West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival returns

The West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival returns to Russborough and St. Mary’s Church, Blessington from 18-22 May, with five days of music featuring brilliant international and Irish artists, and an exciting programme that includes a wide variety of music from Haydn to Charlotte Bray, three world premieres, a day of family-friendly events plus free Festival Talks.

The Festival’s line-up of artists includes the extraordinary flautist Adam Walker, performing with the acclaimed Wicklow pianist Fiachra Garvey who is also the festival’s founder and artistic director. Described by The Guardian as a ‘stunning talent’, Walker made waves on the global stage when he was appointed principal flute of the London Symphony Orchestra aged just 21.

Also featured are the highly sought-after Berlin-based Trio Gaspard (Thu 19 May, 8pm), the award-winning Quatuor Arod (Fri 20 May, 8pm), who are performing in Ireland for the first time and are celebrated for the rare energy of their performances, the ‘splendidly stylish’ (GramophoneEblana String Trio (Sat 21 May, 8pm) from Ireland/UK and the brilliant Polish mezzo-soprano Hanna Hipp, who will be joined by Neapolitan pianist Emma Abbate for the festival’s closing matinee performance (Sun 22 May, 3pm).

The West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival will present the world premieres of three new works this May. The first of these, Blessington (2020) by Gerald Barry, was written to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the sinking of the Blessington Lakes and will be premiered by flautist Adam Walker and pianist Fiachra Garvey at Russborough on Wednesday 18 May at 8pm. Local historian Séamas Ó Maitiú will give a free talk on this momentous period in West Wicklow’s history in Brew 21, Blessington at 4pm on the day of the concert.

The second world premiere at the Festival will be Sebastian Adams’ Ceiliúradh, part one of a two-part commission for the Decade of Centenaries by Sebastian Adams and Amanda Feery. Ciliúradh celebrates a diverse, inclusive and progressive Ireland in 2022 and will be performed by Trio Gaspard at Russborough on Thursday 19 May at 8pm.

Audiences can also look forward to the festival’s Rising Stars concert with clarinettist Cathal Killeen and pianist Órán Halligan (Sat 21 May, 1pm), which features the world premiere of A New Species by Michael Cummins, this year’s West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival Composition Competition Winner.

This year’s Festival also sees the return of the hugely popular Family Fun Day, packed with a creative and fun programme of indoor and outdoor events for children and their families on Sunday 22 May, 10am-2pm. Venture through the Musical Maze, get into a groove at Percussion Workshops, celebrate the festival spirit with some Face Painting or join us for Mozart’s The Magic Flute as you have never experienced it before in a bite-sized musical romp for all the family. Presented in partnership with the NCH Learning & Participation Programme.

Fiachra Garvey

There will also be an opportunity to discover the secrets of violin-making during a free talk with instrument-maker Paul Bradley at Russborough from 11am-12pm on Saturday 21 May. Visitors are also welcome to drop in and see some instruments from Paul’s workshop from 12-4pm.

Fiachra Garvey, the festival’s founder and artistic director says: “The programme for May 2022 has been a long time coming. Most of the incredible artists joining us were due to perform at our 2020 festival and I’m beyond excited to think that this year they will finally get to enthral our wonderful West Wicklow audiences. Their programmes feature a wide selection of exciting works from Mozart to Charlotte Bray and everything in between, and I look forward to seeing everyone in May for summer sunshine and glorious music!” 

The West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival runs from Wednesday 18 – Sunday 22 May 2022. Tickets cost €5-€38 (+ bkg fee) and are now on sale from www.westwicklowfestival.com.

The West Wicklow Festival is funded by the Arts Council and supported by Wicklow Arts Office, the Apollo Foundation and RTÉ Supporting the Arts.

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