Ediburgh Festival Fringe: last year, Ballad of the Burning Star, written and performed by an Israeli artist, explicitly engaged with the politics of Israel and Palestine

It sounded like a typical fringe show. A detective story in the film noir style, performed entirely in rap and advertised as a “hip-hop opera”, it had(...)

(From left): Rev Patrick Comerford, president Irish CND; Clare Daly TD; Patricia McKenna, former MEP; Robert Ballagh, artist; John Molyneux, historian; and Jim Roche, IAWM at a press conference held by the Irish Anti-War Movement to issue a statement on the First World War commemorations in Dublin today. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Artist and anti-war proponent Robert Ballagh has said conflict commemorations like those now underway to mark the centenary of the first World War sho(...)

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

The composer Raymond Deane has never been a man for half measures. As a student, he was the angry young man par excellence among Irish composers. H(...)

In ‘The Invader’, the musical style might best be described as eclectic minimalist. Echoes of Philip Glass abound, but the musical material is much more varied

Ten years ago I interviewed Pierre Boulez in connection with the 2004 RTÉ Living Music Festival. I had to ask him about opera, given his famous 196(...)

Lang Lang:  there may be nothing better for a man with such startling facility and strong ideas than music so new that its performing traditions have yet to be established

When I went to hear Lang Lang in Birmingham earlier this month, the person seated next to me was a Chinese girl, who struck up a conversation a(...)

A Stradivarius violin. Photograph: Leemage/UIG via Getty Images

Most of us close our eyes from time to time in order to concentrate on a thought. Our minds are distractible. Quite how distractible is (...)

‘Engaging and sometimes crusty’: Harrison Birtwistle, who gave a public interview at the New Music Dublin festival. Photograph: Getty

In the world of classical music, contemporary music has a bad name. The undesirable reputation attaches itself to new music, too, just as it did in(...)

Following the break-up of his affair with Alma Mahler (above), the obsessive Kokoschka is despondent until he commissions a life-sized, anatomically accurate replica of his former lover

Just now, milestones in Irish opera are arriving in bunches like those proverbial buses. The Irish premiere of Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being (...)

Coal and black chalk portrait by Oskar Kokoschka of himself and his lover Alma Mahler. Photograph: Imagno/Getty Images

‘It appealed to something vaguely perverse in me, the idea of the living doll, like Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann.” Composer Raymond Deane is expla(...)

Séamus Crimmins: “I think I have done all I can to consolidate the standing of the ensembles and, in particular, to lift artistic standards while facing down unprecedented financial challenges”

Most music lovers in Ireland take it for granted, as if it’s the natural order of things. RTÉ is the dominant force in the country’s orchestral life, (...)