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Sylvia O'Brien, Christoper Marwood, Michael McHale

soprano, cello, piano. November 2015

Saturday 14th November 8.00pm The Solstice Arts Centre Navan 
Tickets €16 (€14 concession) Tel: 046 909 2300

Sunday 15th November 12 noon   Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane. Sundays@Noon
Admission free

Monday 16th November 8.00pm 
The Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar
Tickets €16 (€14 concession) Tel. 094 902 3733

Tuesday 17th November 8.00pm Castleconnell Autumn Concert Series
All Saints Church,
Castleconnell, Co.Limerick
Tickets €15 (€10 concession at door)
061 774 774.

Wednesday 18th November 8.00pm Siamsa Tíre, Tralee
Tickets €16 (€13 concession) 066 712 3055

Friday 20th November 8.00pm Con-Brio Sligo
The Model, Sligo
Tickets €20 incl. Meet the Artists Reception  Tel: 071 916 1518

'A Romantic Voice'

Schubert:  Impromptu in E flat Op.90
Previn:  Four songs
Scultorpe:  Trenody”
Massenet: Elegie
Berlioz:   La Captive
Hammond:  The Beardless Boy    
trad:      Cáilín ó cois tSuire mé
Faure:  Cello Sonata No.1 in D minor Op.109
Falla:  Siete Canciones



Irish soprano Sylvia O’Brien made her operatic debut as the Governess The Turn of the Screw with Opera Theatre Company in 2004. The same year she took part in the Buxton Festival with English Touring Opera in The Turn of the Screw as well as performing with Opera Ireland as Barena in Janacek’s Jenufa. In 2005 she sang Gabriel in the premiére of Gerald Barry’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant with The National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland (conductor Gerhard Markson) and in 2006 Morton Feldman’s Neither (conductor Stefan Ashbury). She has also sung Konstanze Die Entführung and Grafin Der Wiener Bluthe (English Touring Opera), Countess Le Nozze di Figaro (Opera Theatre Company), Zerlina (Opera2005), Despina under Kenneth Montgomery in Dublin and Mabel Pirates of Penzance (National Concert Hall/Rathmines & Rathgar Musical Society). She has recorded the title role for Wexford Opera Festival’s production of Martinu’s Mirandolina.

Her vocal and musical skills make her an important singer of contemporary repertoire, having performed works by Raymond Deane, Seóirse Bodley, Ian Wilson, James Wilson, Halfidi Halgrimsson and Kevin O’Connell. She was a resident performer at the Malkovich International Composers Competition 2003 and has performed with all the leading contemporary ensembles in Ireland.  In September 2008 she premiered a new work by Joseph Phibbs for soprano and string quartet, commissioned by Burnham Market Concerts.  Sylvia performed with the Crash Ensemble in New Music Dublin in 2013.

As a recitalist, she has sung in The Anna Livia Opera Festival, The Office of Public Works Series, the Bank of Ireland Arts Recital Series, and at the National Gallery in conjunction with the French Impressionist Exhibition. She performed as part of the Young Artists Recital Series at the Royal Dublin Society and has given recitals for West Cork Music Festival (Bantry House), the Vogler Festival in Sligo and Greystones Arts Festivals as well as in the National Concert Hall, Dublin. She toured Ireland singing Seven Romances on Verses by A. Blok in an all Shostakovich programme with the Syrius Trio followed by a performance in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York. She has also given recitals of French, lieder and Russian repertoir with pianist Hanna Shybayeva and Spanish songs with guitarist Benjamin Dwyer.  A regular soloist with the RTE Concert Orchestra for Gilbert and Sullivan concerts, she was also the Rathmines & Rathgar Musical Society’s leading lady in their successful production of The Pirates of Penzance at the National Concert Hall and took part in their centenary celebration. She thrilled audiences in the Theatre Nights Series with “An Evening of Ivor Novello” and the wonderful “Mario Lanza” night also at the NCH.

Concerts include Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle conducted by Celso Antunes, Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate with the Orchestra of St.Cecilia, conducted by David Agler, a concert of the Music from the Strauss Family and Lehár with the National Symphony Orchestra in the National Concert Hall, Mozart’s Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gobots with the NDR in Germany, and Mozart’s C minor Mass and Requiem in the Mozart Festival with the Orchestra of St.Cecilia, conducted by Kenneth Montgomery. 

Recent highlights include Shostakovich’s Symphony No 14 with the Magogo Chamber Orchestra in Tilburg, The Netherlands, St John Passion on tour with the Irish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Stephen Layton, Morton Feldman’s Neither with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Dmitry Slobodenyuk, Nono’s Il Canto Sospeso with the Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro Sinfonico di Milano Giuseppe Verdi conducted by Francesco Maria Colombo, and Herbert Howell’s Hymnus Paradisi with the Guinness Choir and the Ulster Orchestra conducted by David Milne.

Christopher Marwood graduated from Cambridge University in 1983 and went on to study at London’s Royal Academy of Music and Conservatorium Maastricht. Cello teachers included Florence Hooton, David Strange, Ralph Kirshbaum, William Pleeth and Radu Aldulescu. His chamber music mentor for several years was Emmanuel Hurwitz.

