Birr Festival of Music returns to full capacity this May Bank Holiday weekend
After two years of hybrid and online events, Birr Festival of Music 2022 returns to full capacity and its usual May Bank Holiday Weekend dates this year from Friday April 29 - Monday May 2.
The packed festival programme includes some outstanding events starting with the wonderful Irish Chamber Orchestra (ICO) on Friday evening at St Brendan’s Roman Catholic Church on Wilmer Road.
The ICO is Ireland’s most dynamic ensemble, consisting of over 30 world-class musicians, combining high-quality performances with expansive and artistic vision.
Their programme will include Mozart’s Symphony No 36 as well as Widmann’s Oboe Concerto and Flute Suite, under the direction of Jörg Widmann in his final performance with the ICO.
Irish and international violinist Patrick Rafter will also give a recital at Birr Castle. Regarded as one of Ireland’s most outstanding musicians, Patrick tours the world, playing with the greatest orchestras and conductors of our time. This is a truly unique opportunity for patrons and sponsors of the Festival to experience the virtuoso playing of this exciting young violinist in the sumptuous and historic Music Salon.
This event is exclusive to festival patrons and sponsors as a thank you for their continuing support.
Exciting this year also is a newly-commissioned work for Birr Young Voices - Soundscapes of Nature - inspired by the natural world, created and animated by award-winning Birr artists, animator Finn Nichol and composer Laura Sheils and involving 40 local children and young musicians.
International baritone Bruno Caproni and celebrated pianist Julian Evans also return to Birr for an enchanting Coffee Concert at Birr Theatre & Arts Centre while local soprano Breffni Fitzpatrick will also give a recital with guests David Corr (baritone), Katie Richardson McCrea (mezzo-soprano) and accompanist Dearbhla Collins at St Brendan’s Church of Ireland on Oxmantown Mall.
The Trench Award Gala Concert, one of the main events on the festival schedule, will showcase young singers and musicians of the future. Six singers/musicians from the Midlands region will each perform a 15-minute programme of their choice.
All are pursuing professional careers in performance and were selected by an international panel of music experts. Recipients of The Trench Award, Birr Lions Club Bursary, Canto Al Serchio Prize (for voice), Audrey Chisholm Award (for instrument), will be announced.
An Audience Choice and Musical Futures Bursary will also be awarded.
There will also be a host of street buskers in various venues around the town and masterclasses in Birr Theatre & Arts Centre.
Director of Birr Festival of Music is Maureen de Forge:
“We are delighted to return to a full-capacity live programme this year and to welcome incredible international and Irish musicians to Birr again with a variety of outstanding events.
“Once again, six young emerging Irish artists will spend the weekend here and enjoy performances, masterclasses and an opportunity to receive valuable bursaries to support their professional training.
“A very special welcome to Birr Young Voices who return to the Festival this year with their major project, ‘Soundscapes of Nature’. We are immensely grateful to all our funders, sponsors, patrons and audiences who make it all possible.
“We look forward to meeting you for a wonderful weekend of music!”
Tickets are on sale now at www.birrfestivalofmusic.com
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