West Cork Chamber Music Festival

Solfa Carlile

The annual West Cork Chamber Music Festival has become a festival of international renown, showcasing the best in chamber music performance, but also the best in small ensemble composition. The theme of this year’s festival is the famous quote from Leonardo da Vinci, ‘music is the shaping of the invisible’, and throughout are examples of composers from all times that explore the ‘hidden empire’ of the traditional music of their country, from Bartok to contemporary composers.

In performance will be a piece by Deirdre Gribbin, What the Whaleship Saw, a 2004 string quartet originally premiered in London and here played by the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet at the evening concert at Bantry House on Saturday 30 June. The following Monday, 2 July, sees Raymond Deane’s Five Piece Suite performed by the Young European Strings Chamber Orchestra conducted by Ronald Masin at an afternoon concert at St. Brendan’s Hall.

Also on the programme are the three winning works from this year’s Composition Competition. At the afternoon concert on Sunday, 1 July  the Gildas Quartet will premiere J. Harry Whalley’s Compression in a programme that also includes Tippett and Beethoven. The Westland Piano Trio will give the first performance of Solfa Carlile’s Saul and the Witch on Thursday’s afternoon concert, and finally, the Benz Quartet will premiere Prelude and Fugue by Bill McGrath on Friday, 6 July. The three composers will also workshop their pieces at a masterclass on Saturday, 30 June with the three ensembles, in association with the Contemporary Music Centre, followed by a talk by composer-in-residence Thomas Larcher.

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