A native Gaelic speaker, Dáirine Ní Mheadhra began her professional career at the age of seventeen as a cellist with the Irish National Symphony Orchestra. In the same year, she was offered a full scholarship to London’s Royal College of Music, but she remained with the orchestra. In subsequent years Dáirine developed an interest in both conducting and contemporary music. In 1990 she founded the new music ensemble Nua Nós. This ensemble comprised the principal chairs of the Irish National Symphony Orchestra and rapidly established itself as the leading exponent of contemporary music in Ireland. Nua Nós was awarded an AIB Better Ireland Arts Award and their CD of chamber works by Irish composer Gerald Barry was nominated as best CD worldwide of music by a living composer for 1995. In the same year Dáirine immigrated to Canada to join her new Canadian husband John Hess. They founded Queen of Puddings Music Theatre and under her inspired direction as resident Artistic Director, Queen of Puddings has emerged as a bold and provocative leader of contemporary opera in Canada.