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Michael d'Arcy was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He began playing the violin at the age of seven and studied with Harry Cawood, Pavel Crisan and Lydia Mordkovitch. Firmly established as one of Ireland's most celebrated musicians, he first came to prominence in 1987 when his performance of Prokofiev's first Violin Concerto gained him first prize in Ireland's national competition for young musicians, the RTE "Musician of the Future" competition. Broadcast live on RTE television and radio, this award led to his being engaged for solo performances and broadcasts throughout Ireland and the UK. In the same year Michael was awarded the Bass Ireland Arts Award. During his period of study at the Royal Northern College of Music he won annual awards and scholarships, performed frequently as soloist and was leader of the Chamber, Symphony and Opera Orchestras.


Since his London debut in 1990 with the Walton Concerto, Michael d'Arcy has performed to critical and public acclaim throughout Europe, North and South America and in the Far East. Eager to return to Ireland he became concertmaster of the National Symphony Orchestra for their 1992/1993 season, taking up the same position with the RTE Concert Orchestra in 1994, a position he held until 2000 when he left to pursue a broader range of musical activities.


As concerto soloist Michael performs regularly with all the major Irish orchestras. He has recently performed as soloist In Korea, Russia, The United Kingdom, France, Germany and The Netherlands. He has appeared as guest concertmaster of English National Opera, BBC Scottish Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Ulster Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Portuguese National Orchestra, Opera Ireland, Opera Theatre Company and many others. He is concertmaster of Camerata Ireland, directed by Barry Douglas, which brings together the finest Irish musicians and with which he tours internationally.


Keen to bring new and neglected works to the public, Michael gave the world premiere of the Violin Concerto by Ronan Guilfoyle (commissioned for him by RTE) and the Irish premieres of concerti by Samuel Barber, Kurt Weill, Philip Glass, Martinu, Scelsi and Vivaldi (Concerti for two violins with Nigel Kennedy, in a sell-out tour of Ireland with the Irish Chamber Orchestra). He has also given the first Irish performances of works by Xenakis, Penderecki, Thomas Ades, Gerald Barry and others. He recently performed the Violin Concerto and “Variations on a Dublin Air” by Sir Hamilton Harty with the Ulster Orchestra for BBC Radio Three. In 2008 he gave the US premiere of the violin concerto by Benjamin Guttierez with the Washburn Symphony conducted by Norman Gamboa.


Michael is the Professor of Violin the Royal Irish Academy of Music. He has given masterclasses in Europe, North America and Russia. In 1994 he founded the Irish Piano Trio, which has performed throughout Ireland and the Far East.


In addition to Michael's experience as a classical player, he has been concertmaster in the Eurovision Song Contest (1994, 1995, 1997) and has worked as concertmaster and soloist with Burt Bacarach, Carl Davis and performed in Jazz ensembles with the New York saxophonist Dave Liebman, Ronan Guilfoyle and Simon Nabatov. As a concertmaster of the Irish Film Orchestra, he can be heard on many Film and Pop album scores.


Michael d'Arcy plays on violins by Carlo Giuseppe Testore, made in Milan in 1710, and by Roger Hansell, made in Yorkshire in 2008.