- 27 May 19
The National Concert Hall is Ireland’s national cultural institution for music, proudly serving the Irish public since 1981 through live music performances and significant educational and cultural programmes.
The National Concert Hall (NCH) has today, launched its most ambitious and diverse programme of concerts and events to date, comprised of exciting offerings across its flagship international and home-grown classical music series, its contemporary and innovative Perspectives series, its progressive traditional music programme Tradition Now and its expanded learning and participation programme.
Among the most anticipated acts appears Damon Albarn in stunning new audio-visual work, and Laurie Anderson in two unique concerts: Swordfishtrombones Revisited and Pantha Du Prince – Conference of Trees.
The NCH programme for 2019/2020 will foster and celebrate the appreciation, knowledge and enjoyment of music as an integral part of Irish life by embracing the talents of the best and most innovative artists and musicians from home and abroad.
Speaking of the programme, Simon Taylor, CEO of the National Concert Hall, said:
“Our programme of concerts and events for 2019/2020 is our most ambitious to date, fulfilling our vision to develop and diversify across musical genres. As Ireland’s national cultural institution for music, we are proud to deliver this exciting concert programme and nationwide learning and participation activities. Our aim is to nurture our existing audiences and expand opportunities for the public to engage with music, supporting personal development, creative involvement and social inclusion.”
Marking the announcement, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton TD said:
“The launch of the ambitious NCH programme comes at an important time of change for the National Concert Hall, musicians, audiences and all music stakeholders. Irish culture and music are the introduction to our society for the rest of the world. This is why the Government has agreed to a ten-year investment package for culture as part of Project Ireland 2040. A central part of this plan is the refurbishment of the National Concert Hall with a major investment to the redevelopment of the facilities.”
The new programme launch is the latest milestone in the evolution of Ireland’s cultural institution for music. The Government has committed to major investment in the redevelopment of the NCH with work expected to commence on site in 2021/2022. The redevelopment will provide Ireland with a state-of-the-art building and space to inspire a new generation of musicians and music lovers and become Ireland’s must-visit music venue.
Highlights of the NCH 2019/2020 Music Programme:
International Concert Series (September 2019 – June 2020)
A thrilling musical partnership opens the NCH international Concert Series with sensational star pianist Yuja Wang and one of the world’s most distinguished orchestras, Staatskapelle Dresden, with Principal Guest Conductor, Myung-Whun Chung. The prolific and Grammy® award-winning mezzo-soprano, Joyce DiDonato (née O’Flaherty), will be accompanied by Il pomo d’oro, led by Maxim Emelyanychev in returning to the NCH following their phenomenal performance in 2017. Camerata Ireland and Barry Douglas will take up an NCH residency as part of their 20th Anniversary at the NCH culminating in their final concert with international guest soloists, cellist Lynn Harrell and violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky, as part of the International Concert Series. World-renowned Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja returns to perform a popular programme of opera arias with Irish soprano Claudia Boyle and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Proinnsías Ó Duinn. Other artists and ensembles performing in the Series include: celebrated English choral group Tenebrae with Aurora Orchestra; violinist Christian Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt; the Berlin-based RIAS Kammerchor with conductor Justin Doyle and pianists Bahar and Ufuk Dördüncü; the English Chamber Orchestra with conductor José Serebrier and cellist Natalie Clein; a welcome return by world-renowned pianists Simon Trpčeski and Emanuel Ax in two unique recitals; a return by Bach Collegium Japan with Masaaki Suzuki, conductor and guest soloists, making their NCH International Concert Series debut; the Vienna Chamber Orchestra with British pianist Paul Lewis, as well as the London Mozart Players and Howard Shelley,piano/conductor. Rounding off the International Concert Series, The Hallé make a welcome return with its esteemed Music Director Sir Mark Elder and multi-award winning guest pianist Benjamin Grosvenor.
