Alan Smale is one of Ireland’s most distinguished performing musicians, with a professional career spanning 47 years. He was leader of the RTE Concert Orchestra (1984-93) and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland (1994-2013). He is currently leader of the Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra, a position he has held since 2015.
As leader of The Irish Film Orchestra (1992-2015) Alan performed on the soundtracks of many Irish and International films, working closely with composers including Bill Whelan, Elmer Bernstein, Michael Small, Randy Edelman and Dario Marianelli. In addition to the film work, IFO recorded albums with Van Morrison, Kate Bush, The Chieftains, U2, The Corrs, Daniel O’Donnell and many other Irish and international artists. In 1995 Alan led the string section for the album release of Bill Whelan’s score for ‘Riverdance’.
As soloist, Alan has performed and broadcast over 20 violin concertos, and his commercial recordings include the concertos of James Wilson, Raymond Deane and Jerome de Bromhead, as well as numerous solo and chamber music albums, mostly of contemporary Irish works.
Alan is founder and director of The Degani Ensemble, which has appeared as music clubs and festivals throughout Ireland, with frequent concerts at the National Concert Hall. In 2015 he formed The Degani Piano Trio with pianist Rachel Quinn and ‘cellist Annette Cleary. To date they have released three albums of classical and romantic piano trios. Their latest, ‘Tangos of Astor Piazzolla’ was released in 2022.
Alan has a long association as guest leader with The Ulster Orchestra, Wexford Sinfonia and numerous choral societies in Dublin and Wicklow. He plays on a fine Venetian violin, made by Eugenio Degani in 1896.