News

Isata Kanneh-Mason (piano), Culture Night, 20th September 2019, 8pm, Russborough

The West Wicklow Festival, in partnership with Wicklow Arts Office and Russborough, are delighted to present highly acclaimed pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason for a solo piano recital of music by Clara Schumann and Brahms.

Isata has embarked on a successful concert career as a soloist with concerts throughout the UK and abroad.  Isata also continues to perform with her brother, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.  Highlights this season include the Lucerne Festival, the Zurich Tonhalle, Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Saint-Denis Festival in Paris, and an extensive US tour, including a debut recital at New York’s Carnegie Hall. In 2019 Isata will release her debut recording for Decca Classics, an album of Clara Schumann’s music, extracts from which will be heard in this concert.

Isata’s performance will take place at Russborough House on Friday 20th September 2019 at 8pm. Tickets for this concert are free but spaces are limited. To book your seats please call Russborough reception on +353 (0)45 865239

 

Programme:

Brahms: Intermezzo in B-flat Major, Op. 117, No. 2
Brahms: Intermezzo in A Major, Op. 118, No. 2
Brahms: Ballade in G Minor, Op. 118. No. 3
Brahms Intermezzo in F Minor, Op. 118, No. 4
Brahms: Romance in F Major, Op. 118, No. 5

Clara Schumann: Ballade, Op. 6, No. 4
Clara Schumann: Scherzo No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 14
Clara Schumann: Three Romances, Op. 11

Clara Schumann: Sonata in G Minor

 

In Conversation with Elena Urioste

Elena, you’re performing this year at the West Wicklow Festival on 16th May at Russborough House. Is this your first visit to Ireland and are you looking forward to it? Will you be taking some time out to explore more of the beautiful Wicklow countryside during your visit? 

This is my first trip to Ireland and I am so excited! No matter how quick my visit to any new place, I always make sure to find at least a few hours to explore. I’m hoping I’ll have some time to duck out and see the landscape — the nature of Ireland has always been especially intriguing to me.

The West Wicklow Festival celebrates the 200th birthday of Clara Schumann this year, as well as championing other female composers including Amy Beach, Rhona Clarke and  Lili Boulanger. Can you tell us about the programme you’ll be performing on 16th May? 

When Tom and I were putting together this program, we began by brainstorming ideas for pieces that we particularly wanted to play, with no particular theme or thread to tie them together. As it happens, we wound up creating a musical palindrome of sorts: the program will begin and end with song sets that we perform often and are particular favourites of ours; next in are two gorgeous sets of romantic miniatures that happen to have been penned by women; and at the centre of our musical sandwich are two Czech sonatas. We are both fascinated with the musical language of Janacek, and although we’ve both played his violin sonata quite a bit (even recorded it, separately), we’ve never performed it together. The Dvorak Sonata is a relatively unknown work, and we are delighted to share it with our Irish audience.

In 2012, you were selected for the prestigious BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist scheme, which turns 20 years old this year. How did you feel when you were given this opportunity and how has it enhanced your career progression? 

Honestly, my first reaction was one of total surprise — being an American, I didn’t know much about the scheme, let alone how I had managed to land a spot on it! I quickly did some research and was flabbergasted by all of the incredible musicians who had taken part, and felt so honoured, inspired, and motivated to put forth my best possible effort.

I had always dreamt of making music in Europe in addition to the States, so the opportunities that the NGA scheme afforded me — recording and performing with the BBC orchestras, making countless studio recordings, performing at festivals around the UK, and collaborating with other fabulous musicians taking part in the residency — were dreams come true. As an added and entirely unexpected bonus, I met my now-fiancee (Tom!), during my first year as an NGA — the BBC producers suggested that we meet and collaborate for a recording. Needless to say, we hit it off!

Congratulations! You’ve been described by The Washington Post as “a drop-dead beauty who plays with equal parts passion, sensuality, brains and humor,”. Do you think this accurately describes your performance style? What can we expect from your upcoming performance as part of the West Wicklow Festival? 

