USTVOLSKAYA, SILVESTROV, KANCHELI: WORKS FOR PIANO AND ORCHESTRaElisaveta Blumina (piano), Stuttgart CO/Thomas Sanderling ****Gran(...)

Nikolay Khozyainov: his playing was free of grandstanding, though the glitter of the rapid-fire finale was as bright as you could have wished.

Dublin International Piano Competition winner 2012 Nikolay Khozyainov on form

Gerald Barry:  his  piece Humiliated and Insulted is inspired by a Dostoyevsky novel. Photograph: Alan Betson

Of all new music, large-scale works with words travel least freely internationally

Yuri Temirkanov with the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic at the NCH: “The playing is as pliable as you could wish for”

RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra’s studied take on Mendelssohn and Brahms

Conductor Cristian Macelaru: a performance full of hustle, bustle and excitement

Cristian Macelaru’s in-your-face style frees up the RTÉ NSO, perhaps too much so

SAINT-SAËNS: CELLO CONCERTO NO 1; SONATAS NOS 2 & 3Emmanuelle Bertrand (cello), Luzerner Sinfonieorchester/James Gaffigan, Pascal (...)

Wolfgang Rihm: shares a characteristic with Mozart

The German composer is a master of quite contradictory styles and his output runs to more than 400 works

SEA TO THE WESTElizabeth Hilliard (soprano) ****Métier MSV 28551

French conductor Nathalie Stutzmann, newly announced principal guest conductor of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, rehearses with the orchestra at the National Concert Hall. Photograph: Maxwell Photography

The NSO’s new principal guest conductor hit it off again with orchestra and audience

Benjamin Hulett: soloist sounded at all times as if he owned the music.

RTÉ Philharmonic Choir under Mark Hindley deliver a standout performance

Isabelle O’Connell: a hasty late edition to Composing the Island

When it comes to ‘gender mainstreaming’, we can learn something from Vienna city hall

The RTÉ Concert Orchestra on the opening night of the Composing the Island at the National Concert Hall. RTÉ and the National Concert Hall, sponsored by Bord na Mona, celebrated 100 years of music written from 1916-2016, as part of the Ireland 2016 centenary programme. Photograph: Mark Stedman

Culture review 2016: The funding of the Taoiseach’s promised Creative Ireland venture remains to be seen

 John Beckett (left): He had his vision and his only need was to bend everyone he was working with to his will.

Plus: a biography of Samuel Beckett’s musical cousin John Beckett

Enda Kenny, Heather Humphreys and Paschal Donohoe at the Creative Ireland launch. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

If these ambitions are realised, arts will receive their greatest leap in funding since the foundation of the State

Georgy  Isaakyan  shifted the setting of Puccini’s La bohème to Paris in the late 1940s

Russian Puccini, refined Haydn and raw saxophone

ENCORES AFTER BEETHOVENAndrás Schiff (piano) ****ECM New Series 481 4474

RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra: “Post-recession attrition has been used to reduce the playing strength of the orchestra to a level of 82”

Recent changes in the national broadcaster have serious implications for music groups

John O’Kane when he was art programme director at the Arts Council, circa 2002

Executive Director of RTÉ’s Orchestras, Quartet and Choirs moves to new role

The Vanbrugh Quartet: they will receive the National Concert Hall Lifetime Achievement Award at a gala concert on Sunday

The Vanbrugh Quartet discuss the highs and lows and the state of classical music in Ireland after 30 years of music making

President Michael D Higgins, Minister for the Arts Heather Humphreys and Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Arts community will need to shout these words if they want to make a difference

A I RFrode Haltli (accordion), Trondheim Soloists, Arditti Quartet ****ECM New Series 481 2802

John O’Conor and Veronica McSwiney at the NCH

Unusual musical combinations and an extreme reaction

When will opera be blessed with a coherent strategy? At the opera house in Wexford. Photograph: David Sleator / The Irish Times

The upside-down provision of opera in Ireland neglects works people want to hear most

Gaetano Donizetti’s complicated and gory – and long-overlooked – work gets a fascinating outing

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 (...)

RAMEAU: HIPPOLYTE ET ARICIE SUITE; BERLIOZ: SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUESwedish Radio SO/Daniel Harding ****Harmonia Mundi HMC 902244

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

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