Women composers find a voice: The week’s best classical music

Finding a Voice festival’s all-female finale; Vanbrugh & Michael McHale; Philippe Cassard

Finding a Voice
Various venues, Clonmel, Co Tipperary Saturday March 10th 1pm. 3pm & 8pm southtippartscentre.ie 

It's the last day of Finding a Voice, the three-day festival celebrating women composers curated for South Tipperary Arts Centre by Róisín Maher. The lunchtime (1pm) concert with soprano Marie Lemaire and pianist Jenny Martins concentrates on songs from the 19th and early 20th century by Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn, Amy Beach, Poldowski (real name Régine Wieniawski, daughter of the composer Henryk Wieniawski), and Liza Lehmann.  In the evening, at 8pm, cellist Kate Ellis and pianist Isabelle O'Connell concentrate on living composers, with works by Linda Buckley, Marian Ingoldsby, Anna Murray, Karen Power, Joan Tower and Julia Wolfe. Both concerts are at Old St Mary's Church. In between, at 3pm in the Tipperary County Museum, there's a free panel discussion on Arts and the Woman.

Michael McHale, The Vanbrugh
NCH Kevin Barry Recital Room, Dublin Sunday March 11th 3pm €15 nch.ie

The Vanbrugh String Quartet is no more since the group's leader Gregory Ellis retired. But the Vanbrugh name is being carried on by the three remaining members, violinist Keith Pascoe, viola player Simon Aspell and cellist Christopher Marwood. They've chosen not to work as a trio but instead as the core of a flexible group, and are currently performing as a piano quartet in partnership with Michael McHale. Their latest Dublin programme couples Schumann's celebrated Piano Quartet in E flat with Dvorák's early exploration of the medium, his Piano Quartet in D, Op 23.


Philippe Cassard
NCH, Dublin Thursday March 15th 8pm €27.50-€55 nch.ie

In 1988 a 26-year-old Frenchman, Philippe Cassard, became the first prizewinner at the Dublin International Piano Competition. Musical Ireland embraced him with enthusiasm and he's been a regular visitor here ever since. He's back again to mark both the 30th anniversary of the competition and the centenary of the death of Debussy. Cassard has made a feature of performing the complete piano works of Debussy in four recitals over a single day. This time his programme is titled "Debussy, inspirations and influences". It explores musical connections between Debussy and Rameau, Grieg, Liszt, Chopin and Stravinsky and also includes the first performance of Baptiste Trotignon's Tombeau de Claude Debussy.

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan is a music critic and Irish Times contributor