Elizabeth Hilliard
Friday, December 8, 2023 - 09:45

Maynooth University Department of Music is delighted to announce the appointment of acclaimed Irish soprano Elizabeth Hilliard as Artist in Residence for 2023-24. Inaugurated in 2022 (with pianist Mei Yee Foo), the Department of Music Artist in Residence is a position hosted by Maynooth University in partnership with Kildare County Council Arts Service, Music Generation Kildare, Music Generation Offaly, and Music Generation Westmeath. The role is designed to provide students and the broader communities of Kildare, Offaly and Westmeath the opportunity to work with Elizabeth, as well as giving her the time and support to develop her own projects and create new work. 
Elizabeth Hilliard is a leading exponent of contemporary vocal music, described by Opera Today as a ‘veritable tour-de-force of vocal sound, experimentation and expression’. Championing Irish art, music, and composers, she has worked with many creative artists including Gráinne Mulvey, Jennifer Walshe, Christopher Fox, and David Bremner. In the past year alone, she has givensolo recitals at New Music Dublin and soundfestival Aberdeen, and undertaken a nationwide Music Network Tour with Jennifer Walshe, Panos Ghikas and Nick Roth. Her debut release Sea to the West (2016) was followed by Great Women (2021), both launched on Metier label to critical acclaim. In 2021 she presented the 8-part feature series How The World Begins Again on RTÉ lyric fm.
Welcoming this announcement, Elizabeth said: ‘I’m thrilled to have been appointed, and to have my work as an independent artist recognised in this way. I intend to build upon my skills in improvisation and sonic meditation, and develop workshops on these for students in the department. I look forward to sharing these skills and finding out the types of interests that the students themselves are involved in. I will be developing performance projects through the year, and I intend to research and devise work to develop a piece highlighting Irish women Florence and Edith Stoney, seen as medical pioneers in World War One. A prestigious residency at Maynooth University allows me the time and space required to develop a large-scale ambitious project such as this. I will also perform a lunchtime concert during 2024, featuring three works written for me and electronics: Refuse to be wrecked by Ailís Ní Ríain, Sleepsong by Siobhán Cleary and Great Women by Gráinne Mulvey.’
The Department of Music at Maynooth University is one of the largest and most vibrant music departments in the country and boasts a diverse team of musical academics and practitioners passionate about how their research and teaching connects with the community beyond the University. Regular engagement with professional artists is central to the department’s ethos. It opens many doors for students and the wider community and creates a space in which all can be enriched, challenged, and inspired. Prof. Christopher Morris, the Department’s Director of Performance, welcomed Elizabeth Hillard’s appointment: ‘A richly talented performer and gifted communicator, Elizabeth brings skills and experience that promise to expand and deepen the work of the department, enrich the cultural life of the university and forge new links with the community. Comprising imaginative performances and innovative workshops, Elizabeth’s residency will offer our students a range of novel learning experiences and showcase new models of creative practice.’
Looking to her role in the wider local community, Alan Costello of Music Generation Kildare expressed their support, noting that ‘Music Generation Kildare, Music Generation Offaly and Music Generation Westmeath are excited to be an integral part of the second Artist in Residence. Elizabeth's extensive performance experience aligns with Music Generation's approach, highlighting a holistic approach to performance music whilst encompassing the creative voice of the young musician within this. We are looking forward to witnessing the impact Elizabeth and her professional praxis will have upon the young musicians across all three counties.’ 
Paula Barrett of Kildare County Council Arts Office echoed this, saying ‘Kildare County Council Arts Service is delighted to partner with Maynooth University and Music Generation on this exciting residency programme. We envision a residency that will provide a musician of Elizabeth’s calibre and experience with valuable time and space to develop her own practice, while enriching the music scene in Kildare with her thoughtful holistic approach. We look forward to working with Elizabeth to reach out to local Kildare musicians and hope that meaningful links between the broader community and the university will be fostered through this residency.’
For more information, please contact or visit
For further details on Elizabeth Hillard, see