The 2015 West Cork Chamber Music Festival begins on Friday, with over a week of concerts, masterclasses and talks taking place in Bantry. In its 20th year, the festival boasts a strong line-up of Irish and international acts, with a strong contemporary music presence and a number of world and Irish premieres. It also features the premiere of works by the four winning composers of the West Cork Chamber Music Composition Competition and the Young Composers’ Forum.
The festival opens with a concert in Bantry House (now sold out), with the Cremona Quartet playing Mozart, Barry Douglas playing Schubert, and the Vanbrugh Quartet performing a string quartet by Sean Doherty, commissioned by Vanbrugh as part of the Crossings project and premiered earlier this year.
“My String Quartet No. 3 ‘The Devil’s Dream’ was commissioned by the Vanbrugh Quartet as part of their Crossings project—a collaboration between artists from backgrounds of classical and Irish traditional music. I was introduced to music through the fiddle tradition of my native Donegal. The tradition is distinctive in Ireland: not like the languid lilt of the Clare style nor the light patter of the Galway style, the Donegal style looks outwards, across the sea, for its closest kin—to Scotland and to Nova Scotia. Aggressive, driving, and un-ornamented, the tunes are as stark as the bogland, the bowing as jagged as the cliffs. A leading of exponent of this tradition was my teacher, the fiddle player James Byrne and this string quartet is loosely based on two tunes that I learned from his playing: An Londubh and The Devil’s Dream. This quartet was written in his memory.” –Seán Doherty
Other premieres by Irish composers include Alina Ibragimova playing Ian Wilson’s Sonáin Béaloidis for solo violin (29 Jun, 8pm, St Brendan’s Church), while Tabakova’s Such Different Paths (30 Jun, 4pm, St. Brendan’s Church) and Fagerlund’s Transient Light (30 Jun, 8pm, Bantry House) are among the international works receiving Irish premieres.
The four winning composers of the 2015 Composition Competition for Young Composers are Robert Coleman, Peter Leavy, Finola Merivale and Amy Rooney. These four composers works were chosen from an annual call for submissions of works for string quartet, to be performed and workshopped throughout the festival. Coleman’s work Monster will receive its premiere by the Arioso Quartet; Leavy’s Kintsukuroi by the Lir Quartet; Merivale’s The Language of the Mountains is Rain by Sonora Quartet; and Rooney’s Viscosity for String Quartet by the Vuillaume Quartet. All concerts are afternoon events taking place at St. Brendan’s Hall, and see the young composers’ works paired with music by Beethoven, Debussy, Schubert, and Barber. The composers will also take part in the Young Composers’ Forum directed by Finnish composer Sebastian Fagerlund on 27 June.
For more information and full programme, see http://www.westcorkmusic.ie.