Training for the Cathedral choirs is in the hands of a team of highly-skilled professional musicians:
Director of Music
Peter Stobart MA (RAM), BA (Dunelm.), ARCO, LRAM, LTCL, LLCM
Assistant Director of Music
Robbie Carroll MMus (Hons) (Cologne), BMus (Hons) (DIT), ARCO, ALCM
Peter Stobart has been the Director of Music of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork since October 2015.
Originating from Yorkshire, Peter spent eight years forging his musical career in London. He studied choral conducting for two years at the Royal Academy of Music with Patrick Russill and Paul Brough. He was the winner of the Alan Kirby prize for choir training 2007/8 and the Thomas Armstrong Prize for Choral Conducting 2008/9 and took part in masterclasses with David Hill, James O’Donnell, Jeremy Summerly and the BBC Singers.
Peter began his career working with children as the organ scholar of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. After graduating from Durham University, he sang as a Lay Clerk in Peterborough Cathedral choir and he conducted the Peterborough Children’s Choir. Whilst he lived in London he was the Head of Co-Curricular Music at St Dunstan’s College, Catford for six years, teaching music and running much of the choral and instrumental tuition and ensembles.
In 2014 Peter became the Artistic Director for the Voices of Hangzhou Youth Choir based in a large city near Shanghai. He ran a summer school there during July and August 2014 for fifty children aged 8 to 16 and performed on Chinese National Day. He ran a similar course in August 2015, and the concert was broadcast on Chinese National Television as part of the 70th Anniversary celebrations for the end of World War II.
Since moving to Cork, he has made the Cathedral Choristers his priority and he regularly visits schools across the Diocese, promoting singing and music more generally. The Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross has formally recognised this strategy and from September 2017 it became the Diocesan Church Music Scheme.
The Cathedral Choir appeared on RTÉ Television in October 2017, broadcasting a one hour service including a Bach Cantata, for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. They produced a CD of Christmas Carols in 2017, with €6000 of the profits helping the Cork Simon homelessness charity. They went to Wales at Easter 2018 and they travelled to Hamburg and Lübeck in April 2019.
Robbie Carroll has been the Assistant Director of Music of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral since September 2019.
He is originally from Galway, and his earliest musical training began as organ scholar of Galway Cathedral, with cathedral organist Ray O'Donnell. He then went on to study on the BMus degree at DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, graduating in 2017 with a first-class Honours in organ performance. His organ tutors whilst studying included the late Una Russell, Colm Carey, Siobhán Kilkelly and Simon Harden. During this time, he was also the organ scholar of St Mary's Pro-Cathedral, working with Titular Organist Prof. Gerard Gillen, and director of the Palestrina Choir of boys and men, Blánaid Murphy. With the choir Robbie performed in venues both home and abroad (such as Carnegie Hall and St Patrick’s Cathedral, New York), and has accompanied the choir on tours to the USA, Brussels and Rome. He has also accompanied the choir for a CD recording, with works by Belgian composer Flor Peeters and others.
Upon completion of his Bachelor degree, Robbie pursued further studies in Germany. He graduated earlier this year from the organ solo masters degree in the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz, Cologne, with a first-class honours result. There he studied with Prof. Winfried Bönig, organist of Cologne Cathedral. During his time in Germany, he was also the organ scholar of the parish of St. Peter und Paul, Ratingen, where he studied improvisation with Ansgar Wallenhorst.
Robbie has won multiple prizes in the ESB Feis Ceoil, and has also competed in the Northern Ireland International Organ competition. He was the first ever organist to compete in the Freemasons' Young Musician of the Year, and was the 2016 winner of the Brennan Prize, for the 'most promising musician in the competition'.
Robbie has given solo recitals in Ireland, the UK and Germany. He has also been concerto soloist in both Ireland and Germany, performing works by Poulenc and Handel with orchestra. He is also active as accompanist, chamber musician and continuo player. He has participated in masterclasses with Dr John Kitchen, Dame Gillian Weir, Sophie-Véronique Cauchefer-Choplin, Eric Lebrun and Prof. Henry Fairs, among others. He also holds an Associate Diploma in piano performance, and is an Associate of the Royal College of Organists.