I think this quote is absolutely hilarious, and apparently the irony of me including it on my website has been lost on many! I find that most quotes from news outlets — and in musician-penned biographies, for that matter — tend to use the same  few buzzwords: “versatile”, “sought-after”, etc. This particular quote was so outlandish to me that I thought, “Ha! I’ll put it as the first line of my bio — maybe it’ll make people laugh.” As for my performance style, I’ll have to leave that to my audience to determine… maybe someone can offer me a new quote (good or bad, serious or silly)!

As well as being a passionate musician, you also describe yourself as being a  “yoga fanatic; voracious reader; lover of delicious food, semi-colons, and corgis; hopeless dreamer; and occasional scarf-knitter.” That’s quite a mix! Can you tell us about your love of yoga and how you’ve woven this into your busy concert schedule? 

I think it’s safe to say that at this point, if it weren’t for yoga, I probably wouldn’t have a busy concert schedule at all. A regular yoga practice has served as my physical therapy, preventative medicine, gateway to meditation, self-care routine, and emotional security blanket. The physical and mental techniques that I’ve learned through classes and self-practice have helped me with managing pre-concert and onstage jitters, the physical discomforts of playing an asymmetrical instrument for hours each day, travel inconveniences, the loneliness of a nomadic career, and my own insecurities and vulnerabilities (music-related and otherwise). Yoga has also brought me some of the purest joy, peace, and stillness — and taught me how to find similar moments in all of life — that I have ever known. I make sure to incorporate some sort of movement, be it a yoga class, period of self-practice, run, or even long walk or meditation in nature, into my daily life. These moments of motion and reflection allow me to feel centred, comfortable in my body and emotions, and give me a sense of home, wherever I may be in the world.

We can think of no better place to practice yoga than in the beautiful setting of West Wicklow! Rolling hills, glistening lakes and blissful tranquillity! Tell us about your “Intermission” project, which explores music, movement & mindfulness? 

My dear friend and Intermission partner-in-crime Melissa White and I both stumbled upon yoga in the summer of 2009, and our friendship was immediately deepened by our mutual love for this new physical, mental, and emotional practice. Over the years, we found ourselves frequently discussing the benefits we were experiencing as a result of a regular yoga practice: more limber muscles and thus greater efficiency in the practice room, better focus onstage, an easier time calming our nerves with mindful breathing exercises, and a greater sense of peace with the world around us. We talked a lot about how we wish we’d been introduced to some sort of mindful movement practice when we were in our formative years of musical training, and out of that notion the idea for Intermission was born: we wanted to find a way to impart all of the ideas we were learning and practicing on the yoga mat to our colleagues and students. We offer week-long Retreats for professional musicians (think a yoga retreat / artist colony combo); Sessions, or workshops, for students; and in a few months, we will unveil our new App, the first-ever digital resource for music, movement, and mindfulness tools in one convenient place!

During your visit to Ireland, you’re also giving a masterclass with Tom Poster for young violin and piano duos at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, as part of the West Wicklow Festival. This is a fantastic opportunity for young musicians to learn from inspirational musicians like yourself and Tom. What piece of advice would you give young musicians who are aiming to make a career from music? 

There is no one way to enjoy a fulfilling life in music: find what speaks to you, even if it may not look like what you had originally envisioned, and pursue it with a combination of fascination, honesty, discipline, self-compassion, flexibility, and gratitude. Music exists to make life better — how many other professions can offer that!? Appreciate how wondrous music can be, how lucky we are to have it in our lives, and enjoy the process of finding joyful balance within a life in music.

Elena Urioste (violin) performs with renowned pianist Tom Poster on Thursday 16th May at Russborough House. Their programme features music by Clara Schumann, Dvořák, Amy Beach, George Gershwin and more. For tickets, please click here or call (01) 417 0000. 

For information about the masterclass with Elena & Tom on Friday 17th May, please click here. 

Masterclass with Elena Urioste & Tom Poster

In partnership with the National Concert Hall, West Wicklow Festival are delighted to host a public masterclass led by internationally renowned violin and piano duo, Elena Urioste & Tom Poster.

