Zhu Xiao-Mei survived the rigours of China’s Cultural Revolution. She makes no secret of how severely scarred she was by it. Photograph: Martin Jehnichen/Accentus Music

Kilkenny likes Bach. At the close of this year’s Kilkenny Arts Festival, where the musical focus gave the music of Bach the largest, most concentra(...)

Portrait and landscape artist Mick O’Dea (centre) joined by some of the people he will paint for an evolving Kilkenny Arts Festival series, including (from left) actor Aisling O’Sullivan, Druid director Garry Hynes, actor  Derbhle Crotty  and Kilkenny Arts Festival director Eugene Downes. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The Kilkenny Arts Festival renews its classical focus in a new programme revealed today by festival director Eugene Downes. Dominated by the world’s l(...)

Since the 1980s, András Schiff moved from scepticism to active espousal regarding the use of 18th- and 19th-century pianos. He now seems to be (...)

‘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

On the surface there’s not that much to get excited about. Niall Doyle, who formerly held top posts with Music Network, RTÉ’s music division and Op(...)

A set of two performances of the Diabelli Variations by the one performer? Edmund Battersby on Naxos used a copy of an 1825 fortepiano and modern Stei(...)

English clarinettist Michael Collins (above) was first brought to Ireland by John Ruddock. Collins says Ruddock was ‘a real enthusiast, he loved certain composers, others were a no-no for him . . . Thank goodness for the passion. And behind the scenes we had some fantastic times.’

It was the late John Ruddock who first brought English clarinettist Michael Collins to Irish audiences. On March 1st, 1982, he presented him at Villie(...)