Bringing Classical Music to New Audiences
“Cahal plays with great intensity, has a wonderful technique and can cast new light on the most standard works with the breadth of his interpretation” John O’Conor, Belfast Telegraph
“An artist worthy of attention for his poetic expression and rare musicianship” David Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews
Northern Ireland pianist Cahal Masterson has considerably built upon an already impressive performing profile as of late with a string of Irish debut performances including chamber collaborations with the Ulster Orchestra, debut performances at Belfast International Arts Festival, Queens University Belfast, Music for Galway, Drogheda Classical Music, Castleconnell Concert Series, and the Hugh Lane Gallery Dublin. Having come from a musical family with four siblings who are all professional violinists, Cahal has performed extensively as a soloist, vocal repetiteur and chamber musician throughout Europe, North America, and Suzhou, China. He has a varied musical career which also encompasses music education as well as championing exciting new Irish compositions. In early 2021 he recorded Northern Irish/Welsh composer Anselm Mc Donnell’s new piano suite Ceaselessly Into The Past as the opening work to the composer’s debut album Light of Shore which was released this October. This proved to be only the beginning of an exciting collaboration between two Northern Ireland artists as Anselm more recently received a commission by Belfast City Council to now begin writing a piano concerto for Cahal to perform with the Ulster Orchestra in 2023-24 to mark the city’s recent award status as UNESCO city of music.
In 2018 Cahal recorded his inaugural album Transition at Sono Luminus Studios in Boyce, Virginia, releasing this debut record with a series of performances in Washington D.C, and Toronto, Canada. Upon completion of four years postgraduate study in North America he returned to Europe to concertise again for home audiences giving recitals throughout Ireland and the UK. Autumn 2019 was Cahal's first opportunity to get involved in education outreach programmes and he gave piano workshops alongside performances for secondary school music students throughout Northern Ireland. Since this first outreach experience he has designed and delivered an extensive and comprehensive programme geared towards the upper-primary level with Music for Galway. This culminated in a combined performance this November of iconic childhood themed music inter-twinned with kids responses to the pieces via art and poetry . A 2021 performance in Belfast International Arts Festival and a home-coming concert tour in 2019 both received mention as feature articles in the Belfast Telegraph, and in 2020 Cahal was awarded an Emerging Artist Platform with Moving on Music.
Cahal graduated with a Masters in Music Performance from Shenandoah University, USA in May 2019, and prior to this completed an Artist Diploma at The Glenn Gould School in Toronto, Canada. He sat his Bachelor degree in Music Performance at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin. His main teacher and mentor over the course of his study was Dr. John O’Conor. Throughout his studies he received numerous scholarships and awards. During his time at Shenandoah University USA he was awarded the E Evans Scholarship for exceptional artistic talent, at the Royal Irish Academy of Music he was a recipient of the prestigious Lucien and Maura Tessier Scholarship, and at the Glenn Gould School received The Harmony Arietta Chiu Scholarship, The Nicholas Weldon Kilburn Memorial Scholarship and The Adele Crone Memorial Scholarship. He is a previous multiple prize-winner in Dublin’s Feis Ceoil and a former recipient of the Morris Grant Bursary. Cahal has worked with many of the world’s leading pianists including Pascal Rogé, Jaques Rouvier, Arnulf von Arnim, Pavel Nersessian, John Perry, Ronan O’Hora, Anton Nell, Jonathan Biss, Joanna MacGregor, and Leon McCawley. He continues mentorship on a part time basis with Professor Christopher Elton, Professor Emeritus of the Royal Academy of Music, London.
Cahal is an international ambassador for the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans