Schumann: Violin Concerto; Piano Trio No 3Isabelle Faust (violin), Freiburger Barockorchester/Pablo Heras-Casado, Jean-Guihen Quey(...)

‘It’s hard to think of anyone better-equipped than Niall Doyle [above] to provide the advocacy that music and opera need in these straitened times.’ Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Doyle comes to the job as someone who knows how bruising the council can be to clients

Mozart: String Quartet in D minor K421; Mendelssohn: Quartet in A minor Op 13Chiaroscuro QuartetAparté AP 0924

New breed: Simon Rattle works as readily with period-instrument players as with symphony orchestras. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/EPA

The Royal Irish Academy of Music’s collaborative concert was strong on Irish writers but weak on our composers

David Lang: the line-up of his festival featured composers with an average age of 54 and a range of works with an average year of composition around 2000

Why this year’s festival turned to the US for a curator is hard to fathom

Mozart: Serenade in E flat K375; Divertimentos K240, K252, K253, K270

John Wilson, principal conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, during rehearsals at the National Concert Hall. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The principal conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra fell in love with music in his high chair. He taught himself piano at a young(...)

Keith Pascoe: a violinist who comes at his subject at times from an almost proprietorial perspective

A talk by Keith Pascoe in the NCH Insights series focused on the changing relationship between the two instruments

John Buckley is one of the most fastidious craftsmen, and the orchestra gives him the greatest palette

The composer compiles a classic Horizons programme at the NCH; and NI Opera bares all, with mixed results

Jennifer Walshe: seems to feel like a musical foundling who arrived in the world with enthusiasms that don’t fit with the culture around her. Photograph: Eugene Langan, copyright Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland

What, you haven’t heard of Zaftig Giolla or the Guinness Dadaists? Let Jennifer Walshe enlighten you

Benjamin Grosvenor: redrew balances at will and shifted material into different octaves as he saw fit, not to emulate effects that are possible on a harpsichord but rather to make absolutely the best pianistic effect

The pianist, just 22, delivers an unconventional programme with awe-inspiring confidence

‘Bruch never managed to reconcile himself with the direction taken by Wagner and Liszt, let alone those who built on their achievements.’ Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The German composer clung to the same style throughout his career – do any modern counterparts keep the faith?

Friday’s programme showed that, under its current chorus master, Mark Hindley (above), standards at the RTÉ Philharmonic are high

The choir has to compete with the Fleischmann, but it’s living up to the vision behind its foundation

‘Back in the 1990s I told Judith Woodworth [above], then the director of the NCH, that music itself was way down the agenda in the hall’s own promotional activities. Her response was unexpected.’ Photograph: Frank Miller

The NCH needs to give greater prominence to the music in its promotion and RTÉ needs to be braver about new music

Taracea: Seldom Sene

Richard Goode at the KBC Great Music in Irish Houses festival

‘Of all the arts centres and theatres outside of Dublin where I’ve heard OTC productions, the Solstice [above] in Navan is in a league of its own.’ Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

At four recent performances given in spaces not designed for music, the contrasting fortunes were profound

Belfast conductor Courtney Lewis stands out as someone who is prepared to go that extra mile in shaping the nuance and colour of the orchestra’s playing. Photograph: Travis Anderson

Getting the best out of an orchestra is a challenge, but the young Belfast conductor proves he can handle it with performances of (...)

One of Europe’s finest outdoor opera companies comes indoors for a brief tour in Dublin with ‘La traviata’

Irina Dubrovskaya’s intriguing rhythmic liquidity communicates a dreamlike quality - he is fully in the world, but not quite of it.
Review: La traviata

Glyndebourne returns with a terrific production of Verdi’s classic

The Vanbrughs, whose final years at RTÉ were marked by patchy publicity and promotion, may well feel that they have had a narrow escape

ConTempo Quartet, on the other hand, were to take over as RTÉ’s string quartet in Cork in April, but things have been rather muted(...)

