The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. What is new in this election is that the country’s orchestral life comes in for a mention in both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil manifestos. Photograph: RTÉ

Election promises to ‘secure the future of our orchestras’ may sound a hollow note

American violinist Stefan Jackiw is the soloist in Beethoven’s Violin Concerto at the National Concert Hall on Friday

Camerata Ireland and RTÉ NSO are celebrating Beethoven’s anniversary at the NCH

Pianist Cédric Tiberghien and violinist Alina Ibragimova. 

The performances came across with sophisticated poise

Mezzo-soprano Sharon Carty

Beethoven celebration gets under way while Sounding the Feminists series continues at NCH

‘The work of Irish composers has suffered from the same kind of do-goodery that has hampered the Irish language.’ File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

RTÉ NSO and National Concert Hall remain choked by the past in certain respects

Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova and French pianist Cédric Tiberghien

Violinist Alina Ibragimova and pianist Cédric Tiberghien on playing the Midwinter Festival

Italian conductor Francesco Cilluffo was recently appointed principal guest conductor of Wexford Festival Opera.

Francesco Cilluffo brings an all-Russian night to Dublin while Beethoven hits Galway

 Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks during a UN climate summit  in New York City, US, in September. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

A reduction in international visits could change the face of classical music in Ireland

Ina Boyle’s rising posthumous reputation is reflected in the inclusion of her Elegy by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra’s concert on January 4th

National Concert Hall brings musicians from across the generations for a new year bash

Irish soprano Máire Flavin will be performing at the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra’s New Year’s Day gala

Start the new year with the RTÉ orchestra or chamber music at the National Concert Hall

(From left) President Patrick Hillery with Lindsay Armstrong of the New Irish Chamber Orchestra,  as well as Garech Browne and his wife Purna, at the National Concert Hall, Dublin, in May 1982. Photograph: Peter Thursfield/The Irish Times

A new book charts the path of an Irish orchestra that would traverse three continents

Schubertreise XXII

Schubertreise XXII in Dublin and Comhar Vocal Ensemble in Kerry

Jaime Martín, the new chief conductor of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.

Jaime Martín brings artistic passion and educational spirit to his new role

The Ficino Quartet has put together one of the most intriguing programmes of the National Concert Hall’s Sunday afternoon string quartet concerts

Christmas concerts in various venues and the Ficino Quartet at the National Concert Hall

Kazuki Yamada gave a viscerally thrilling account of Richard Strauss’s Alpine Symphony in May. Photograph: Marco Borggreve.

Building projects prove more time consuming than artistic changes as self-preservation prevails

James Galway: His readiness to speak his mind extends to the banter he likes to engage in with his audiences

As he turns 80 on Sunday, the individuality of character of the superstar flautist is undimmed

Netherlands-based Cypriot composer Yannis Kyriakides describes the buffer zone as “an audio-visual work that explores boundaries of separation”.

You can see Killian Farrell, Yannis Kyriakides, the Irish Baroque Orchestra and the Sestina choir

John Kinsella: ‘As I get older my music seems to get faster or more obsessed with speed and continuity and surprises.’

Time fails to wither spirited composer John Kinsella, whose Eleventh Symphony premieres at the NCH

Peter Whelan’s rocketing bassoon playing in the Sonata sopra La Monica by Böddecker was the kind of thing once heard, never forgotten

Friends Gala Concert with Camerata Ireland; Anja Bihlmaier; Irish Baroque Orchestra

The programme, devised by the choir’s chief conductor Justin Doyle, weaves arrangements by Reger, Holst, Vaughan Williams, Quilter and Doyle himself through the evening as well.

