Meet the Artist…Julian Bliss

In the lead up to the 2nd West Wicklow Festival, we are delighted to introduce you to our world renowned artists.

Our first “Meet the Artist” post introduces the supremely talented, Julian Bliss

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Julian Bliss is one of the world’s finest clarinetists excelling as a concerto soloist, chamber musician, jazz artist, masterclass leader and tireless musical explorer. He has inspired a generation of young players as guest lecturer and creator of his Conn-Selmer range of clarinets. Julian has played at most of the world’s leading festivals and venues including Gstaad, Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Verbier, Wigmore Hall (London) and Lincoln Center (New York). We are delighted to have Julian in Wicklow and no doubt he will be a big hit!

“It isn’t just his technique, though that is astonishing enough. It’s the wit, poise and vivacity in his playing. In short, it is the pure intuition leading him straight to the heart of what he plays” – The Times


West Wicklow Festival Performances
Julian Bliss will perform twice at the West Wicklow Festival with two beautifully contrasting programmes. Performing alongside Fiachra Garvey, Philip Higham and the Benyounes Quartet, Julian plays a central role in the 2018 programme performing many of the finest chamber music for clarinet.

Thursday 17th May
Russborough House | 8pm

Fiachra Garvey | piano
Julian Bliss | clarinet
Philip Higham | cello

Beethoven      7 variations for cello & piano
Debussy          Sonata for cello & piano
Debussy          Première Rhapsodie
Poulenc          Sonata for clarinet & piano
Beethoven     Trio in Bb major Op. 11
Brahms          Trio in A minor Op. 114

Saturday 19th May
Russborough House | 8pm

Julian Bliss | clarinet
Philip Higham | cello
Benyounes Quartet

Brahms        Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115
Schubert     String Quintet in C major D 956


Julian Bliss – Full Biography
Born in the UK, Julian started playing the clarinet age 4, going on to study in the U.S. at the University of Indiana and in Germany under Sabine Meyer. The breadth and depth of his artistry are reflected in the diversity and distinction of his work.

In recital and chamber music he has played at most of the world’s leading festivals and venues including Gstaad, Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Verbier, Wigmore Hall (London) and Lincoln Center (New York).

As soloist, he has appeared with a wide range of international orchestras, from the Sao Paolo Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of Paris, and Auckland Philharmonia, to the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 2012 he established the Julian Bliss Septet, creating programmes inspired by King of Swing, Benny Goodman, and Latin music from Brazil and Cuba that have gone on to be performed to packed houses in festivals, Ronnie Scott’s (London), the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) and across the U.S.

Recent album releases receiving rave reviews from critics, include his recording of Mozart and Nielsen’s Concertos with the Royal Northern Sinfonia. Recent chamber discs include a new piece for clarinet & string quartet by David Bruce – Gumboots – inspired by the gumboot dancing of miners in South Africa.

This season’s highlights include an exciting new concerto by Wayne Shorter, with the Argovia Philharmonic, extensive USA tour with his septet, and chamber concerts with the Carducci Quartet.

Check out Julian’s website:

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See him LIVE at West Wicklow Festival this May:


Family Concert at West Wicklow Festival

This year, West Wicklow Festival are delighted to announce the addition of a free Family Concert on Sunday 20th May delivered in partnership with the National Concert Hall. There will also be an interactive, live Music Trail on the Russborough estate. 

10am – 12pm: Children’s Music Trail
Follow the West Wicklow Festival Music Trail through the beautiful Russborough Parklands. Embark on a musical journey through The Maze and the magical Lady’s Island with live musicians to entertain you along the way. This event will take place outdoors and is subject to suitable weather conditions.

12pm – 1pm: Family Concert
After the magical Music Trail, come and join us for a wonderfully entertaining Family Concert! Featuring a selection of familiar tunes, well-known composers and very talented musicians, this Concert will delight, excite and inspire audiences young and old alike! This is a FREE concert but tickets should be booked in advance to avoid disappointment. To book yours, please CLICK HERE or call +353 (0) 1 417 0000.

Please note: Children MUST be accompanied by an adult at all times.


West Wicklow Festival 2018

Following the huge success of the inaugural Festival in 2017, tickets are now on sale for the 2nd edition of the West Wicklow Festival. Taking place from 17th – 20th May 2018, the Festival will feature a host of international and Irish talent with concerts of classical chamber music being held at Russborough House and St. Mary’s Church in Blessington.

The 2018 Festival Programme features internationally acclaimed clarinet virtuoso Julian Bliss, principal cellist of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Philip Higham,  the award-winning Benyounes Quartet, renowned Irish baritone Gavan Ring and the Festival’s Founder and Artistic Director, renowned Irish pianist Fiachra Garvey.

 “I’m proud to welcome dear friends and wonderful artists to the Festival this year for a full-bodied and energetic programme of truly wonderful works of music. Debussy’s music will feature throughout the Festival in honour of the centenary of his death, along with many other musical highlights including a free Family Concert at Russborough delivered in partnership with the National Concert Hall”  – Fiachra Garvey, Founder & Artistic Director

This year, the Festival boasts an expanded programme of events with twice as many concerts as last year, more artists and the introduction of a new venue, the historic St. Mary’s Church in Blessington. Musical highlights include a late-night performance of Bach’s solo Cello Suites, Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet in B minor and a song recital by Irish baritone Gavan Ring, accompanied by Fiachra Garvey.

In partnership with the National Concert Hall, there will also be an innovative programme of interactive musical activities for children followed by a free Family Concert at Russborough House. Explore the beautiful gardens, the intricate hedge Maze, the magical Lady’s Island and watch out for live musicians along the way!

To book your tickets, just CLICK HERE or call the box office on +353 (0) 1 417 0000.

Please note, the Family Concert is a free but ticketed event. Tickets will be available shortly and we recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment.




Welcome to the 2018 WWF festival and our updated website!

We will be posting news about the festival in the coming weeks so please come back regularly to find out more about what’s going on. We look forward to seeing you there!