Fionnuala Hunt

Belfast born virtuoso violinist

Fionnuala Hunt studied at the Ulster College of Music in Belfast and the Royal College of Music in London with Jaroslav Vanacek. From 1976 to 1984 she attended the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, studying with Wolfgang Schneiderhan and Franz Samohyl, gaining her performing diploma with first class honours. In 1999, Ireland’s Sunday Independent honoured her with the Spirit of Life Award.

Hunt’s credits include acting as artistic and music director of the Irish Chamber Orchestra where she directed tours throughout Europe, the USA and Australia, recorded cds of Irish classics and works by Tchaikovsky, and gave world premieres of specially commissioned works by leading Irish composers. She will shortly release a disc of her own arrangements of tango music with the RTE Concert Orchestra.

Hunt has made many solo appearances in Ireland with the National Symphony Orchestra, the RTE Concert Orchestra in Dublin, and the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast, with whom she gave a televised performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Hunt has also directed performances from the violin of concertos by Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart and Mendelssohn with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Mozart with the Ulster Orchestra, and the Four Seasons with the Wheeling Symphony in the US. In 2000 she performed Stanford’s Irish Concertino with the Ulster Orchestra, which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

Performances of contemporary works for violin and orchestra include Lutoslawski’s Partita with Jerzy Maksymiuk at Snape Concert Hall, and Bernstein’s Serenade in Finland conducted by William Boughton. Bill Whelan wrote his double concerto Inishlaken especially for Hunt, which premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and was performed live on BBC television for the 2002 Proms in the Park.

In June 1995 Hunt also performed at the Ojai Festival in California as leader of the Orchestra of the Opéra de Lyon conducted by Kent Nagano.  In February 1997 she led the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Georg Solti, who subsequently invited her to play with the World Orchestra for Peace in Baden-Baden. She returned to lead the Melbourne Symphony in October 2001, and in October 2002 she was guest leader of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for the first time. In May 2003 she was a guest leader with the World Orchestra for Peace under Valery Gergiev in Moscow.

She has also played with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, directed the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and spent two years with the Bavarian State Opera Orchestra in Munich. She has been a guest leader of the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and co-leader of the RTE Symphony Orchestra.

Hunt has played chamber music with her sister Una Hunt from an early age. As a duo they perform regularly together throughout Ireland and have appeared in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Great Britain and America.  As well as the classical repertoire for violin and piano, they have had great success performing Irish music,recording a cd called Irish Fantasy.

Reproduced with kind permission of