Justin Doyle brings Brahm to the NCH and Ulster Hall hosts Tito Muñoz

Goderdzi Janelidze as Don Quichotte and Olafur Sigurdarson as Sancho in Don Quichotte by Massenet. Photograph: Clive Barda

It has become clear over the years that whatever it is they like, they call it traditional

Sean Shibe and Ben Johnson

Camerata Ireland, Ben Johnson and Sean Shibe, and Anja Bihlmaier and the RTÉ NSO

Christian Tetzlaff

Christian Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt used surprise softness to great effect at the NCH

 Tara Erraught

Irish mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught appears in La Cenerentola as Angelina

Members of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. Photograph: Mark Stedman

Continuity is important in orchestras, and RTÉ’s plans will have a dire effect

Sheldon Baxter, Manuel Amati, Máire Flavin and Emmanuel Franco in Rosetta Cucchi’s 2019 world premiere production of ‘La cucina’ by Andrew Synnott, at Wexford Opera Festival. Photograph: Clive Barda

Rosetta Cucchi, who brings an open-hearted warmth to her task, has chosen ‘Shakespeare’ for 2020

Kenneth Montgomery, the doyen of Irish conductors

Listen to The Seven Ages of Man by Paul Hilliard or Andrew Zolinsky’s Resound Series

JoAnn Falletta conducts the RTÉ NSO in a programme of Strauss and Respighi at the NCH on Friday November 1st

The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan in Wexford; American conductor JoAnn Falletta at NCH

Wexford Festival Opera: Rachel Kelly and her fellow cast in La cucina/Adina. Photograph: Cliva Barda/ArenaPal

Wexford Festival Opera: Andrew Synnott’s skilful music faces a riot of onstage activity

Wexford Festival Opera: Dorilla in Tempe. Photograph: Clive Barda/ArenaPal

Wexford Festival Opera: An oversized orchestra too often compromises solo voices

Wexford Festival Opera: Aigul Akhmetshina and Goderdzi Janelidze  in Don Quichotte. Photograph: Clive Barda/ArenaPal

Wexford Festival Opera: Aigul Akhmetshinato is a sultry Dulcinée in Rodula Gaitanou’s new production

English mezzo-soprano Katie Bray plays the title role in Griselda

London Mozart Players concert mixes works from the 18th and early 20th centuries

Synnott’s elevation to the main stage at Wexford is only the latest in a long line of operatic successes from Irish composers.

Synnot will be first living Irish composer to have work featured on main stage of Wexford Festival Opera

Katie Bray is Griselda

RTÉ NSO chief conductor Jaime Martín opens his reign in style; Katie Bray is Griselda

Rosetta Cucchi has been announced as the new Artistic Director of the Wexford Festival Opera. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Rosetta Cucchi thought she was in the wrong place when she first arrived at Theatre Royal

Pianist Barry Douglas’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons in New Ross, Co Wexford, flew by.

Barry Douglas’s rendition of the Seasons in Wexford delivers a rare sense of scale

Ivan Ilic at the Hugh Lane Gallery’s free Sundays at noon series

Bangers and Crash Percussion Group starts tour, teenage wunderkind Daniel Lozakovich

Tuned in: Listeners in  the Electrophone Salon in Gerrard Street, London, circa 1903. Photograph: The Print Collector/Getty Images

Long before Spotify, music buffs signed up to hear live concerts by telephone

Daniele Rustioni has performed at some the world’s greatest theatres

Soprano Amy Ní Fhearraigh

An opera on Ireland’s direct provision system and New Ross Piano Festival

Composer, violinist and conductor Brett Dean, who conducted the Irish Chamber Orchestra in  the   Irish premiere of Maltese conductor Michelle Castelletti’s downsizing of Mahler’s 10th Symphony

Arranging big works for smaller ensembles has always helped make them more accessible

The Ophelia Quartet play the National Concert Hall on September 15th.

A Culture Night programme at the National Concert Hall is among the highlights

Chinese pianist Yuja Wang made her Dublin debut last week in Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto, playing it with what you might call super-high resolution

A painstaking approach could be the key to the composer’s complex and technical work

Vagabones: the oppressive weight of power is what the opera most successfully conveys

Raymond Deane’s Vagabones dramatises one of the few witch trials to have ever taken place in Ireland

Australian composer and viola player Brett Dean will make his performing debut with the Irish Chamber Orchestra in Monkstown. Photograph: Keith Wiseman

Fiachra Garvey with the RTÉ NSO, plus the Westport Chamber Music Festival

Conor Biggs (standing) and Michel Stas’s  huge Schubert song survey, Schubertreise will open the 54-concert series

Collaboration part of long tradition of composers coming together with mixed results

Beijing-born, 32-year-old super-pianist Yuja Wang will perform at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.