This is a fantastic opportunity for advanced student violin & piano duos to work with this supremely talented duo and learn from their experience and expertise.

Fri 17 May | National Concert Hall, Dublin | 10.30am 

To apply, please submit your musical CV along with the repertoire you would present in the masterclass no later than 5pm, Friday 3rd May 2019 to education@nch.ie.

Participant Fee: €40 per duo (40min)
Observer Tickets: €5

Elena Urioste was a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist from 2012 – 2014 and a first place laureate in both the Junior and Senior divisions of the Sphinx Competition. She has given acclaimed performances with major orchestras throughout the UK and United States, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra and Boston Pops.

Tom Poster is in high demand internationally as a soloist and chamber musician across an extensive range of repertoire. He has been described as “a marvel…[who]…can play anything in any style.” (The Herald), “mercurially brilliant” (The Strad) and as having “a beautiful tone that you can sink into like a pile of cushions” (BBC Music).

Elena Urioste & Tom Poster will also perform at the West Wicklow Festival on Thursday 16th May at Russborough House, Blessington.

Tickets available from https://westwicklowfestival.com/ or by calling (01) 417 0000. 

In Conversation with Sam Perkin

Sam Perkin is a supremely talented Irish composer of new orchestral, chamber, instrumental and choral music. Sam was commissioned by the West Wicklow Festival to compose a new piece of music to mark the centenary of the Irish War of Independence which will be premiered at the 2019 West Wicklow Festival.

The piece is called “For Piano and Gun Sounds” and has been written for Solo Piano and Three Off-Stage Smartphones. This new commission will receive its premiere on 15th May and will be performed by the West Wicklow Festival’s Founder & Artistic Director, Fiachra Garvey.

Ahead of the premiere of his latest composition, we sat down with Sam to ask a few questions about the piece as well as learning more about his diverse portfolio as an innovative composer…

What’s your earliest musical memory and how do you think this has affected your ambition to become a musician, and more importantly, a composer? 

My earliest memory involving music is playing all of the different sounds on a synthesiser, kneeling on the floor for hours, endlessly fascinated. The keyboard was placed on an old box in front of a window. It’s those small details that you remember. The piano and the guitar were my route into music. I loved improvising, just playing whatever came to me. Also, figuring out how music works was such a natural interest for me. After school, I decided to stop music. Two years later, it was confirmed for me that something was missing. I think the decision to stop for a while was actually one of the best decisions I have ever made. From then on it was a lot easier to dedicate myself wholly to music as it had been confirmed as a necessity. I had no choice in the matter.

 

Was there a particular point in your career where you realised that composition was the avenue you wanted to pursue or was that a gradual process? 

It was a bit of both really. Having always had a fascination with the inner workings of music, even when I was young enough I would very regularly have moments where I’d be thinking musical thoughts throughout the day. So from that perspective it was gradual. Although, the real conscious decision came quite a bit later, in my third year at the CIT Cork School of Music. I would just always compose anyway, so I decided to chance my arm at making a living form it as well. It wasn’t an easy decision really, deciding to pursue life as an artist usually comes with lots of other implications and societal judgements.

 

Your portfolio of work is extremely diverse, from a piece for “Ensemble and Street Skateboarding Film” to an attempted self-cure for tinnitus, to a work for “Orchestra and Whale Sounds”… where do you find the inspiration for innovative compositions like these? 

As an artist, I love to collect ideas. I have notebooks full of ideas that I guard safely. Some of these turn into pieces. However, most of these ideas will never see the light of day. There’s just not enough time or opportunity. It’s the extra-special ideas that usually get chosen, if, the occasion arises. I love playing around with ideas, exploring how they could be the best they can be.

 

You’ve been commissioned to write a new piece for pianist Fiachra Garvey and the West Wicklow Festival which will be premiered on 15th May and which commemorates the centenary of the Irish War of Independence. What was your initial reaction to this commission and the subject matter? 

Initially, I said of course I’m interested, especially as Fiachra is involved. Then it hit me what a difficult subject matter this is – How can you create a meaningful piece of art in commemoration of war? It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Trying to talk about this subject is like walking a tightrope. We’re so violent as a species, that’s the bottom line. So after a very difficult but rewarding phone call with Fiachra, we both decided that not shying away from this was the best way to actually say something artistically. In essence, the piece is about non-violence.

 

Can you tell us a bit more about the piece and what we can expect from its premiere on 15th May at Russborough House? 

There will be three off-stage smartphones that trigger the sounds of guns in the distance, while music floats from the piano. Even bringing the sounds of guns into such a sacred place as a sanctuary for music feels like it shouldn’t need to be done. You will be enveloped by the three offstage smartphones playing the sounds of guns, weapons and war. I tried to create the feeling of being in a fragile cocoon. While we hear the beautiful sounds of a piano, outside there is mayhem.

 

What would you say to anyone out there wanting to pursue a career as a composer? What piece of advice would you give them? 

Music is one of the few things that exists which has the power to bring people together, regardless of who you are or where you’re from. Never underestimate the power of this, Trust your instincts. It’s not a smooth, fast motorway; the life of the artist can be a tough, but infinitely rewarding off-road path. Find your tribe.

Sam Perkin’s new work, “For Piano & Gun Sounds” will receive its world premiere at the 2019 West Wicklow Festival on Wednesday 15th May at Russborough House. The piece will be performed by the Founder & Artistic Director of the West Wicklow Festival, Fiachra Garvey. For tickets, please click here or call (01) 417 0000. 

Meet the Artist…Fiachra Garvey

Fiachra Garvey has been applauded internationally for his infectious enthusiasm and technical comfort. He was 1st Prizewinner at the Jaques Samuel Competition, London and made his Fazioli and Wigmore Hall debuts as a result. Fiachra has also been a prizewinner at Dublin AXA, EU Prague, Collioure France and was 2011 Rising Star of the NCH Dublin. Concerto appearances have included Janácek Philharmonic, RTE Symphony and RTE Concert Orchestra. Fiachra has performed extensively across Europe, Asia and the Americas, most recently he completed a concert tour of China. Fiachra is a board member of the Dublin International Piano Competition and a member of the award winning Ducasse Trio. Fiachra was also recently made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music. 

“brings a deep and infectious enthusiasm, combined with insight and technical comfort.” – Sunday Times

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West Wicklow Festival Performances

For the first time since the establishment of the West Wicklow Festival, Fiachra will give his own solo recital, as well as performing alongside Quatuor Voce and accompanying BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Finalist, Lauren Fagan.

Wednesday 15th May
Russborough House | 8pm

Fiachra Garvey | piano

Brahms: Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 21, No. 1
Clara Schumann: Variations Op. 20
Rhoda Coghill: Gaelic Phantasy
Sam Perkin: New Commission
Rachmaninoff: Sonata No 1 in D minor, Op. 28

Friday 17th May
Russborough House | 8pm

Quatuor Voce
Fiachra Garvey | piano

Beethoven: String Quartet No. 10 in Eb Major, Op. 74 “Harp”
Rhona Clarke: “Edge”
Dvorak: Piano Quintet No. 2, Op. 81

 

Sunday 19th May
St. Mary’s Church, Blessington | 1.30pm

Lauren Fagan | soprano
Fiachra Garvey | piano

Clara Schumann: Three Lieder, Op. 12
Rachmaninoff: “To Her” ,”The Rat Catcher”, “The Dream” from Six Romances, Op. 38
Grieg: “Zur Rosenzeit” , “Ein Traum” from Six Songs, Op. 48
Lilly Vadaneaux: The Cloths of Heaven (new commission)
Poulenc: Deux Poems de Louis Aragon
Schubert: Ganymed, D. 544
Strauss: Three Songs – “Meinem Kinde” “Das Rosenband”  “Cäcilie” 
Puccini: “Senza Mamma” from Suor Angelica
Gounod: “Dieu! Quel frisson…” from Romeo & Juliette

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To book tickets for any of these performances, please click here! 

