West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival returns with an exciting line up spanning Bach to Bowie and beyond  

Jess Gillam West Wicklow Chamber Festival

West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival returns with a stellar programme that promises to take audiences on an exciting musical voyage from Bach to Bowie and beyond.  

Wednesday 17th to Sunday 21st May 2023 at Russborough House, Tramway Theatre and at St. Mary’s Church, Blessington.

Highlights include:  

  • Saxophonist and broadcaster Jess Gillam’s debut performances in Ireland 
  • Debut Irish performance from acclaimed vocal ensemble Apollo5 
  • First Co. Wicklow performance for the Irish Chamber Orchestra to perform a Carnival of the Animals family concert with pianists Fiachra Garvey and Soo-Jung Ann and actor Evanna Lynch

Jess Gillam Ensemble  

After a nearly sold out run of concerts last year, the Jess Gillam Ensemble is heading out on a 14-date summer tour, including a stop at the West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival for their debut Irish performance. The group of eight musical friends have a bold, uplifting and open-minded approach – although they are rooted in classical music, they take inspiration from musical worlds far and wide. Expect to hear a new spin on CPE Bach, the drive and groove of music by John Harle, Will Gregory (Goldfrapp) and Barbara Thompson, folk infusions and the soaring beauty of music by Sakamoto, Debussy and maybe even some Björk! On paper, it might seem like a strange collection of music but the ensemble aims to find emotional through lines in music spanning centuries. Jess is joined by Ciaran McCabe & Michael Jones (violins); Eoin Schmidt-Martin (viola); Gabriella Swallow (cello); Sam Becker (bass); Elsa Bradley (percussion) and Leif Kaner-Lidstrom (piano). Together, they will aim to take audiences on a voyage of discovery in an electrifying programme inspired by showcasing the diversity, dynamism and versatility of the saxophone.  

Saturday 20th May 8pm | Tramway Theatre, Blessington  | Tickets €20 / €10 student concessions

Apollo5 Vocal Ensemble  

Described by Gramophone as “hugely impressive”, by Classic FM as “Exceptionally beautiful” and by BBC Music Magazine as “inspired”, the critically acclaimed a cappella five-piece Apollo5 is one of Britain’s smallest but most formidable vocal groups.  

Comprising a soprano, mezzo-soprano, two tenors and a bass, the ensemble – which takes its name from the ancient Greek god of music – has delighted audiences around the world with its rich, dynamic sound, demonstrating how powerful five voices alone can be. With a versatile approach to music programming, and a repertoire spanning renaissance, classical and contemporary choral works to folk, jazz and pop, the group’s five voices bring the music of five centuries to life. 

For their West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival appearance, Apollo5 have selected a programme that includes music from their acclaimed album, Where All Roses Go. An energetic exploration of the joy and despair of human love, their performance will include choral music spanning 500 years, from some of the earliest known polyphonic writing through to pop favourites like ‘Your Song’, ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ and ‘Only You’. 

Sunday 21st May 3.30pm | St. Mary’s Church, Blessington  | Tickets €20 / €10 student concessions

Carnival of the Animals Family Concert 

Packed with humour and mischievous fun, Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals is adored by children and grown-ups the world over. 

The brilliant Irish Chamber Orchestra, performing for the first time in Co. Wicklow, will be on hand to bring all the various animals to life, with the help of actor Evanna Lynch (Harry PotterFantastic Beasts) and Soo-Jung Ann and Fiachra Garvey fighting it out on two grand pianos. From the Tortoise’s lumbering Can-Can, to crazy Wild Donkeys and the graceful Swan, music and animal-lovers of all ages will be in for a fantastical musical treat! 

Sunday 21st May 12.15pm | Tramway Theatre, Blessington | Tickets €10 adults / €10 children

For full festival listings or to book online: 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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