Prof. Dr. Aylish E. Kerrigan, mezzo-soprano, was born in San Francisco of Irish parents and studied with the renowned vocal pedagogue, Professor John de Merchant, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Master's Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Oregon. She continued studies at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart, receiving a soloist diploma in Opera and German Lieder. Ms Kerrigan is recognized as one of the foremost interpreters of Irish vocal music, documented in her first performances, recordings and 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. 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.
She was awarded a PhD in November 2009 from Dundalk Institute of Technology for her research project on the vocal music of Arnold Schoenberg. Since 2011 she has directed and performed in the concert series ‘GRENZTÖNE', which presents contemporary music and is sponsored by the cultural department of the city of Stuttgart, Germany, the Robert Bosch Foundation and Culture Ireland. In 2016 she directed and performed at the Irish Cultural Festival in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, commemorating the 1916 Easter Uprising in Dublin and featuring first performances of new Irish compositions. She has performed with Dearbhla Collins in Ireland, Germany and China since 2007 and has recorded Schoenberg's Opus 15 with Ms Collins for the Métier label.