Yuga Wang makes her Irish debut, and Vagabones gets its first Irish airing

President Michael D Higgins and  Roger Doyle at a ceremony honouring the composer as a Saoi in Aosdána, in recognition of  outstanding achievement in the arts. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Previous saoithe have included Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney and Brian Friel, and Doyle believes that Ireland’s composers are up t(...)

Soprano Anna Devin

A visit to Dublin by Belgian organist Peter Van de Velde is among the highlights

The Hunger: Iarla Ó Lionáird and Katherine Manley in Donnacha Dennehy’s opera. Photograph: Jack Vartoogian

The composer Donnacha Dennehy struggles to convey the horrors of the Great Famine

Contralto and conductor Nathalie Stutzmann: her Bach singing was finely focused and powerfully suggestive.

Phoenix 55, Malcolm Proud, Crash Ensemble, Quiet Music Ensemble and others also play

Malcolm Proud will give an organ recital at St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, on Saturday, August 17th.

Get Bach in Kilkenny and The Hunger in Dublin

Violinist Patrick Rafter: Far-sighted musical vision. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times.

Olga Barry’s first programme was scaled down in ambition, but delivered some big moments

John Godfrey: “So, really, the primary, core thinking behind quiet music is that this is a music you choose to engage with, and if you don’t want to it’s not going to shout at you.”

‘The primary core thinking behind quiet music is that this is a music you choose to engage with’

Nathalie Stutzmann will perform in an all-Bach evening at St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny.

Rachmaninov and Stravinsky among the highlights at Kilkenny Arts Festival

Portrait of the singer and composer Michelle Pauline Viardot-García, (1821-1910). Found in the collection of the State Central Literary Museum, Moscow. Photograph  Fine Art Images/Getty

Famed composer and singer will become the first woman to have an opera presented by Wexford Festival Opera

Soprano Majella Cullagh sings two arias for RTÉ Concert Orchestra’s latest lunchtime   concert on Tuesday

Soprano Majella Cullagh comes to Dublin for the RTÉ Concert Orchestra’s latest concert

‘Olive Smith: A musical visionary’

New book traces life story of ‘visionary’ and efforts to secure concert hall for Dublin

Baritone Gyula Nagy

Didzis Kalnins and Gyula Nagy, Judit Máté

Irish composer Jennifer Walshe has been elected to Germany’s Akademie der Künste. Photograph:  AT Schaefe

If sector was funded to level of European norm there would be no need for allowances

Gavan Ring

The Irish Composers’ Collective and the RTÉ NSO at the National Concert Hall

Schemes to promote women in music help, but just serve to distract from how poorly they  are otherwise represented

The art of misdirection is acceptable in music, until it’s about distraction

Venezuelan conductor Christian Vásquez is at the NCH, Dublin, on July 17th.

The tragic tale of JFK’s sister and National Youth Orchestra moves from east to west

Irish violinist Mairéad Hickey.

One shining beacon in Galway’s programme is a cello festival and the West Cork Chamber Music Festival’s offering of less-frequentl(...)

Anna Devin.

Soprano Anna Devin performs at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival

Chiaroscuro Quartet provided a remarkable listening experience.

A singular listening experience prevailed at this unique public recital

Joseph P. Kennedy and his wife Rosemary Kennedy pose with their nine children for this picture in 1938 at Bronxville. From left are, seated: Eunice, Jean, Edward (on lap of his father), Patricia, and Kathleen. Standing: Rosemary, Robert, John, Mrs Kennedy, and Joseph, Jr. Photograph: Boston Globe/AP Photo

Composer Brian Irvine’s new opera focuses on JFK’s intellectually disabled sister

Irish soprano Anna Devin

Musical idols, dreams and nightmares of West Cork Chamber Music Festival performers


Stations of the Sun in several Dundalk venues and runs to five concerts and interviews

Kaija Saariaho

International performers coming to Louth’s Stations of the Sun festival are put on the spot

Principal guest conductor Nathalie Stutzmann with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. Photograph: Maxwell

Dearth of Irish and female composers in new season offerings at National Concert Hall

Colin Currie: ‘You’re either on the note or you’re off.’

When it comes to performing Steve Reich, the percussionist says, preparation is key

Dutch violinist Simone Lamsma received beautifully-judged support from the National Symphony Orchestra.

