The best classical music to see this week

Rachmaninov and Stravinsky among the highlights at Kilkenny Arts Festival

Kilkenny Arts Festival

kilkennyarts.ie Kilkenny Arts Festival gets into full swing, though the major evening concert of the opening weekend has had to be changed. Ukrainian-born Australian pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk has had to cancel and the Saturday evening (7.30pm) recital at St Canice's Cathedral will now be given by Barry Douglas.

Douglas retains just one work from Gavrylyuk’s programme, Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition. The first half will now consist of Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata and Rachmaninov’s Moments musicaux.

The week's other highlights include a Sunday afternoon (3.30pm) violin and piano recital by Patrick Rafter and Michael McHale at St John's Priory (Debussy, Ysaÿe, Franck), Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale with actor Ciarán Hinds, dancer Emily Ayers, and the Fews Ensemble directed by violinist Joanne Quigley McParland at the Watergate Theatre (7.30pm) on Tuesday and Wednesday, and an all-Bach evening at St Canice's from Nathalie Stutzmann's period-instruments ensemble Phoenix 55, with bass Leon Kosavic.

Stutzmann, who’s principal guest conductor of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, is also one of today’s leading contraltos, and will make her Irish debut as a singer in this concert.