Composing The Island: A Century Of Music In Ireland 1916-2016

Over three weeks in September, (7th – 25th), Composing the Island will present 27 concerts of orchestral, choral, instrumental, song and chamber music by Irish composers written between 1916 and 2016.

How this music developed, and the times and circumstances in which it was written will unfold over 3 weeks of concerts which will include 6 major orchestral concerts performed by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

Many of Ireland’s leadig performers will take part. They include Crash Ensemble, Chamber Choir Ireland, Concorde, Vanbrugh Quartet, Fidelio Trio, Hugh Tinney, and Robin Tritschler and, given the vital role played by the army musicians during the early years of the state, a performance will be given by the Band of the Defence Forces School of Music.

Highlights include –

• The earliest orchestral piece, an Irish Rhapsody from 1914 by Charles Villiers Stanford, friend of Brahms and Offenbach, teacher of Vaughan Williams and Holst.
• The newest orchestral composition, c, commissioned by RTÉ especially for Composing the Island from Birmingham-based Dubliner Andrew Hamilton will premiere at the festival.
• A new work by Ian Wilson, exploring the human, personal aspects of 1916 through the last words of the captured leaders of the Rising.
• Additional world premieres by Ronan Guilfoyle, Philip Hammond, Stephen McNeff and Eoghan Desmond.
• A century of choral music with Chamber Choir Ireland.
• Two recitals of The Irish Song Book with Robin Tritschler and Rachel Kelly.
• The groundbreaking string quartet by Frederick May, one of the most individual statements from an Irish composer in the first half of the 20th century.
• Striking recent orchestral works including Donnacha Dennehy’s Crane with its title reflecting that symbol of the construction boom of Celtic Tiger Ireland; and Stephen Gardner’s NEVER…NEVER…NEVER drawing its title from a famous Ian Paisley speech protesting against the signing of the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement.
• ‘Here and Now’: 21st century music in the Crash Ensemble new music marathon.
• RTÉ Cór na nÓg presenting music written especially for children’s voices since 1980
• Festival finale with the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in a choral concert that brings Composing the Island back full circle, with two works from the 1920s by now largely forgotten figures, Norman Hay and Rhoda Coghill.

Composing the Island is sponsored by Bord na Móna and presented by RTÉ and the National Concert Hall as part of RTÉ 1916 & Ireland 2016.

For more information visit the National Concert Hall Website

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