Galway Early Music Festival to celebrate 25th anniversary

Music from Ireland, Germany, and Italy streamed from Galway, Limerick, and the Italian coast

Galway soprano Helen Hancock.

Galway soprano Helen Hancock.

THE GALWAY Early Music Festival will mark it’s 25th anniversary this year, with an online festival of concerts, workshops, and zoom events, from Friday May 21 to Sunday May 23.

Festival concerts will be streamed from Galway, Limerick, and Fano in Italy, and include 17th and 18th century Italian music, Irish music, German music, work by Bach, Handel, and Rameau, and songs from the era of The Crusades.

Despite the easing of some Covid restrictions, the festival still has to take place online, but festival director Maura Ó Cróinín chooses to see the positives in this. “A redeeming feature of presenting our festival online is being able to expand our audience reach,” she says. “We look forward to reconnecting with Irish and international patrons who supported us so generously during our festival last December."

The concerts

Aisling Kenny soprano

The festival opens on Friday May 21 at 12 noon with an event streamed from The People's Museum of Limerick with Galway soprano Aisling Kenny [pictured above], accompanied by Yonit Kosovske (harpsichord ) and Eamon Sweeney (theorbo/bandora/baroque guitar ) performing works by Caccini, Strozzi, Monteverdi, Frescobaldi, Rossi, and Luzzaschi.

That evening at 8pm, a concert entitled Saints, Heroes, and Kings - 300 years of music across cultures in Ireland wil see harpist Siobhán Armstrong direct The Irish Consort in a concert from The Mick Lally Theatre. Joining them will be Roisin O’Grady and Róisín Elsafty (vocals ), Sarah Groser (treble viol ), Malachy Robinson (bass viol ), Ed Tapceanu (bass viol ), and Ronan Browne (whistles ). Following the concert, The Irish Consort’s debut album, Music, Ireland, and the Sixteenth Century will be officially launched.

On Saturday 22 at 1pm, Galway soprano Helen Hancock, along with Anita Vedres (violin ), Sarah Groser (viol ) and Yonit Kosovske (harpsichord ), will perform arias from Handel’s operas Rinaldo, Alcina, and Guilio Cesare in Egitto, his ‘Oratorio Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno’ and from Rameau’s Castor et Pollux. The concert will be streamed from The Mick Lally Theatre.

Enea Sorini Peppe Frana

Saturday evening’s concert will be streamed from the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Suffragio in the Italian coastal town of Faro. Passage Beyond The Seas: Songs Of The Crusades will be performed by Enea Sorini (voice, psaltery, naqqara, tambourine ) and Peppe Frana (oud, citole ) - pictured above.

On Sunday May 23 at 5pm, Abendmusik 5: Bach and Before, will be streamed from St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, featuring Siobhán Armstrong (baroque harp ) and directed by Mark Duley (organ ).

There will also be the Baroque’n’Roll event for young musicians; a musical tour of mediaeval Galway; workshops; and the online festival club. To see the full programme go to For tickets go to


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