The three best classical concerts in Ireland this week

Paul McNamara, Beckett Chamber Music Series and NCH Female Conductor Finale

National Concert Hall Female Conductor  Finale: 12 young conductors gather on Wednesday. Photograph: Mark Stedman

National Concert Hall Female Conductor Finale: 12 young conductors gather on Wednesday. Photograph: Mark Stedman


Sunday, June 24th

Paul McNamara
Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin; noon; free;
The Limerick tenor Paul McNamara, who is based in Germany, where he has a reputation as a Heldentenor, is a thoughtful recitalist. His latest programme with his regular partner, Phillip Mayers, the Australian pianist, focuses on “composing conductors”. The lineup includes two Irishmen, Charles Villiers Stanford and Hamilton Harty, along with Engelbert Humperdinck, Felix Mottl, Richard Strauss, Arturo Toscanini and Paul Hindemith.  

Beckett Chamber Music Series
Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin; 7pm; €15/€12;; also Wednesday, June 27th and Saturday, June 30th
The Beckett Chamber Music Series, from artistic director Sarah Sew, is intended as an exploration of “the connection between words and music — thematically, expressively, temporally and spatially”. The opening programme, featuring works by Frank Martin and John F Larchet and a new piece by Sebastian Adams, is titled Instrumentalising Folk Song. Wednesday’s concentration on Schoenberg and Poetry includes two early masterworks, Verklärte Nacht and Pierrot Lunaire (with singer Michelle O’Rourke); Barry McGovern reads the relevant poems before the performances. And, on Saturday, Words and Music couples the Samuel Beckett/Morton Feldman collaboration Words and Music, conducted by Finnegan Downie Dear, with other works by Feldman (Vertical Thoughts 2, Projection 1 and Four Instruments) and Edgard Varèse’s Density 21.5

Wednesday, June 27th

NCH Female Conductor Programme Finale
NCH, Dublin; 8pm; €10/€5;
The National Concert Hall’s first Female Conductor Programme comes to a close with a concert in which some of the participants will be heard in Beethoven’s First Symphony with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. Over the last 10 months the programme has nurtured 12 aspiring conductors — Grace Bergin, Lynsey Callaghan, Hilda Chan, Catriona Clarke, Santa Ignace, Molly Rose Lucey Burke, Meabh Martin, Síobhra Quinlan, Emma-Jane Stoker Phelan, Naoise Whearity, Raimonda Zalisauskaite and Raeghynya Zutshi. They have had the opportunity to observe, meet or work with a mix of local conductors and conductors visiting the NCH — Alice Farnham (the programme leader), Mirga Grazinyte Tyla, Simon Rattle, Nathalie Stutzmann, Michael Collins, Eimear Noone, David Brophy, Fergus Sheil and Sian Edwards, who is in charge of the final concert. The programme’s sponsor, Grant Thornton, have also provided workshops on business, communication and leadership skills.