Artists > Celtic Tenors


Hard Times

The Celtic Tenors have established themselves as the most successful classical crossover artists ever to emerge from Ireland. Their new release, Hard Times, continues to break down common perceptions of Irish tenors with a collection of roots-based harmony-driven songs by writers such as Stephen ... more



The Celtic Tenors have established themselves as the most successful classical crossover artists ever to emerge from Ireland. In 2000, following an impromptu audition at EMI in London, the Celtic Tenors were signed on the spot to an international record deal, a highly unusual event that was the talk of the music industry.

The Celtic Tenors continue to "re-invent the whole tenor idiom" (Phil Coulter - composer of "Remember Me"), by pioneering a new style of "cool" never before seen on the classical stage and by breaking the traditional stuffy tenor mould.

While each of The Celtic Tenors have been influenced by the musical traditions from their own individual parts of Ireland, Daryl, James and Matthew show great flexibility in melding their voices to suit the appropriate classical, folk, Irish and pop genres. The "Echo Award" in Germany for "Classical without Boundaries" was presented to The Celtic Tenors in recognition of this fact.

With a total album sales worldwide, including compilations, of over one million, and a full international touring schedule, the Celtic Tenors have topped the charts in the USA, Canada, Germany, the UK and Ireland.

The Celtic Tenors:

  • have sung leading roles with top opera companies and performed in oratorio and concerts across the globe
  • have appeared on TV across the USA, Canada and Europe
  • have produced their own German TV Special "Ein Grosser Irischer Abend" which was broadcast to millions across Germany and subsequently broadcast as a PBS Special coast-to-coast across the USA, "Celebrate with The Celtic Tenors"
  •  have sung for world leaders and appeared in concert with such names as Dionne Warwick, Air Supply and The Chieftains
  •  headlined Irish and Celtic Festivals in Europe and the USA and performed with orchestras including the BBC Concert Orchestra, The National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra

The Celtic Tenors’ live show is an experience overflowing with vitality and variety from start to finish. The unique voices, charm and wit of Daryl, James and Matthew, along with talented young Musical Director Colm Henry, combine an emotive journey with a thoroughly uplifting experience. Equally at home performing to large festival crowds or intimate concert halls and theatres, and whether backed by a live band, symphony orchestra, solo piano, or even acapella, their voices and personalities always shine through alongside their undeniable celtic charm.

Catch the Celtic Tenors in concert, enjoy their eclectic mix of classical, folk, Irish and pop.

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Matthew Gilsenan was born into a hard-working farming family in North Meath. Steeped in the local musical traditions and raised by parents who shared a great love for music, from the great composers to obscure Irish folk, Matthew (along with all his siblings) was born to sing.

His classical training started in the Sisters of Mercy convent in Kells, Co.Meath at age 10, and progressed to some of the great Irish and Scottish teachers. Although he ventured into opera and classical singing, Matthew never lost his love for the music of his youth, in particular the vibrant contemporary Irish music which is his great source of inspiration.

Matthew’s busy singing life ran in parallel with his engineering career, but his desire to sing was too strong that ten years ago he turned to singing professionally.
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James Nelson, from Sligo in the heart of "Yeats Country", is a BA.,B.Mus (Honours) graduate from University College Dublin, and a student of Edith Forrest (Dublin), David Harper (London) and Britta Sundberg (Stockholm).

Highlights from an oratorio repertoire of more than 60 works include Golgotha (Martin) in Bern and Zurich, and the Narrator in Le Enfance du Christ (Berlioz) alongside Katia Ricciarelli in Rome and Florence. James has performed more than 50 operatic roles, including Pinkerton (Butterfly) in Kent, Lensky (Onegin), Alfredo (Traviata) in Italy, Tichon (Katya Kabanova) in Portugal, Snout/Wall (Midsummer Night’s Dream) in Singapore, Basilio (Figaro) under the baton of Raymond Leppard for Scottish Opera, and roles for Opera Ireland, Opera Theatre Co., New Israeli Opera and the Wexford and Buxton Festivals.

James writes a column for the "Sligo Weekender". He has recently become part of an ongoing building project in Kenya, helping house, feed and educate some of the orphans from Kibera slum in Nairobi.
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Daryl Simpson, from Omagh in Northern Ireland, studied singing with tenors Peter Alexander Wilson and Nicolai Gedda, and completed his Opera Masters Degree at the Alexander Gibson Opera School in Glasgow.

Daryl joined Opera Theatre Company’s "Young Associate Artist Scheme", performing in many recitals and broadcasts, and in Monteverdi’s Coronation of Poppea. Daryl furthered his studies at Zurich’’s "Internationales Opern Studio", where he sang Tamino (Die Zauberflte), and roles in Les Mamelles de Tirsias (Poulenc) for Oper Zurich.

As well as performing worldwide on the concert platform, Daryl is also the Musical Director of the Omagh Community Youth Choir, which was set up in the wake of the Omagh atrocity to promote peace and reconciliation through music.
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Colm Henry, from Manor Kilbride in picturesque County Wicklow - the Garden of Ireland - was immersed in music from a young age, joining the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland as a trombonist at the age of 12.

Colm went on to graduate from University College Dublin with a First Class Honours Bachelor of Music Degree (B.Mus Hons) in 2005. An article by Colm entitled "Canonic Devices and Techniques in Bach’s Orgelbuchlein" was published in "The Musicology Review".

Since then, Colm has been pursuing a busy performance and recording schedule with many of Ireland’s foremost artists, including Clannad, Celtic Storm, Tommy Fleming, Westlife, Tony Kenny, and most recently as a member of the group Sephira. In 2006, Colm co-produced an album for "Sephira" and was part of their successful nationwide tour.

Colm is delighted to be touring as a vital part of the Celtic Tenor team.


Celtic Tenors is not currently on tour.


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