so passionate about what they do, and will bring a real sense of enjoyment and camaraderie to the show. Every day David meets people who say they wish they'd learned to play something or regretted giving an instrument up when they were younger. "Well now's their chance – we're going to infect them with the drug of music!"

David has been the Principal Conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra since 2007. He was appointed apprentice conductor with the National Chamber Choir of Ireland and subsequently became assistant conductor with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland.

He has collaborated with many internationally acclaimed soloists including Tasmin Little and Lesley Garrett. He conducted the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in front of over 80,000 people at the opening ceremony of The Special Olympics World Games in 2003. His most recent work has included Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire for Opera Ireland. David has also collaborated with Eleanor McEvoy, Paul Brady, Brian Kennedy and Declan O'Rourke. He has also worked with traditional musicians including Seamus Begley, Nollaig Casey, The Chieftains, Rita Connolly, Carlos Nunez and Sharon Shannon.

Michael Seaver - Clarinet

Michael, along with Jean Duncan, will be teaching the clarinet to Greg Clifford and Brent Pope
Principal clarinettist with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, a co-founder of the Crash Ensemble and a member of the Haenjo Trio, Michael has performed concertos – from Mozart to Artie Shaw – and has given solo recitals throughout Ireland, specialising in contemporary music. He holds an MA in Music and as a composer he wrote over twenty scores for dance companies in Ireland and Mexico, after which he concentrated on writing about dance. He has also composed for theatre, including the Abbey Theatre, and is the dance critic with The Irish Times.

Jean Duncan - Clarinet

Jean kicked off the journey with Greg and Brent and has been teaching them for the first two episodes. Michael is now charged with the task of bringing our instrumentalists to the National Concert Hall and is their tutor for the following four episodes.
Jean was born in Ireland but moved to England when she was six years old. She studied the clarinet and piano and completed a degree in the Royal Academy Of Music in London. She spent a year freelancing in clarinet before joining the RTÉ Concert Orchestra of which she is a longstanding member. She also takes part in various choral societies.

Yue Tang - Cello

Yue is teaching Jennifer O'Mahony and Maeve Higgins how to play the cello
Yue is the sub-principal cellist of RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the conductor of Royal Irish Academy of Music Junior String Ensemble. He studied cello at the prestigious Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, University of Southern California and Oberlin Conservatory of Music in US. He was the section leader of Florida Philharmonic Orchestra and Boca Raton Philharmonic Symphonia before coming to Ireland. Yue has recently completed his Master degree in cello performance at Royal Irish Academy of music.

Brian Connor - Piano

Brian Connor performs frequently on piano/celeste with the RTE Concert Orchestra
He studied piano and composition at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin. For four years he was the Musical Director of 'Riverdance' for it's UK and USA touring productions. Other credits include Celtic Woman, the Abbey Theatre's 'The Shaughran' and 'Abbey 100', and he was Associate Musical Director of 'The Pirate Queen' musical in Chicago and Broadway. He has worked with many singer/songwriters including Freddie White, Brian Kennedy, Van Morrison, Mary Coughlan, Dolores Keane, Christie Hennessy, and Eleanor McEvoy.

Fiachra Trench - Music Arranger

Fiachra will be arranging the music for everyone taking part in Instrumental. He hopes that the participants will find the challenge enjoyable. Fiachra also believes that the show will send out positive vibes to the public and encourage them to get out there and have a go themselves.

Fiachra studied science at Trinity College, Dublin and composition and organ at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. He pursued further musical studies at the Universities of Georgia and Cincinnati and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

He worked in London as composer, arranger, musical director and record producer. Since returning to live in Ireland Fiachra has worked principally in the area of music for film and television. His scores include those for Dear Sarah, A Love Divided and the major BBC documentary series, People's Century. Fiachra has worked behind the scenes on a diverse range of projects from blockbuster films such as 'Die Hard' and 'Pearl Harbour' to television series including 'Agatha Christie's Poirot' and 'The Ren and Stimpy Show' and has composed music for features including 'Moondance' and 'A Love Divided'. He also taught Paul McCartney's late wife Linda how to play piano.

As arranger/musical director he has worked with rock, pop and folk performers including such legends as Van Morrission, Elvis Costello, Sinéad O'Connor, Phil Lynott, Paul McCartney, The Pogues, The Corrs, The Chieftains, Paul Brady, Declan O'Rourke, Altan and Wet Wet Wet.