Dominique Cunningham

Soprano

Singer, teacher and multi-instrumentalist from Newry, Northern Ireland.

 Dominique Cunningham (Image Michael McGlynn)

Dominique Cunningham (Image Michael McGlynn)

Music has been the love of my life for as long as I can remember. From the age of six I was sent to instrumental tuition on instruments including piano, violin and even the drum kit. When I went to Maynooth University to study music, I took piano as my first study. During my time in Maynooth, I first joined the orchestra as a violinist because I believed I should stick to instrumental ensembles. However, in my second year, I decided to audition for the Chamber Choir and was fortunately accepted as a soprano. It was during this year that I realised choral singing was something that I needed in my life. I was hooked.

Although I began my musical journey with instrumental tuition, the earliest and fondest memories I have of music are the song filled car journeys with my mum on the way to nursery. My love of singing was deeply rooted and as a result, I was aware of Anúna for a long time before I joined the group. I wasn’t exactly sure why I was drawn to it, but I was sure that this style of singing made me feel something. I knew it was something very special.

When I was accepted into the group, I was initially overwhelmed. I was confused as to how I was going to stand beside experienced, professional singers and perform to a similar standard. I soon learned that Anúna welcomes musicians from a variety of backgrounds, this is partly what makes it unique. Anúna is made up of singers from the worlds of opera, rock, traditional, and early music. What we all share is a love for music and of course, a love for singing. What makes Anúna work is that the singers on stage have a unified musical intent. Coming from a classical instrumental background, I initially found it difficult to comprehend that Anúna is not concerned with absolute perfection. The aim of Anúna is not to be precise, but to be real. When we perform on stage, we let the audience in and we share an experience together. The audience are a crucial part of the performance and for that reason, Anúna strives to break down the barriers often found in classical music concerts.

Like many people, I was singing before I could read or write. The Anúna Technique ties in with this idea of singing as something that is natural. We use the breath to unify our voices and when we breathe together, we become one musical entity. Therefore, we don’t need a conductor! Michael McGlynn encourages us to sing with our own voices, to sing honestly and to sing beautifully. In doing so, I was able to find a voice that I wasn’t aware I had.