FOR IT’S 34th International Concert Season, Music for Galway will celebrate the cello - an instrument MFG’s artistic director Finghin Collins enthusiastically described as “this fabulously versatile instrument with its extensive range, noble sound, and curvaceous body”.
Mr Collins made his remarks at Monday evening’s launch of MFG’s new programme at the Mick Lally Theatre and welcoming guest of honour, Mrs Sabina Higgins.
The season opens with a bang on September 30 at An Taibhdhearc with an ‘Eight-Cello Extravaganza’ with cellists William Butt, Annette Cleary, Christopher Ellis, Sarah Joyce, Adele O’Dwyer, Gerald Peregrine, and Aoife NicAthloaich and among the featured works are Schubert’s March Militaire, Rossini’s William Tell Overture, Piazolla’s Tangos and Jane O’Leary’s Distant Voices.
Throughout the season, concerts will feature the cello in its different functions, so we will get to hear it as solo artist (Leonard Elschenbroich in November ), as solo artist with electronics (Kate Ellis in May ), as duo partner with piano (Hungarian super-talent István Várdai with Finghin Collins in March ), as a member of a piano trio (Guy Johnston with Hugh Tinney and Katherine Hunka ) and as guest artist with a string quartet (Raphaël Merlin of the Ebène Quartet with our own ConTempo Quartet in March ).
Another highlight is a return visit from the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra on October 9 - made possible by substantial sponsorship from SAP Ireland - performing Dvorák’s lyrical Cello Concerto which gave German star cellist Daniel Müller-Schott a triumph earlier this year with the Berlin Philharmonic - expect the same in Leisureland! The Orchestra will be conducted by Alan Buribayev.
Renowned British cellist Matthew Barley is yet one more notable visitor. Cellist, improviser, arranger, music animateur, and artistic director of Between The Notes, his music is focused on projects that connect people in different ways, blurring the boundaries between genres. He comes to the Mick Lally Theatre in February to perform the programme On The Road – The Cello Goes Electronic. Much in the spirit of the Yellow Lounge in Berlin and London, DJ Cyril Briscoe will set the mood with a ‘Maroon Lounge’ before and after the performance by spinning music taking you from chamber to garage.
It is not all about the cello though. The Emily Anderson Memorial Concert in February presents one of Europe’s foremost Beethoven interpreters, the French pianist François Frédéric Guy, performing three Beethoven sonatas.
Galway can also look forward to visits by the Kilkenny Camerata, the Irish Baroque Orchestra with its annual, hugely popular performance of Handel’s Messiah, and some wonderful music on Good Friday with Galway’s Collegium Choir directed by Mark Duley.
Music for Galway’s Midwinter Festival has become a firm fixture in the city’s musical calendar and this January the festival focuses on two composers who towered over their respective centuries – Joseph Haydn and Dmitri Shostakovich. Their chamber music and history will be presented over three concerts, a lecture and open rehearsals, with songs, string quartets, piano trio, works for piano, and much more.
Also, look out for MFG’s giant lavender cello, nicknamed the ‘Neachtivarius’, commissioned by Tigh Neachtain and crafted by Tommy Lennon. It will stand outside Neachtain’s for this week and will reappear at various times throughout the season.
Full details of the programme can be found at www.musicforgalway.ie