Mezzo soprano Carolyn Sprule. Photograph: Clive Barda

Samuel Barber’s opera was calculated not to offend a 1950s audience fearful of genuinely modern music

Herculanum at Wexford Festival Opera. Photograph: Clive Barda/ArenaPAL

Félicien David’s opera takes the explosion of Mt Vesuvius as its setting, but this production never manages to ignite

The  unexpected golden age of Irish opera includes  Landmark Production and Wide Open Opera’s The Last Hotel,  a new opera by Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh featuring Katherine Manley and Claudia Boyle. Photograph: Patrick Redmond

Arts Council should use increased funding announced in the budget to address the needs of opera lovers and the professional opera (...)


Soprano Rachel Kelly with Una Hunt on piano for Songs of Erin at the National Concert Hall as part of Composing the Island

The event highlighting a neglected repertoire from Irish composers should happen every year

David Kempster as Don Giovanni in   in a new translation of  Mozart’s opera  by Roddy Doyle and the Opera Theatre Company, as part of Dublin Theatre Festival 2016

Dublin Theatre Festival: Opera Theatre Company shifts the action from 16th-century Spain to Dublin now, and the audience engageme(...)

Violinist Elaine Clarke with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and Gavin Maloney, conductor

Biggest ever celebration of Irish composers ends at the National Concert Hall

The concert ended with Gerald Barry’s From the Intelligence Park (1986), a collage-like piece, sometimes calmly mono-linear, sometimes fiercely aggressive

The celebration of 100 years of Irish composition hits mid-century, revealing a dark age for orchestral music

Composer Andrew Hamilton. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

When the composer was younger, he would get very annoyed when people laughed in concerts of his ‘playful music’ – but now he embra(...)

The Vanbrugh Quartet: made a strong impression with Frederick May’s Quartet as part of the “Composing the Island” festival

The festival unearthed fine compositions that were sadly neglected in the past 100 years

David Kempster in Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’: a new translation by Roddy Doyle will be staged at the Dublin Theatre Festival

Opera has been particularly badly treated over the past 10 years and the latest reforms offer little hope

Gershwin: An American in Paris; Concerto in FLincoln Mayorga (piano), Harmonie Ensemble/New York/Steven RichmanHarmonia Mundi HMU (...)

In Schumann’s Cello Concerto, Sol Gabetta, above, made the solo part more persuasive than is usual in a work that in many performances seems to suggest more than it can deliver

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under Daniele Gatti delivered everything you could have asked for

Argentinian cellist Sol Gabetta is “relishing going on tour”

Cellist Sol Gabetta, who will play with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Dublin, now appreciates why her teacher didn’t want h(...)

Daniele Gatti

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra took a democratic path to choosing Daniele Gatti as chief conductor

In the last year of Mozart’s life he wrote a number of pieces for glass harmonica (above), an instrument devised by Benjamin Franklin. Photograph: iStock

The Mozart programme at Kilkenny Arts Festival featured compositions for mechanical organ and glass harmonica

If you like your Mozart busy, you might only find yourself in tune with Christian Blackshaw at his most urgent. Photograph: Herbie Knott

Mozart is the focus of this year’s Kilkenny Arts Festival, and the English performer’s approach is unconventional

James MacMillan: Since it was the day of Preparation…Brindley Sherratt (bass), Synergy Vocals, Hebrides EnsembleDelphian DCD 34168(...)

Photograph: iStock

You might think that Brexit will not have much effect for music in Ireland. If only

Fabrizio Chiovetta (piano) - Bach: Keyboard Suites (BWV809, 825, 831)album review

As a composer, Rzewski freely mixes elements that are often kept apart in modern music

And what does a composer have to do around here to get one of his works banned?