In 1985 Christopher joined the Vanbrugh Quartet and the following year the Vanbrugh won the position of Resident Quartet to RTÉ, based in Cork. Two years later the quartet won the London International String Quartet Competition and an international career quickly followed, taking in more than two thousand concerts throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Over the past twenty-eight years the quartet has collaborated with many of the world’s great artists and has enjoyed invitations to leading festivals and concert venues. The Vanbrugh Quartet has released thirty CDs encompassing a wide range of repertoire, from the complete Beethoven quartets (“fine enough to bear comparison with any set” Fanfare, USA) to many recordings of contemporary Irish quartets, most recently a 2013 release of Deirdre Gribbin’s works for string quartet. They have built up a considerable repertoire including at least sixty Irish works, many of them commissions or premieres.

In 2012 Christopher joined ACE, the Royal Irish Academy of Music’s touring chamber ensemble, with whom he plays regularly both in Ireland and abroad.  Recent collaborations include performances with pianists John O’Conor, Hugh Tinney, Alexander Berstein and Dearbhla Brosnan, violinists Catherine Leonard, Fionnuala Hunt and Michael d’Arcy, and clarinettist John Finucane.  As soloist he has performed the major concerti and given recitals around the UK and Ireland.

Christopher founded the West Cork Chamber Music Festival with Francis Humphrys in 1996 and remains director of the chamber music masterclass programme, an important support for many of Ireland’s young artists over the past fifteen years. He teaches cello and chamber music at Cork School of Music, DIT Conservatory and at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Belfast-born Michael McHale has established himself as one of the leading Irish pianists of his generation.   Since completing his studies at Cambridge University and the Royal Academy of Music he has developed a busy international career as a solo recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician. Michael has performed at many important musical centres including Suntory Hall, Tokyo; Lincoln Center, New York; Symphony Hall, Boston; Konzerthaus, Berlin; Pesti Vigadó, Budapest; the Ushuaia and Tanglewood Festivals, and for TV and radio broadcasts throughout Europe, Asia, North and South America.

His début solo album ‘The Irish Piano’ was released in 2012 on the RTÉ lyric fm label and has already been featured on national radio in France, Austria, Canada, Australia, the USA, Italy, Estonia and the UK. The disc was selected as ‘CD of the Week’ by critic Norman Lebrecht, who described it as “a scintillating recital…fascinating from start to stop”, whilst Gramophone praised “the singing sensibility of McHale's sensitive and polished pianism”.

Michael has performed frequently as concerto soloist with the Hallé, Bournemouth Symphony and Moscow Symphony orchestras, the Teatro Colon Orchestra, Discovery Ensemble in Boston, the London Mozart Players and all five of the major Irish orchestras in repertoire ranging from Mozart and Beethoven to Gershwin and Rachmaninov.  A recent début with the Irish Chamber Orchestra saw Michael deputise for the indisposed Leon Fleisher in a performance of Prokofiev’s Left Hand Concerto with Gérard Korsten, which was broadcast worldwide on a live online video stream. Engagements in 2013/14 include performances with the Minnesota Orchestra (Mozart K.488 with Courtney Lewis), Ulster Orchestra (Liszt Concerto No.2 with Alan Buribayev), Irish Chamber Orchestra (a new concerto by Garrett Sholdice with Gábor Takács-Nagy) and the RTÉ National Symphony (Gershwin Concerto with Jayce Ogren).

His début solo recitals in the Wigmore Hall, London, the National Concert Hall, Dublin, and the Phillips Collection, Washington DC received great public and critical acclaim, with the Washington Post praising his “…bravura playing in the music of Franz Liszt…” and his “…beautifully proportioned and energetic account of Mozart’s Sonata in C minor, K.457…”

Upcoming engagements include return visits to the Discovery Ensemble (Mozart K.467), Ulster Orchestra (Mendelssohn Concerto for Violin and Piano, and Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue), RTÉ NSO (Prokofiev Concerto No.1, and a premičre of a new concerto by Philip Hammond), a début solo recital at the Chopiniana Festival in Buenos Aires, a Wigmore Hall coffee concert with London Winds, solo and chamber music performances with Camerata Pacifica in Los Angeles, and with the Vogler Quartet in Madrid and Berlin. New albums due for release in 2014/15 include a second solo CD, Miniatures and Modulations, a disc of clarinet sonatas by Brahms and Reinecke with Michael Collins, and an album of flute and piano works by Schubert, Prokofiev and Liebermann with Stefan Hoskuldsson.
In addition to winning first prize and the audience prize at the prestigious Terence Judd/Hallé Award finals in 2009 (previous winners include Nikolai Lugansky and Stephen Hough), Michael was awarded the Brennan and Field Prizes at the 2006 AXA Dublin International Piano Competition and the 2005 Camerata Ireland/Accenture Award. His teachers and mentors include John O’Conor, Réamonn Keary, Christopher Elton, Ronan O’Hora and Barry Douglas. 

Michael collaborates regularly with Sir James Galway, Michael Collins, Patricia Rozario, Ensemble Avalon, Cappa Ensemble and the Vogler Quartet, and his discography includes recordings for Chandos, RTÉ lyric fm, Louth CMS, Lorelt and Nimbus Alliance.


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