Cellissimo - a music festival for the senses

An international festival of great cello music and sensory delights from the West of Ireland

THE SOUND of the cello, a pleasure for the ear and appealing to the heart as the instrument many believe is closest in sound to the human voice, will be at the centre of a new festival for Galway.

Music for Galway and Galway 2020 present Cellissimo from Thursday March 25 to Wednesday March 31 with online concerts of cello music from Mischa Maisky, Marc Coppey, Adrian Brendel, Tatjana Vassiljeva, and Natalie Haas. MfG has also teamed with Adare Beverages, as well as with local producers and businesses, to offer tastings, craft classes and talks in addition to the concerts.

The concerts

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara will be the backdrop for the opening of Cellissimo on Thursday, March 25, with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, directed by French cellist Marc Coppey for a programme featuring Vivaldi's double cello concerto, for which Coppey will be joined by Dublin cellist Christopher Ellis.

There will also be the world premiere of Fragments For Cello and Voice by Bill Whelan, performed by cellist Naomi Berrill on the specially created Galway Cello fashioned by luthier Kuros Torkzadeh from timbers grown in County Galway. There will also be a pre-concert cheese-tasting with Kevin Sheridan from Sheridans Cheesemongers.

Naomi Berrill 2020 photo Edoardo De Lille

Naomi Berrill Photo:- Edoardo De Lille

Tigh Neachtain's will be the venue for Naomi Berrill's solo livestream concert on Friday 26, with pre-concert tasting of Connemara Lager and Ale. That same day, Kuros Torkzadeh will give a talk on the making of the Galway Cello.

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Six Solo Cello Suites will be performed between March 26 and March 31, with introductions by musicologist Richard Wigmore. The concerts will take place at lunchtime with Sweden's Jakob Koranyi, Russia's Tatjana Vassiljeva, Britons Adrian Brendel and Hannah Roberts, and Marc Coppey and Christopher Ellis, along with an early evening concert (Friday 26 ) with England's Lucy Railton.

Music from castles

Beethoven's five sonatas for cello and piano will be performed and broadcast from Claregalway Castle on Saturday 27, interspersed with short talks by Richard Wigmore. The performers are Christopher Ellis, Marc Coppey, Christopher Marwood, William Butt, and Adrian Mantu.

Portumna Castle will be the setting for the ConTempo Quartet and Christopher Marwood to perform Mozart's Quartet K.575 and the Schubert Quintet. There will also be a virtual tour of the castle.

YouTube will feature participating cellists giveing live masterclasses to student cellists who will perform at the Student Showcase Concert on Monday 29, followed by Music for Galway's Anna Lardi and Finghin Collins hosting an open Zoom chat with the main cellists.

The closing concert takes place on March 31 and will be preceded by two special events: Ludmila Snigireva will give a talk on Mstislav Rostropovich, the most famous cellist of the 20th century; and there will be a screening of The Cellist by Murray Grigor telling the story of American cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. Viewers can also opt to purchase the CELLISSIMO Scent Kit from Thalli Foods.

The closing concert will see Israeli cellist Mischa Maisky and his daughter, pianist Lily Maisky perform works for cello and piano by Beethoven, Mozart, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, and Britten, and conclude with Le Grand Tango, a single-movement piece for cello and piano by Astor Piazzolla.

Cellissimo will also feature a children's show, A Piece of You (Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 ), a private, interactive, performance over Zoom by Greg Sinclair, where children can turn their thoughts and feelings into their own music scores using colourful graphic notation. It is suitable for those aged seven and up.

Talks and an exhibition

American cellist Natalie Haas will host a panel discussion exploring what role, if any, the cello has played in trad music on Tuesday March 30, while Anne O'Máille of O'Máille drapery and wool shop, will give a pre-show knitting class.

The Cello Exhibition, curated by Rob D’Eath, opens on March 25 and will document the creation of the cello from Galway sourced timber, and its connection to a classic 1710 Stradivarius Cello which once belonged to the Gore-Booth family of Lissadell House, Sligo. There will be a short film featuring ConTempo's Adrian Mantu playing Sollima's Lamentatio on the Galway Cello; 12 shorts documenting the making of the cello; and individual photographic portraits of Galway cellists playing the new cello.

For tickets and booking see musicforgalway.ie/cellissimo-events

 

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