WWF 2024

West Wicklow Festival

Date: 15–19 May, 2024

Over 25 musicians, some returning and others making their Irish debuts, will arrive in West Wicklow this May for the return of the West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival. From May 15th to 19th, the festival will host a scintillating series of chamber music concerts, school workshops, masterclasses and family events.

With 9 concerts and various education events, the 2024 May Festival provides a wide array of opportunities for audiences to experience chamber music and enjoy a diverse range of performances by renowned chamber ensembles and soloists.

Opening this year’s festival on Wednesday 15th May, acclaimed for her “technical brilliance” is Korean violinist Hyeyoon Park, the youngest ever winner of the prestigious ARD International Music Competition in Munich, who will be joined by French horn player Ben Goldscheider and the Festival’s Artistic Director, pianist Fiachra Garvey. These three phenomenal artists will combine to bring a programme infused with rich and luxurious romantic duos by Clara and Robert Schumann, a lesser-known gem by Edith Borroff and horn trios by Huw Watkins and Brahms.

Making their Irish debut on Thursday 16th May are award winning Korean violinist Inmo Yang, first prize-winner of the eminent Sibelius Violin Competition and French pianist Yannick Rafalimanana. They will join forces for an exquisite programme of baroque and classical sonatas by C.P.E. Bach and Mozart, the sumptuous Nocturne et Cortège by Lili Boulanger, the rarely heard Fantasy Op.131 by Schumann, culminating in the mighty Violin Sonata in A major by Franck. The duo regularly performs in some of the world’s leading venues from Carnegie Hall to the Berliner Philharmonie.

Regarded as one of the most exceptional piano trios of today, the festival welcomes The Sitkovetsky Trio on Friday 17th May. The trio will present a powerful, yet beautiful programme that includes arguably the greatest piano trio ever composed, the symphonic Piano Trio in A minor by Tchaikovsky, as well as formidable trios by Cécile Chaminade and Irish composer Sam Perkin’s “Freakshow” (inspired by the Fron-Goch internment camp).

A ‘Late Evening Concert’ will be performed by Irish cellist, Ailbhe McDonagh. Ailbhe, who has just released her album Bach: It’s a Cello Thing, will perform a programme featuring two of J.S.Bach’s most loved cello Suites, No.2 D minor and No.3 in C major, at 10pm on Friday 17th May, under the moonlight Russborough skies!

Known for their highly energetic performances, Quatuor Arod, (String Quartet) is widely regarded as one of the world’s premier chamber music ensembles. The Quartet will showcase the intimacy of this combination of instruments in their debut Irish performance on Saturday 18th May at 4pm at Russborough House, in works by Haydn, Benjamin Attahir and Beethoven’s much revered Op. 131, claimed to be his favourite of his quartet offerings.

The festival’s Rising Stars for May 2024 will be Maria O’Dea (bassoon) and Luke Lally Maguire (piano). Both students at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music, London the duo are a fine example of the wealth of emerging talent Ireland has to offer. Audiences will be treated to favourites for this combination from Grovlez and Hindemith, a transcription of Schumann’s Fantasiestücke Op.73, ending with the jazzy inflections of Andre Previn’s bassoon sonata. This concert will also feature the winning work from the festival’s Composition Competition in association with the Contemporary Music Centre.

Described by the Guardian Newspaper as been “blessed with a powerful, pitch-perfect voice”, American born icon Judi Jackson, together with her jazz ensemble, will perform songs inspired by some of the jazz greats, such as Nina Simone, Billy Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, as well as her own original compositions, in a soulful and exhilarating performance on Saturday 18th May at 8pm at the Tramway Theatre, Blessington.

The final day of the festival will bring our ever-popular Family Concert to the Tramway Theatre, Blessington. Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf will be narrated by award winning Irish actor Jos Vantyler, who is renowned for his work in classical theatre. Jos will be joined by members of the Irish Chamber Orchestra to bring this timeless family-friendly tale to life!

Bringing the May festival to a close, two of Ireland’s finest singers, superstar soprano Claudia Boyle and honorary Irish baritone Gyula Nagy will join our Artistic Director, pianist Fiachra Garvey for a captivating concert packed with opera arias and duets by Mozart (Marriage of Figaro & Don Giovanni), Verdi (Rigoletto) and Bizet (Les Pêcheurs de Perles), to name a few, as well as music inspired by folk songs from Ireland and Hungary.The festival finale will take place at St Mary’s Church, Blessington on May 19th at 3:30pm.

Commenting on this year’s festival, Artistic Director, Fiachra Garvey said; “As the cultural landscape of West Wicklow continues to flourish, music enthusiasts and aficionados alike will be thrilled to hear about the launch of the 2024 May edition of the West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival. This festival promises to be a celebration of chamber music at its finest, featuring world-class performances in intimate and enchanting settings.

He added; “With a carefully curated programme, showcasing a diverse range of musicians and genres, from classical to contemporary, the festival will offer something for every musical palate”.

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