A first Galway festival that celebrates the beauty of the cello starts today online.
Cellissimo is presented by Music for Galway and Galway 2020 with some of the world's best cellists taking part over the next seven days.
Festival director Anna Lardi, who has been working with artistic director Finghin Collins on Cellisimo since 2017, says the festival includes 32 online events - some pay per view and many free. Four of the concerts will be streamed from interesting venues in County Galway, in addition to concerts from Sweden, the UK, The Netherlands, Spain and Belgium.
Lardi says one advantage of this online festival is showcasing County Galway to the world.
Kylemore Abbey (March 25 ), Mick Lally Theatre (March 26 ), Claregalway Castle (March 27 ) and Portumna Castle (March 28 ) are the four Galway venues, and Lardi says the first will be noteworthy.
"The opening concert in Kylemore will be very special as we will hear for the very first time the Galway Cello, an instrument that Music for Galway commissioned for the festival and which was fashioned nearly entirely from local woods.
"In the hands of cellist and vocalist Naomi Berrill we will hear a world premiere, Fragments, that Bill Whelan (of Riverdance fame ) wrote especially for this instrument and Naomi.
"We are delighted Bill is going to officially open the festival for us. The Irish Chamber Orchestra, directed by French cellist extraordinaire Marc Coppey and joined by young Irish cellist Christopher Ellis, will give the opening night a great sense of celebration," she says.
"Claregalway Castle will be the backdrop to a marathon of Beethoven sonatas with pianist Finghin Collins and five different cellists, while the walls of Portumna Castle will reverberate to the sounds of Mozart and Schubert and their most beguiling string music."
Belgium will provide the setting for the star-studded grand finale of the festival with Mischa Maisky and his daughter Lily.
The festival explores the cello in many genres. The Mick Lally Theatre on Friday March 26 will host Naomi Berrill who presents Suite Dreams, a CD she released with the Warner label that showcases her beautiful style of voice and instrumentation which she has developed over the years. Performer, music producer and composer Lucy Railton also plays a series of improvisations on solo cello on a journey through the range of the instrument. On Tuesday March 30, Natalie Haas and guests explore the role of the cello in Irish traditional music in “Hup the Cello!”, a debate rounded off by a concert.
In addition there is an online exhibition of the Galway Cello which will include information about the instrument, its connection to the past, and its present. Talks, short films, close ups of the instrument will be curated by Rob D’Eath with site design by Suzanne Black.
Live on the Music for Galway YouTube channel, concluding with a showcase concert on Monday March 29.
All pay per view events will be available for purchase and access until Sunday April 4. www.cellissimo.ie