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1st prizewinner at the 2012 Jaques Samuel Competition, London, Fiachra made his Fazioli Auditorium (Italy) and Wigmore Hall debuts in 2013. Fiachra is a prizewinner of the AXA Dublin International Piano Competition (Brennan Prize and McCullough Bursary), EU Piano Competition Prague (concerto finalist), 3rd Soirees-Concours Internationales de Piano a Collioure, France (Audience award) and received the 2011 “Rising Star” award from the National Concert Hall Dublin, which subsequently led to a series of concerto and solo debuts.

Fiachra Garvey graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, London in 2013 with 1st class honours and distinction in the MA in Music Performance. This follows a 1st class honours B.A. in Music Performance from the Royal Irish Academy of Music in 2011 and a 1st class honours DipMus (performance and teaching) from the RIAM in 2008.

1st prizewinner at the 2012 Jaques Samuel Competition, London, Fiachra made his Fazioli Auditorium (Italy) and Wigmore Hall debuts in 2013. He has also been a prizewinner at AXA Dublin International Piano Competition (Brennan Prize and McCullough Bursary), EU Piano Competition Prague (concerto finalist), 3rd Soirees-Concours Internationales de Piano a Collioure, France (Audience award) and Feis Ceoil Dublin (Morris Grant Bursary and Mabel Swainson award). The National Concert Hall Dublin awarded Fiachra the “Rising Star” prize in 2011, which subsequently led to a series of concerto and solo debuts.

Concerto appearances include Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini with the Janáček Philharmonic, Tchaikovsky with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra /Cambridge Symphony Orchestra / UCD Symphony Orchestra, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Grieg with the RTE Concert Orchestra, Prokofiev no 3 with the RIAM Symphony Orchestra and Grieg with the Hibernian Orchestra.

Recent highlights include the first solo recital at Google Dublin, a series of solo and two piano recitals in Japan, a tour of China including giving masterclasses at the Beijing Conservatory of Music, as well as appearances at Spoleto Festival Italy, St. John’s Smith Square, St. Martin in the Fields, Brighton Festival, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Bridgewater Hall Manchester, Wigmore Hall London and The Geneva Festival, Switzerland.

Upcoming major concerts include Poulenc’s double piano concerto with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, a residency at Snape Maltings Aldeburgh and the complete works by Beethoven and Bach for cello and piano in 2018 at the National Concert Hall.

Fiachra’s debut CD “For the Piano”, under the Lyric FM label, was released in 2012: “brings a deep and infectious enthusiasm, combined with insight and technical comfort.” (Sunday times). His second CD, a live performance from Wigmore Hall, was released in 2014.

Fiachra is the Founder and Artistic Director of the West Wicklow Festival, Ireland, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Dublin International Piano Competition.

 

Meet the Artist…Elena Urioste

Violinist Elena Urioste was a BBC New Generation Artist from 2012 to 2014 and a first-place laureate in both the Junior and Senior divisions of the Sphinx Competition. She has given acclaimed performances with major orchestras throughout the United States and 

Europe including with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic, to name just a few. Based between London and Philadelphia, Elena has performed regularly as a featured soloist in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium as well as giving recitals in Wigmore Hall in London, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin, Sage Gateshead in Newcastle and many more.

“Violinist Elena Urioste drew out the expansive themes of the first movement before an explosive cadenza. The shimmering opening to the slow movement was conveyed with supreme sensitivity, with intimate passages of gossamer lightness.” – The Northern Echo

She has performed regularly as a featured soloist in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium and has given recitals in such distinguished venues as Wigmore Hall in London, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin, Sage Gateshead in Newcastle, Bayerischer Rundfunk Munich, and the Mondavi Center at the University of California-Davis. Recent highlights have included debuts with the LA Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, and Orchestra of Opera North; return performances with the Cleveland and Hallé Orchestras and the Chicago and Detroit Symphony Orchestras; a recital debut at the Kennedy Center with pianist Michael Brown; and a series of live BBC Radio 3 broadcasts from England’s Roman River Music Festival.

This season sees a debut with IRIS Orchestra with Michael Stern conducting, as well as three separate concerto and chamber music appearances in Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall. As first-place laureate in both the Junior and Senior divisions of the Sphinx Competition, Elena debuted at Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium in 2004 and has returned frequently as soloist.

