Prof. Dr. Aylish E. Kerrigan, mezzo-soprano and practice-based music researcher, was born in San Francisco of Irish parents and lives in Germany. Her repertoire ranges from Irish Ballads, German Lieder and Theatre Music to a wide range of contemporary compositions. She is a renowned vocal pedagogue and gives concerts, master classes and lectures world-wide.


Prof. Dr. Aylish E. Kerrigan, Mezzosoprano, was born in San Francisco of Irish parents. She studied with the renowned vocal pedagogue, Professor John de Merchant, and received a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Master's Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Oregon.

After winning awards in international vocal competitions, she continued her studies in Germany at the Stuttgart Musikhochschule, receiving Soloist Diplomas in Opera and Lieder Interpretation. In addition to her commitment to the art of the vocal recital, she is a dedicated performer of contemporary vocal music, premiering new works in particular from Ireland throughout the world. She is recognized as one of the foremost interpreters of Irish vocal music, documented in her recordings and her extensive collection of Irish traditional songs, arranged for her by acclaimed Irish composers. Her work together with the noted Brecht specialists Gisela May and Peter Palitzsch established her as an interpreter of German Theatre Music. Her one-woman Broadway shows have won her acclaim in Paris, Dublin, New York and Berlin.

Since 1994, Ms Kerrigan has been a guest professor at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music in China, where she gives master classes regularly in the performance of German Lieder. She has established a competition for the Interpretation of German Lieder, the first of its kind in China, and is working to establish a Foundation to promote further study of this music by Chinese singers. Her concert work in China, presenting Irish works and German Lieder, has been made possible with the support of Culture Ireland and the Irish government.

In 2007, with the aid of the Irish Foreign Affairs Department and the help of the Contemporary Music Center and the Irish Traditional Music Archive, she established the first library of Irish music in China at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music. In May 2011 she was made a ‘Chu Tian Scholar’, the highest academic award given to foreign professors by the Chinese government.

Ms. Kerrigan lives in Stuttgart, Germany and performs throughout Europe, China, Russia and the USA. She was awarded a PhD in November 2009 for her research project on the vocal music of Arnold Schoenberg. Her thesis has been highly praised by both Nuria Schoenberg Nono and Lawrence Schoenberg and was published by Peter Lang in September 2011.

2011-2012 she directed and performed in the concert series ‘GRENZTÖNE’, which presented American contemporary vocal music and was sponsored by the cultural department of the city of Stuttgart, Germany and the Robert Bosch Foundation. The concert series continued with the support of Culture Ireland and the Kulturamt Stuttgart in 2013, presenting contemporary and traditional Irish music. The 2014 series continued with traditional and contemporary music from China, the USA, Germany and Ireland entitled ‘China Meets the West’ including a tour by Chinese musicians to Germany and Ireland and concert performances with Irish musicians. During 2015 the series is presenting international women composers.