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Lygia O’Riordan was born in Ireland and studied at the Budapest Liszt Academy. She then studied with Gennadij Rozhdestvensky at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory.

Following her studies she founded the first independent and international orchestra, Ensemble XXI, in the USSR and therefore the first in Russia since the 1917 revolution.

Lygia O’Riordan has conducted the world premieres of works by composers such as Paert, Kerry, Sermilä, Krivitsky, Shepherd, Siirala and others. She conducted the first Messiah beyond the Urals.

Her achievement has been recognised by the Irish American Cultural Institute with the Award for "Outstanding work by an Irish Musician abroad."

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