She has collaborated with acclaimed conductors Sir Mark Elder, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Christoph Eschenbach, and Robert Spano; pianists Mitsuko Uchida, Dénes Várjon, and Ignat Solzhenitsyn; cellists Peter Wiley, Colin Carr, and Carter Brey; violists Kim Kashkashian and Michael Tree; and violinists Joseph Silverstein, Arnold Steinhardt, and Cho-Liang Lin.

An avid chamber musician as well as soloist, Elena has been a featured artist at the Marlboro, Ravinia, La Jolla, Bridgehampton, Moab, and Sarasota Music Festivals, as well as Switzerland’s Sion-Valais International Music Festival, the Verbier Festival’s winter residency at Schloss Elmau, and is a regular at the Roman River Music Festival in Essex, England. She performs extensively in recital with pianists Michael Brown and Tom Poster.

Miscellaneous accomplishments include first prizes at the Sphinx and Sion International Violin Competitions; an inaugural Sphinx Medal of Excellence presented by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (they immediately bonded over their matching red formal wear); spreads in Latina and La Revista Mujer magazines; and the 2015 Brooklyn Film Festival’s Audience Choice and Best Original Score awards for But Not For Me, the independent feature film in which Elena acted as the lead female role. Her second album, Echoes, a recital disc with Michael Brown, was released on BIS Records in October 2016; a disc of violin and piano miniatures with Tom Poster will be released on the same label in 2018. Elena is the co-founder and artistic director of Intermission Sessions & Retreat, a program that combines music and yoga; and the founder and artistic director of Chamber Music by the Sea, an annual summer chamber music festival on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Elena is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Joseph Silverstein,Pamela Frank, and Ida Kavafian. She completed graduate studies with Joel Smirnoff at The Juilliard School. Other notable teachers include David Cerone, Choong-Jin Chang, Soovin Kim, and Rafael Druian.

The outstanding instruments being used by Elena are an Alessandro Gagliano violin, Naples c. 1706, and a Nicolas Kittel bow, both on generous extended loan from the private collection of Dr. Charles E. King through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.

In addition to being a devoted musician, Elena is a yoga fanatic; voracious reader; lover of delicious food, semi-colons, and corgis; hopeless dreamer; and occasional scarf-knitter. Elena Urioste is under general management with the New York-based firm Sciolino Artist Management (http://www.samnyc.us/), and is represented in Europe by Thomas Hull of Maestro Arts (http://maestroarts.com).

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West Wicklow Festival Performances

Elena will perform with pianist Tom Poster on Thursday 16th May 2019 in stunning Russborough House, one of the finest examples of Palladian architecture in Ireland.

Thursday 16th May
Russborough House | 8pm

Elena Urioste | Violin
Tom Poster | Piano

Kreisler: Miniatures (Preghiera; Songs My Mother Taught Me; Midnight Bells)
Clara Schumann: Three Romances, Op. 22
Dvorák: Violin Sonata in F major, Op. 57

Janacek: Violin Sonata
Amy Beach: Three Pieces, Op. 40
Gershwin/Heifetz: Selections from Porgy and Bess

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To book tickets for this performance, please click here! 

Family Fun at the West Wicklow Festival

Following the huge success of last year’s Family Concert, Musical Maze and Music Trail, we’re delighted to welcome back Ceol Connected and the National Concert Hall’s Learning & Participation team to Russborough to help us deliver another innovative music programme for children and their adults!

Family Music Events

Step inside Russborough House and Parklands and discover an immersive musical world suitable for the whole family! Children and their adults can explore the Musical Maze, discover the world of Whistleberry Forest, learn about different musical instruments and even get their faces painted in the playground! Fun for all the family!

 
Musical Maze | Open from 11am – 2 pm 

Venture through Russborough House’s 200 metre hedge maze, collecting clues and finding musical mysteries and musicians around every corner! In this educational scavenger hunt, children and adults are invited to enter the labyrinth and seek out a series of musical clues and images.  Complete your clue chart, find the statue at the centre – and try not to get lost!  

