A fortnight ago I wrote about some of our young musicians and their competition successes. This week I am mentioning another group who are further advanced in their respective careers. An opportunity of hearing five of them arose at the NCH’s recent Friends’ Gala with Camerata Ireland under its founder/director Barry Douglas. The orchestra is currently enjoying residency at the Hall.
The already well-experienced young soloists involved were violinist Mairéad Hickey, a former pupil of Adrian Petcu in Cork; violist Ed Creedon, who studied with Constantin Zanidache, also in Cork, and Killian White, the first cellist to be awarded the RDS Music Bursary. Before moving to the Barenboim-Said Academy in Berlin, Killian studied with NSO cellist Martin Johnson and Christopher Marwood at the RIAM.
Hailing from Co Down, clarinettist Tom Myles received the Flax Trust Arts Bursary courtesy of Camerata Ireland’s Academy. Tom has been a member of the Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and thereby appeared at four BBC Proms in London. Last year he was a finalist in the woodwind section of the BBC’s Young Musician programme.
The last, but by no means least, of the five was another Corkonian – pianist Kevin Jansson. From the age of six, his teacher was Mary Beattie in the Munster capital’s School of Music. Moving to New York’s Julliard School, he made his Carnegie Weiss Hall debut in 2017, the year he cut his first CD for the Swiss Claves label. Kevin took first prize at the Jeune Chopin Competition in Marigny in 2018 and received this year’s RDS €15,000 Bursary.
But there is another dimension to young Jansson. When 13, he was an all-Ireland winner on the fiddle at Fleadh Ceoil na hÉireann and away from music he received the gold medal at the Irish National Physics Olympiad 2016 and, representing his country, took a silver medal at the European Union Science Olympiad in Copenhagen in 2017.
The NCH gala opened with Killian White playing Haydn’s 1st Cello Concerto and producing magically mellow tone. His soothingly etched central Adagio had an ethereal quality and the outer movements also conveyed his innate musical insights.
The rest of the gala hung on Mozart. Mairéad Hickey and Ed Creedon joined forces for the E flat Sinfonia Concertante where their sensitive rapport was ideal. Their distinct instrumental voices rightly came to the fore but this never interfered with the intense musical bond between them.
Tom Myles took us on a deeply expressive journey through the Clarinet Concerto. Every phrase was beautifully spun with his unbroken and graceful lines in the Adagio befitting Mozart’s creative genius in this movement.
The final work was the Double Piano Concerto with Barry Douglas and Kevin Jansson. Their interpretation had flowing engagement that meant Mozart’s answering, and amusing, exchanges emerging marvellously unimpeded. The ‘bouncy castle’ effects in the concluding Rondeau happily remained within the borders of classical elegance.
With Camerata Ireland offering splendid support, I found this concert highly satisfying as it portrayed unusual artistic depths in these exceptionally gifted young people.