National Symphony Orchestra and Kazuki Yamada perform almost flawlessly

Giovanni Bellucci: giving Verdi, Wagner and Bellini the Liszt treatment  at Dromore Yard in Aglish

The fearless Italian pianist goes operatic at this year’s Blackwater Valley Opera Festival

Boston Symphony Chamber Players at the National Concert Hall

Getting bigger groups to work in harmony without a conductor can be tricky

Kazuki Yamada. Photograph: Marco Borggreve

The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival returns with two operas this year

Chiaroscuro quartet plays at The West Cork Chamber Music Festival in Bantry

Master classes, talks, public interviews and recitals in Cork, Kilkenny and Galway

French soloist Victor Julien-Laferrière plays with the RTÉ NSO on Friday, May 24th

From Boston Symphony Chamber Players in Dublin to the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast

Gavan Ring sayshis sporting upbringing helped him to prepare in his career as a singer.

‘It’s a matter of getting your passaggio right and placing the voice in the correct way’

Marc-André Hamelin: Comfortable in the danger zone

At his first solo concert in Dublin, the Canadian pianist showed his fearless fluidity

The Magic Flute is at the National Opera House in Wexford on Friday

Irish National Opera’s The Magic Flute. Plus: Verdi’s Requiem and Camerata Ireland

The National Opera House in Wexford. Money was a major factor in the building taking on the ‘national’ moniker in 2014.

Event made significant loss in 2018 despite consistent support from Arts Council

Soprano Anne Devin performs strongly on the latest CD from the Irish Baroque Orchestra.

Classical music has not been documented the way it is in other European countries

Sharon Carty has the ability to cross from mainstream opera to period performance.

The Sligo International Chamber Music Festival with guests from across the globe

Nicole Lizée: clearly a woman with a fascination for film

Let’s see how new works and living, Irish and female composers fare in upcoming programmes

Tara Erraught, Ireland’s most successful mezzo-soprano.

Tara Erraught collaborates with pianist John O’Connor, while Sharon Carty will be accompanied by Siobhán Armstrong

Los Angeles composer Steven Takasugi:  his Sideshow is, on reflection, theatrical as well as musical

The huge orchestra required for Die tote Stadt made the NCH right for the Irish premiere

Chinese pianist Zee Zee aka Zhang Zuo. Photograph: Marco Borggreve

The Chinese pianist makes her Irish debut with the RTÉCO under Jonathan Bloxham

Soprano Anna Devin in commanding form as titular character in Handel’s Esther

Soprano Anna Devin and tenor Jorge Navarro Colorado in commanding form during Handel’s Esther

Soprano Anna Devin will be one of the soloists to feature at the Irish Chamber Orchestra and Jörg Widmann’s performance of Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise Symphony

Mendelssohn’s longest symphony and a project to remember the late John Lynch

Maxim Vengerov: Nothing bland in his unassuming, highly articulate playing. Photograph: Benjamin Ealovega

Three ‘non-phoney’ concerts in Dublin would have had critic Hans Keller eating his words

Pinchas Zukerman, who made his New York debut as a violinist at the age of 15 in 1963

Handel’s Esther is a real rarity in Ireland and hasn’t been performed here in more than 100 years

Swan Hennessy, whose father was from Cork

The Irish-American composer was a peer of Charles Ives and George Gerswhin

Patrick Rafter: “I thought, if I want to do what Nigel Kennedy does, I need to pull myself together.” Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times

The gifted Kilkenny violinist plays from the heart, but keeps a strong head on his shoulders

Celine Byrne makes her Irish National Opera debut in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre

András Schiff brings enlightenment to NCH; Maxim Vengerov multitasks with RTÉ NSO

 The title page of the printed programme for the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra’s concert at the National Concert Hall on Friday has a banner headline “Towards 2022”. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

NSO sub-season duplicates previous efforts and focuses too much on British connections

Joe O’Grady will play at  the Emily Anderson Memorial Concerts

Plus Nathalie Stutzmann’s French tribute and Rafael Payare’s final season

Jennifer Walshe: one of the first women to be commissioned under an NCH and Sounding the Feminists scheme

Recent concerts have provided persuasive proof-of-concept demonstrations

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