Whistle in the Wind – A Musical Trail | 11am & 12pm  

Come on a magical musical adventure to Whistleberry Forest! The creatures of Whistleberry Forest have discovered a little tree growing deep in the woods. However, there are no birds singing, no leaves rustling, and no animals scurrying around its trunk.  This delightful musical trail takes children and accompanying adults on an adventure through the forest where they explore musical soundscapes, sing, dance, and help Ornaith the owl, Sorley the snail, and Faolán the frog bring the little tree to life through music. Suitable for children ages 2-6 and their parents/guardians.

Limited places, sign-up sheet located near Russborough’s obelisk on the day.

Micro Concerts & Instrument Demonstrations
Start times: 11am | 12:30pm | 2:00pm
 

Venture through Russborough House to meet individual musicians and their instruments! Small groups will learn about each instrument’s sound and how it is played, before gathering for a micro concert in the inner chambers of the building.  Unique performances in unique spaces! Designed for 4 – 12 year olds and their families, all welcome!

Limited places, tickets available 60mins before each performance


Please note, children must be accompanied and supervised by an adult at all events.

Tickets will not be available in advance.  Tickets will be available for collection on site Saturday 18 May from 10am.

Meet the Artist…Lauren Fagan

After graduating from Covent Garden’s prestigious Jette Parker Young Artist Programme, Lauren Fagan has developed into one of today’s finest young sopranos. Her debut this summer as Violetta in Rodula Gaitanou’s new production of La traviata for Opera Holland Park was met with unanimous critical acclaim for both her richness of tone and compelling stage presence. This season Lauren returns to the Royal Opera House as Woglinde in Keith Warner’s Ring Cycle under Sir Antonio Pappano, as well as making her role debut as Alcina at the Internationale Händel-Festspiele Karlsruhe.

“Fagan, one of today’s finest young sopranos, is exceptional throughout and a superb actor. Her tone blazes with existential defiance and desperation, and she possesses both the agility for act one – Sempre Libera is capped by a dazzling top E flat – and the dramatic weight for the closing scenes.” -The Guardian 2018

 

Notable recent highlights have included Roxana (Szymanowski’s Krol Roger) under Antonio Pappano in Rome with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) with NHK Symphony Orchestra under Paavo Järvi, as well as Donna Anna and Musetta (La bohème) for her company debuts with Opera Holland Park and Welsh National Opera, respectively. Further ahead Lauren’s plans include her role debuts as both Vitellia (La clemenza di Tito) and Tatyana (Eugene Onegin).

Equally in demand on the concert stage, recent successes have included joining Sakari Oramo for Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music as part of the First Night of the BBC Proms, Peer Gynt with Orchestre national de Lyon under Leonard Slatkin, and Agnès in concert performances of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin, with the Melos Sinfonia conducted by Oliver Zeffman, in London at LSO St Luke’s and also in St. Petersburg at the Mariinsky Theatre. This season Lauren sings Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 with Symphoniker Hamburg under Eivind Gullberg-Jensen, and with Oslo Philharmonic conducted by Klaus Mäkelä, as well as joining the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for Tippett’s A Child of Our Time under David Hill.

During her seasons at Covent Garden, Lauren not only had the privilege of working with such esteemed conductors as Nicola Luisotti, Gianandrea Noseda, Sir Mark Elder, Daniel Oren, Christian Curnyn, Cornelius Meister, Daniele Rustioni and Ivor Bolton but also developed an extensive repertoire of roles. Her appearances in a number of diverse productions on the main stage, ROH2, and the Linbury Theater included Oscar (Un ballo in maschera), Suor Genovieffa (Suor Angelica), Giannetta (L’elisir d’amore), Lila (The Firework-Maker’s Daughter), Ines (Il trovatore), Sophie (Werther), Jemmy (Guillaume Tell), Lia (L’enfant prodigue), Blue Fairy (The Adventures of Pinocchio) and Giulia (La scala di seta).

