Classical music: the best concerts this week

Finghin Collins goes solo at Wexford Festival Opera

Friday 27th

UO/Eivind Gullberg Jensen 
Ulster Hall, Belfast, 7.45pm, £10-£29 –
The Ulster Orchestra's concert under Norwegian conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen includes the Fifth Symphony of Denmark's greatest composer, Carl Nielsen. The symphony, which was first performed in 1922, is famous for the prominence given to a snare drum solo, which escalates into a confrontation with the rest of the orchestra. As the temperature rises, the drummer is given leave to improvise and play, in the composer's own words, "as if to arrest the progress of the orchestra". The Ulster Orchestra's programme also includes music from Grieg's Peer Gynt, and, with piano soloist Simon Trpceski Rachmaninov's Paganini Rhapsody.

Monday 30th

Finghin Collins (piano)
National Opera House, Wexford, 11am, €25, €30 –
Pianist Finghin Collins moves from one side of Wexford to the other, from the New Ross Piano Festival last month, to Wexford town. New Ross follows a pattern of mix and match, with pianists sharing out the repertoire between them at most of the concerts. Collins's Wexford Festival Opera appearance is a solo affair that moves from the early 20th century – sonatas by Berg and Janacek – back into the 19th century, for operatic reworkings of Wagner and Verdi, and a clutch of works by Chopin, climaxing with the Fourth Ballade.

Thursday, Nov 2nd

RTÉ ConTempo Quartet 
Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, 8pm, €16,; and on tour to Kilkenny, Limerick, Dublin and Cork
The Solstice Arts Centre in Navan marked its 10th birthday on Monday with a formal gala that mixed in a bit of everything from opera to musicals to Oisin Leech. The venue is also a stopping point for the RTÉ Contempo Quartet's ongoing Beethoven cycle, in which the second instalment of the Quartets in D, Op. 18 No. 3, and in C, Op. 59 No. 3, frame one of the great quartet successes of the late 20th century, Kevin Volans's African-inspired White Man Sleeps.