Perspectives (September 2019 – May 2020)
The NCH’s Perspectives series sees leading international and Irish artists continue to explore contemporary and innovative expressions of music across many genres. Philip Glass and his Ensemble take up a special residency at NCH. Glass will perform his iconic works Music in 12 Parts and KOYAANISQATSI as well as curate with NCH one-off events as part of a unique weekend. Damon Albarn, singer, songwriter, composer, producer and founder member of Blur, Gorillaz and The Good, The Bad and The Queen, will unveil his stunning new audiovisual work The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows inspired by the Icelandic landscape. Laurie Anderson will celebrate innovation and improvisation in two unique concerts for Dublin, following her 2017 NCH residency. British multi-instrumentalist David Coulter turns to another major opus by Tom Waits Swordfish trombones Revisited for a specially developed concert for The Barbican, London, Philharmonie de Paris and NCH. Techno-artist Pantha Du Prince presents Conference of Trees which translates the communication of trees into a new electronic piece for ensemble in a new immersive audio-visual performance combining club culture, new music, visual poetry and speculative science.
Tradition Now (October 2019)
The NCH’s progressive traditional music programme Tradition Now, a partnership between NCH and The Arts Council, takes a unique look at progressive traditional music in a fast-moving Ireland. Tradition Now will see renowned artists - Lisa O’Neill, Ye Vagabonds and Brìghde Chaimbeul -present a special evening of folk music curated by Geoff Travis of Rough Trade and River Lea Records. The second main stage concert of the series sees protest song, traditional music and jazz collide in a special performance featuring renowned artists such as Sam Amidon, Niall Vallely, Karan Casey and Harriet Tubman.
Chamber Music Series (September 2019 – April 2020)
The popular NCH Chamber Music Series will continue to provide unique support for Irish and International ensembles and artists through a regular output of recitals and intimate concerts. New to this year’s series is the Irish Language Art Song Project which sees fifty new art songs in the Irish language, commissioned from twelve Irish and five International composers with funds from An Chomhairle Ealaíon, presented in three concerts featuring top Irish singers. NCH and Sounding the Feminists continue to present a series of concerts focusing on the work of female composers and supporting new commissioning opportunities with support from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Creative Ireland. Beethoven’s 250th Anniversary will also be celebrated with Irish pianist Hugh Tinney curating two, three concert series, focusing on Beethoven his influences and inspiration.
Words+Ideas (June – November 2019)
The inaugural NCH Words+Ideas Series which features some of today’s most renowned writers and commentators offering views and insights to inspire reflection, debate and critical thinking continues with; Sir Simon Schama –The Wordy Tour and An Evening with Margaret Atwood.
NCH Learning and Participation
Delivering on its public remit, which extends well beyond the presentation of concerts at our hall, the NCH’s Learning and Participation programme helps to engage people with music, to enhance people’s understanding and appreciation of music and to encourage personal, community and social development through music. The expansive programme covers numerous areas of community outreach including all-ages education, health and wellbeing, family activities and bursaries and awards.
This Way to Christmas featuring The Snowman, the magical Christmas show produced and directed by Theatre Lovett featuring the NCH Christmas Orchestra, returns for ten shows this December providing the ideal opportunity for families to share in a musical Christmas experience.
The ground-breaking Female Conductor Programme, supported by Grant Thornton, which encourages high-calibre female musicians to become orchestral conductors, returns for its second iteration. SinfoNua, the NCH’s orchestra for emerging musicians continues with two concerts in Dublin and Cork, conducted by David Brophy and featuring guest cellist Gerald Peregrine. The inaugural International Master Course will give young gifted musicians piano and string music coaching. In a first of its kind offering by NCH, Irish and International musicians will guide musicians from all over the world in a series of workshops and performances. A new Family Day with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra will take place in November, featuring a micro performance, workshops, musical treasure hunt, culminating in a family concert with the orchestra and animator Jonathan James.
NCH’s Health and Wellbeing programme will expand for the year ahead, operating nationwide, working with key partners such as National Children’s Hospitals, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Alzheimer’s Day and Respite Care Centres and community groups to bring music to those with long-term health conditions. The programme is built on the belief in the power of music to effect positive, holistic outcomes across a broad range of areas connected to health and wellbeing.
The NCH’s Perspectives and Tradition Now programmes are kindly sponsored by innovation partner Davy. Tradition Now also receives the support of the Arts Council. The NCH’s Female Conductor Programme, now in its second year, is kindly supported by Grant Thornton. The Irish Times is the media partner for the International Concert Series, Perspectives, Tradition Now and NCH’s This Way to Christmas.