Top musicians line out for Bantry chamber music fest

January 31st, 2023 7:05 AM

By Southern Star Team

The festival was founded in 2016 by renowned Irish musician Mairéad Hickey, above, and Sinéad O’Halloran, to give a platform to some of Ireland’s finest young musicians.

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THE eighth Ortús Chamber Music Festival will run from February 26th to March 5th in venues including Bantry, featuring some of the world’s most celebrated classical musicians.

The festival, founded in 2016 by renowned Irish musicians Sinéad O’Halloran and Mairéad Hickey, was set up with the goal of providing performance platforms for some of Ireland’s finest young musicians alongside their international peers. Committed to highlighting the achievements of Irish musicians and composers on the world stage, while bridging connections with musicians worldwide, Ortús has invited over 40 musicians to Cork and programmed more than 85 musical works.

This year’s festival will feature performances in St Brendan’s Church, Bantry on Sunday 26th February 3pm, as well as Blackrock Castle Observatory, UCC Aula Maxima, MTU Cork School of Music and others.

The line-up includes Irish musicians Sinéad O’Halloran (cello), Eoin Ducrot (violin), Fiachra de hÓra (viola) and Peggy Nolan (cello), alongside Swedish violinist Johannes Marmén, Welsh pianist Jâms Coleman, New Zealand violist Bryony Gibson-Cornish and Swiss violinist Laia Braun. There will also be performances by the world-renowned Marmen Quartet, of which Sinéad is a member.

‘It has been an incredible year for me since I joined the quartet, with performances all around the world, including at the Berlin Philharmonic, Lucerne Festival, Canada’s Banff Centre & the BBC Proms. We have played for audiences worldwide, but for me there is nothing quite like coming home to where my musical journey began and bringing my favourite musicians with me! I can’t wait to introduce them to Irish audiences,’ she said. Festival highlights include Mozart & Fauré’s beloved piano quartets, Beethoven’s epic late quartet op. 131, the Irish premiere of Salina Fisher’s ‘Heal,’Brahms’ much loved String Sextet no 1 and a special evening at the Blackrock Castle Observatory where the audience will be treated to music inspired by the night sky.

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