Engagement and the breaking down of conventional barriers is clearly high on ConTempo’s agenda

Programmes are invaluable for concert-goers, and a little discussion from performers rarely does any harm

The Elixir of Love is indicative of the scale of production the OTC would liketo do more of

OTC says it was ‘the victim of political decisions’ but it’s now back on the road with bigger ambitions than ever

The Emerson Quartet are no strangers to the challenges and possibilities of the recording studio, and they have nine Grammy awards to prove it

The Emerson Quartet offer a reminder of the advantages of the live performance over the recording

Jennifer Davis, left, and Anna Devin have both developed the kind of healthy, strong delivery that singers need to project in larger halls and opera houses

If only Ireland had such a thing as a national opera company to utilise the abilities of Anna Devin and Jennifer Davis

Enrico Pace is a class act, a man who understands what a vast range of sonorities a piano can be coaxed into yielding. Photograph: Marco Borggreve

The skill of the players is undermined by the concert’s unconventional structure

The late impresario John Ruddock at his home in Dalkey. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Whether promoting at home or recruiting abroad, John Ruddock’s effect on Irish music was profound

Quirijin de Lang and Jamie Rock. Photograph: Sean O’Riordan

Kevin Puts’s opera gets an impassioned performance in its European premiere

‘Juan Diego Flórez’s voice has a pleasing immediacy. His tone is forward and highly focused. The delivery is stylish and musically true’

The downside to seeing the tenor’s NCH appearance was that I missed an apparently great Wexford production

 Filippo Fontana in Don Bucefalo. Photograph: Clive Barda/ArenaPAL

Too much commotion and too many gags sometimes smother the froth of the music

Na’ama Goldman and Igor Golovatenko. Photograph: Eric Luke

A new production that is inert and lacklustre

The extra funding announced for the arts in the Budget is in fact earmarked for the Easter Rising commemorations

None of the Budget’s so-called feelgood factor reached the arts, which received no boost in funding

Silent Night: the quick scene changes of the prologue, which were handled by the rotation of a turntable in Cincinnati, will be solved at Wexford with lighting

The Wexford-bound Silent Night explores the horror of war through the prism of the unofficial Christmas Eve truce of 1914. Its com(...)

‘What does Heather Humphreys really think about the boards of cultural institutions and the arts in general? I have no idea.’ Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

In her first few months in the job, it’s hard to know what Heather Humphreys thinks about the boards of cultural institutions and (...)

Maria Callas ‘led a life that fostered sensationalist coverage’. Photograph: Ben Martin/The Life Images Collection/Getty Images

‘La Divina’, one of the greatest singers of her time, returns in a new version of her studio recordings

Gábor Takács-Nagy: his Haydn is anything but routine

Irish Chamber Orchestra’s Gábor Takács-Nagy brings a fresh and fun approach to the composer’s symphonies

Opening show: Hugh Tinney and Catherine Leonard, who played at, and are joint artistic directors of, Westport Festival of Chamber Music

It’s easy to compare the approaches of different instrumentalists at Westport Festival of Chamber Music

Kelley Lonergan: She sounds like a natural. Her voice is lovely to listen to, and she makes it sound as if it’s easy to produce

New orchestra aims to unearth music from the classical period by ‘the lesser-known geniuses’

Pianist Una Hunt has been doing sterling work unearthing the music of Limerick’s George Alexander Osborne and others

Opportunities to experience the broad spectrum of this country’s rich musical history are limited

Pianist Barry Douglas’s gutsy playing was often an edge-of-the-seat experience

New director Eugene Downes has put classical music back at the heart of the festival, and in fine style

‘The super-short concert is a very interesting concept. The one at Happy Day Enniskillen International Beckett Festival by French soprano Léa Trommenschlager (above) with pianist Julius Drake, was a model of its kind’

The real question now is whether Elaine Kelly will get the opportunities to build her experience and repertoire

Jaime Diaz-Ocejo: has what in a doctor you would call an excellent bedside manner

Jaime Diaz-Ocejo’s seminars in Dublin about student-performance profiling and performing under pressure prove fascinating

Portrait of Beethoven  by Joseph Karl Stieler

Musicians scheduled to perform his works here discuss what marks him out

Finghin Collins: by some distance the most successful Irish pianist of his generation

Collins gave a terrific talk about the nuts and bolts of his career during Dublin International Piano Festival

Raymond Deane: his book is, if you’ll forgive the pun, a sobering read. But the message is ultimately positive

When reviewing, the composer’s invective was extreme. He is no less frank when writing about his own life, alcoholism and recovery(...)

In the Night

Swap at the top: Cavan-Monaghan Fine Gael TD Heather Humphreys has preplaced Jimmy Deenihan as Minister for Arts. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The council says it is ‘very pleased’ with the steering group’s findings. Let’s hope real change will follow

Der Vampyr’s idea of flowing off the stage into the auditorium was carried out with an aplomb that Mahagonny got nowhere near. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Set designers have a crucial influence over the musical experience of an opera – here’s the evidence

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