Chamber Music on Valentia to Celebrate 350 years of Carolan

Deirdre McKay is the festival’s featured composer this year.

Chamber Music on Valentia to Celebrate 350 years of Carolan

All festival events will be broadcast online; featured composer is Deirdre McKay. Closing concert will feature a programme celebrating the music of Carolan on his 350th anniversary.

Chamber Music on Valentia has announced a fully online programme for this year’s festival, taking place from Thursday 13 to Sunday 16 August. The programme will feature three concerts, a series of masterclasses, and a ‘meet the composer’ event with this year’s featured composer, Deirdre McKay. 

Launching the festival on 13 August is ‘‘An Dairbhre’, its sights and sounds’, a digital installation in the form of a video and photo series, showcasing Valentia Island’s landscape, by photographer and Valentia resident Stephen Power. McKay composed a new composition for the installation, which is performed by pianist Mary Dullea, Artistic Director of the festival and a member of the Fidelio Trio. The installation will be available to watch online on 13 August. 

The first concert of the festival on 14 August at 7pm will be an evening of music by Ernest Moeran (who lived for a time in Kerry), marking 70 years since the composer’s death. This event will also continue the festival’s practice of featuring Irish composers, with two works by McKay, Time Shining for solo piano and Secundum for violin and piano. The concert, which will be available to view online, will feature the Fidelio Trio and violinist Philippa Mo performing the works. 

Arizona-based Irish pianist Cathal Breslin will perform the second concert of the festival on 15 August at 7pm. The concert, which was pre-recorded at Breslin’s home studio, will celebrate Beethoven, marking his 250th anniversary, with works such as the Bagatelle in G major and Bagatelle in E-flat major. Breslin will also perform works by De Falla and Rachmaninov. 

The closing concert of the festival is a celebration of the music of Turlough Carolan, on the 350th anniversary of his birth. The concert presents a programme of Carolan’s music and other works from the 18th century, as imagined for flute, strings and harpsichord. This concert was pre-recorded at the University of London and performed by Irish musicians living in London, including flautist Sarah Allen, Dullea on harpsichord, violoncello player Sarah McMahon, violinist Darragh Morgan, violist Eoin Schmidt-Martin and violinist Nicola Sweeney. The works by Carolan include ‘The Fairy Queen’, ‘Planxty Johnston’, ‘Morgan Magan’, ‘Sir Arthur Shaen’, and ‘Mrs Power’, all arranged by Morgan.

Also taking place during the festival is a meet the composer event with McKay in conversation with Dullea (14 August), a new music masterclass with McKay, and a performance masterclass with musicians of the festival, both of which are open for applications until 16 August. 

All festival events will be available to view online and will remain on the festival’s website after initially airing, so audiences can choose to watch at a later time. All events are also free to watch, but donations are being accepted. 

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Published on 11 August 2020

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