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Busy programme for West Cork's top music festival

June 1st, 2017 10:05 PM

By Southern Star Team

The violinist Miranda Cuckson will be coming to Bantry. (Photo: Beowulf Sheehan)

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A COMPREHENSIVE list of guests and performers have been announced for the 22nd West Cork Chamber Music Festival, which runs from Friday June 30th to Saturday July 8th.

The Doric Quartet from the UK, Pacifica Quartet from the USA, Pavel Haas Quartet from the Czech Republic and Zaïde Quartet from France will join a host of performers.

Soloists will include British violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen, Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud, German violinist Viviane Hagner, Finnish pianist Joonas Ahonen, American violinist Miranda Cuckson, Irish violinist Mairéad Hickey, German-Canadian cellist Johanes Moser and many more.

 A year on from Ireland’s 1916 commemorations, Finland will be celebrating the centenary of its own independence. This will be marked in Cork by the performance of Finnish composer Kalevi Aho’s Quintet for Piano and Winds performed by Finland’s Christoffer Sundqvist and Joonas Ahonen and others. 

Further centenaries are marked during the festival – violin sonatas by Respighi, Debussy and Elgar, all composed in 1917. These will be performed by violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen and pianist Huw Watkins on Saturday July 1st.

 The festival has a reputation for programming contemporary work alongside more familiar music and 2017 will see the world premiere of a new commission by the young Irish composer, Sam Perkin. 

Irish premieres include the Pacifica Quartet’s performance of Julia Wolfe’s Splendid Hopes and Donnacha Dennehy’s The Weather of It, performed by The Doric Quartet. 

The Pacifica Quartet will also play contemporary composer Shulamit Ran’s Glitter, Shards, Doom, Memory - String Quartet No 3, which was inspired by the short life, and art, of the painter Felix Nussbaum, who died at Auschwitz.

Cork percussionist Alex Petcu, who will be presenting workshops in Cork schools this spring, returns to Bantry to join a host of musicians performing David Bruce’s 2016 composition The Consolation of Rain in the Coffee Concert on Wednesday July 5th.

A rare treat is in store when the full set of Beethoven’s three piano trios, Opus 1, is played towards the end of the festival. Number 1 is played on Wednesday, Number 2, a day later, and number 3 on Friday. 

Throughout the festival, RTÉ Lyric FM broadcaster Evelyn Grant will be talking to a selection of musicians in the popular morning talks, which take place in the Bantry Bay Hotel. 

General booking is now open online and from the box office. The complete festival programme is at www.westcorkmusic.ie and 027 52788.

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