Richard Boothby - William Lawes Complete Music for Solo Lyra Viol album review

Dave Flynn’s nose for the timely, publicity-friendly, anti-establishment gesture is not to be denied. Photograph: John O’Neill

Dave Flynn’s Burren venture is an alternative to the massive 1916 centenary survey – but the fine print is bewildering

The wonder of Mark Padmore’s singing is not to do with beauty of tone, although there is plenty of that – it’s to do with the pliability of line

Mark Padmore’s singing is riveting, with an exceptional sense of intimacy and adaptability

Dowland: LachrimaePhantasm, Elizabeth KennyLinn Records CKD 5275

Deirdre Gribbin’s new piece was commissioned for the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, in which her great-uncle fought

West Cork Chamber Music Festival heard pieces by Deirdre Gribbin and Seán Doherty

The biggest faux pas is the complete omission of one of the country’s most successful composers, Jennifer Walshe

Composing the Island festival is huge, but it neglects women and living composers under 30

Stephen Richardson (bass), Chamber Choir Ireland, Crash Ensemble/Paul Hillier Barry Meets Beethoven

In ‘Müntzers Stern’ by German composer Jakob Ullmann (above), the words of the text can be heard, but at a volume so low they cannot be readily deciphered

Ten years after I first heard of Wandelweiser, Louth Contemporary Music Society has brought it to Ireland

Whispers of TitansGoeyvaerts String TrioChallenge Classics CC 727134

GPO in O’Connell Street, Dublin: a long musical tradition since Radio Éireann.  Photograph: Eric Luke

While no longer strictly in houses, the Great Music in Irish Houses festival has found good new homes

Nicholas Ransley and Gavan Ring in Lismore Opera Festival’s Cosi fan tutte. Photograph: Frances Marshall

The Brussels Philharmonic made a stylish debut at the NCH, but Mozart at Lismore Music Festival needed a lighter touch

If a way were found to appoint Simon Rattle (above), Mariss Jansons, Gustavo Dudamel or Bernard Haitink as principal conductor of the NSO, the standard would rise, as would attendances

As the principal conductors of the NSO and the CO finish up, the question arises: how best to deal with their succession?

David Bremner featured as pianist and composer at Echoes and Memories, curated by Gráinne Mulvey

A high proportion of composers do not like writing about their work but listeners find such context invaluable

Airs & Dances from Dublin CastleSpackling BandAtoll ACD 9153

 Ermonela Jaho: the Albanian soprano, who first appeared in Wexford in 2000, was the Readers’ Award Winner at the International Opera Awards. Photograph: Marc Ross/AFP/Getty Images

In the past 10 years, the grant to Wexford has crept up but OTC's has fallen fast. What’s the rationale?

Schumann: Piano Concerto; Mendelssohn: Fair Melusine Overture; Piano Concerto No 1Ingrid Fliter (piano), Scottish Chamber Orchestr(...)

This year’s star attraction of Great Music in Irish Houses is American pianist Richard Goode. Photograph: Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images

Great Music in Irish Houses, Killaloe Chamber Music Festival and Cork Chamber Music Festival also reveal their programmes

The Vanbrugh Quartet

The Vanbrugh Quartet’s unusual approach played up the contrast between early and late Beethoven

The new pieces by Scott McLaughlin, Eric Skytterholm Egan and Amanda Feery will be heard at the NCH on May 16th

Can the Music of Our Time series at the NCH remedy the weaknesses of the national broadcaster’s long-standing approach to new musi(...)

Japanese conductor Masaaki Suzuki

Music-making does not come much purer than in Masaaki Suzuki’s approach to Bach at the NCH

The production zips along thanks to carefully drawn characters, the conductor’s pacing and the vocal commands of the leads

Characters are given space to sing and shine in impressive updating of a comic classic

Simon O’Connor’s set of intimate songs, imagining 1916 through the experience of the wives of the rebel leaders, is currently on tour

Sorrow and loss continue to hold us in greater thrall than the idea of a new order in the offing

Donnacha Dennehy: his approach to words and voices is reverential

Michael Dervan: Two evenings of music and words as part of Ireland 2016 got me thinking about the links that were missed

The Vanbrugh Quartet

The NCH room - where the Treaty debates were held - has had a revamp. Will this fix the acoustic problems?

Jörg Widmann. Photograph: Marco Borggreve

The Irish Chamber Orchestra’s second attempt at taming the Mansion House room’s intractable acoustic brought some progress

Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu: has often been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Photograph: Dieter Nagl/AFP/Getty Images

She is sometimes said to live up to the prima donna billing, but after a cautious start she shone at the NCH

“It was through George Bernard Shaw I discovered that the shape of 19th century concerts was radically different to what we are used to today”

Freiburger Barockorchester pay no heed to modern approaches to concert structures

Conductor Nicholas McGegan: well-heeled Americans follow him around

A lucky few can follow their favourite groups and repertoires around the world. The rest of us have to take our chances when we ca(...)

