Category: Music

Russborough House back in the musical spotlight

Pat O’Kelly   Built between 1741 and 1755, Russborough House near Blessington is a fine example of Palladian architecture. The renowned Richard Cassels designed it for the brewer and property developer Joseph Leeson, who was created Earl of Milltown in 1763. Dublin’s Leeson Street is named after him. In 1952 Russborough became the home of…

Performances no less excellent despite being novelties

Pat O’Kelly   Three recent events engage an element of novelty. Two involve the RTÉ NSO at the NCH with the third, at nearby St Finian’s Lutheran Church, as part of a Music Network nationwide tour. On their seven-venue stop, German cellist Raphaela Gromes and pianist Julian Riem choose a programme with a strong Italian…

Mouth-watering treats line up with the stars of music

Pat O’Kelly   ‘Treat’, meaning something that gives great pleasure, seems to be out of fashion but I am reminded of it recently in three programmes at the National Concert Hall, which I consider merit the accolade. The first comes from the period-instrument Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) conducted by Budapest-born pianist András…

New Music Dublin lives up to its ecclectic promise

Pat O’Kelly   New Music Dublin, cancelled in 2018 due to weather, then partially salvaged last September resurrected itself at the beginning of this month for an action-packed weekend. However, one would require exceptional stamina to cover the broad spectrum of its endeavours. As festival director John Harris commented, “the range of music being performed…

Daring tintinnabulations on display for all to savour

Pat O’Kelly   Besides organising its touring programme, Music Network, which stemmed from the now defunct Music Association of Ireland’s ‘Country Tours’, also administers the government-sponsored Music Capital Scheme. The recently announced 2019 fund of  €270,250 will be dispensed towards “the purchase of musical instruments to both non-professional performing groups and to individual performing musicians”.…

Young bassist the cream of excellent crop at the NCH

Pat O’Kelly   In the presence of its indefatigable nonagenarian artistic director, the 2019 Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition drew an interesting contingent of young singers to the National Concert Hall at the end of January. For the first time in the triennial competition’s history, auditions were held abroad with jury chairman Jane Carty and…

Stutzmann continues to thrill with the RTÉ NSO

Pat O’Kelly   Following the departure of Kazakh musician Alan Buribayev when his extended contract expired in 2016, the RTÉ NSO has been without a principal conductor. In the ‘interregnum’ there have been a number of visiting artists on the podium not least Nathalie Stutzmann who has been principal guest conductor since 2017. Born in…

Galway offers a great new year opener with festival

Pat O’Kelly   While pianist Finghin Collins pursues a busy international career he also finds time to act as artistic director of both the late September New Ross Piano Festival and Music for Galway. The latter spreads itself across ‘the season’ and enshrines a Midwinter Festival in January. Although Collins’ brainchild, his Galway committee actively…

A musical year of sad farewells and warm welcomes

Pat O’Kelly   While there is always an air of expectancy about January it can be a time to reminisce about the previous 12 months and recall some of the ‘highs’ as well as the ‘lows’. Deaths among the country’s musical fraternity included the multi-faceted composer/pianist/professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and friends Máire Larchet and Margaret…