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West Wicklow Festival Performances

Lauren will perform on Sunday 19th May 2019 in the beautifully historic St. Mary’s Church in Blessington. Lauren will be accompanied by West Wicklow Festival’s Founder & Artistic Director, Fiachra Garvey. In this very special performance, Lauren and Fiachra will also give the world premiere of a new commission by young composer, Lilly Vadaneaux.

Sunday 19th May
St. Mary’s Church | 1.30pm

Lauren Fagan | soprano
Fiachra Garvey | piano

Clara Schumann: Three Lieder, Op. 12
Rachmaninoff: Six Romances, Op. 38 (selections)
Grieg: Six Songs, Op. 48 (selections)
Lilly Vadaneaux: The Cloths of Heaven (new commission)
Poulenc: Deux Poems de Louis Aragon
Schubert: Ganymed, D. 544
Alfred Hill: “I thought I heard a magpie call” /  “A Little Town”

Strauss: Three Songs
Puccini: “Senza Mamma” from Suor Angelica
Gounod: “Dieu! Quel frisson…” from Romeo & Juliette

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To book tickets for this performance, please click here! 

 

Tickets Now On Sale for 2019 West Wicklow Festival

Tickets are now on sale for the third edition of the West Wicklow Festival which takes place from 15th – 19th May 2019. Building on the success of previous festivals, the 2019 West Wicklow Festival boasts an incredible line-up of musicians and artists from all over the world with concerts being held at Russborough House and St. Mary’s Church in Blessington.

Having doubled in size last year, the Festival has once again expanded its programme and added an extra day to the Festival which this year will feature 15 artists and 26 composers over 5 days.

The 2019 programme features performances from the captivating Australian soprano Lauren Fagan, internationally acclaimed violinist Elena Urioste with pianist Tom Poster, renowned French string quartet Quatuor Voce, the inspirational Trio Atanassov, the dynamic and energetic Duo Játékok and the Festival’s Founder and Artistic Director, renowned Irish pianist Fiachra Garvey.

 

This year’s programme marks two very important events – namely the 200th Anniversary of Clara Schumann’s birth and the centenary of the outbreak of the Irish War of Independence. We join in celebrating the music of Clara Schumann this year as well as music by other female composers and we have commissioned two new works in memory of the Irish War of Independence. I look forward to welcoming everyone to the stunning Russborough House in May to enjoy this fantastic programme in a uniquely intimate setting!” – Fiachra Garvey, Founder & Artistic Director

 

The West Wicklow Festival marks the 200th Birthday of perhaps the world’s most significant female composer, Clara Schumann, with performances of some of her most popular works. In conjunction with this, the Festival is also celebrating by championing other influential Irish and international female composers, including Amy Beach, Lili Boulanger, Rhona Clarke, Rhoda Coghill and Joan Trimble.

2019 also marks the centenary of the outbreak of the Irish War of Independence. To commemorate this event, the West Wicklow Festival has commissioned two new pieces, one from prominent Irish composer Sam Perkin and the other from young British composer Lilly Vadaneaux. Sam Perkin’s composition will receive its world premiere on the opening night of the Festival and will be performed by Fiachra Garvey as part of his own solo recital on Wednesday 15th May at Russborough House. Fiachra will also accompany acclaimed Australian soprano Lauren Fagan for the world premiere of Lilly Vadaneaux’s composition on Sunday 19th May in St. Mary’s Church, Blessington.

Founded in 2017 by award-winning Wicklow pianist Fiachra Garvey, the West Wicklow Festival was established in order to promote the beautiful area of West Wicklow by staging an annual festival featuring some of the world’s premiere artists, with a healthy Irish offering.  The inaugural West Wicklow Festival featured 3 sold out concerts in the stunning Russborough House, one of the finest examples of Palladian architecture in Ireland and the second edition in 2018 successfully doubled in size with twice as many concerts, a Family Concert and an innovative Music Trail. Guests are invited to enjoy the intricate beauty of Russborough House in addition to experiencing some of the world’s finest musicians in a beautiful, intimate and awe-inspiring setting.

To book your tickets for the 2019 West Wicklow Festival, please click here!

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.