Brahms: Piano Trio in B Op 8; Piano Quartet in C minor Op 60Christophe Gaugué (viola), Trio WandererHarmonia Mundi HMC 9022224

“Nathalia Milstein made plenty of sound, but her personal voice doesn’t yet seem capable of carrying the full import.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Despite the clear skill of last year’s Dublin International Piano Competition winner, something was missing at a recent concert

The Freiburger Barockorchester

The Freiburger Barockorchester will usher in a new order at their NCH concert

Soprano Ailish Tynan: at her beguiling best

The Irish Chamber Orchestra has moved to the Mansion House’s Round Room, and there are challenges to overcome

Bruch: Violin Concerto No 1; Romance; SerenadeJack Liebeck (violin), BBC Scottish SO/Martyn BrabbinsHyperion CDA 680604

Igor Stravinsky at Dublin Airport in 1963. Photograph: Tommy Collins

The Russian, a giant among 20th century composers, deserved an NCH showcase of his distinctive style

Egyptian soprano Fatma Said:  first prize at the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition

Is there a gender or national bias in our high-profile music competitions? Sorry, conspiracy theorists, but no

For Courtney Lewis, above, Haydn is a bedrock of the repertoire. Photograph: Travis Anderson

The conductor and the RTÉ NSO show Haydn a good time; and Ó Riada’s score for Mise Éire leaves me cold

Steibelt: Piano Concertos Nos 3, 5, 7Ulster Orchestra/Howard Shelley (piano)Hyperion CDA 681043

The new Ortús Festival is the brainchild of two young musicians, violinist Mairéad Hickey and cellist Sinéad O’Halloran

Two long-standing music series lose out as new events hit the jackpot, but the lack of continuity from year to year is mind-boggli(...)

Veronica Dunne with competition hopefuls Maria McGrath, Niamh O’Sullivan, Rachel Croash, Aoife Gibney and Sarah Richmond. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall

Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Dunne began teaching in 1962. At 88 her passion is still obvious and she is alarmingly direct in her opinions ab(...)

You could look at Boulez’s always baton-less hands and see suggestions of refinements that had not yet actually made it into the playing. Photograph: Christophe Ena/File/AP Photo/

Boulez was the last of a great avant-garde line. But was Gilbert Kaplan, another conductor who died last week, just faking it?

Courtney Lewis: currently conducting the Jacksonville Symphony orchestra in Florida

The Belfast man studied at Cambridge with the goal of becoming a composer, but the lure of conducting led him to a rewarding caree(...)

Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra concentrate on the big picture

The best-known Irish musical name was that of tenor John McCormack (above), who abandoned the opera house in favour of a concert career

That was the scene internationally, but what would a Dublin music lover have had to choose from?

Check out the work of the Dublin Youth Orchestras, above, at the NCH on January 9th

Orchestra members fulfil vital extracurricular functions such as providing music education and road-testing new music

We are lucky to have a number of Irish promoters whose taste and empathy for the audience’s experience set them apart

Granados: Piano Quintet; Turina: Piano Quintet; CaliopeJavier Perianes (piano), Cuarteto QuirogaHarmonia Mundi HMC 9022264

Annilese Miskimmon, above, was not the only applicant with an Irish connection who applied for the job

Norway’s top opera job is being taken up by Annilese Miskimmon. The post comes with its own dramatic history

Three organisations – Music in Wexford, Music in Kilkenny, and Lismore Music Festival – have lost €30,000 in grant funding from the Arts Council. Photograph: Thinkstock

Times have been hard, but the decision to cut funding to three musical organisations is unnecessarily damaging

Valentin Silvestrov: Piano SonatasSimon SmithDelphian DCD 341514

“The steering committee controlled the first New Music Dublin festival, and then handed the later festivals to Donnacha Dennehy and David Lang (above). It’s easy to see why it has lacked a coherent vision”

New Music Dublin has suffered numerous abuses in its short life and has been postponed for 2016. Can it be fixed?

NCH chairman Gerry Kearney, Minister of State Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys and NCH chief executive Simon Taylor with Martin Hayes (fiddle) and Dennis Cahill (guitar) at the launch of Imagining Home

Only one living Irish composer is part of the NCH’s seven-concert series for the 1916 centenary

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