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Programme

2024 PROGRAMME

Birr Festival of Music 2024 brings you one of our most exciting programmes to date from Thursday 2 - Monday 6 May.

Our packed festival programme includes some outstanding events including our Celebrity Gala Concert on Friday evening with internationally acclaimed Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy and world-renowned pianist Malcom Martineau

Stella Bass and the Laetare Vocal Ensemble make their Festival debut on Saturday 4 May and Birr Young Voices present Creatures Great & Small in our closing event on Monday 6 May.

 

In between, we'll have recitals in local schools, masterclasses, some pop-up performances for all to enjoy and of course, The Trench Award.

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* Booking fees will apply at time of purchase

THURSDAY 2 MAY

OUT OF THE ORDINARY

- Irish National Opera

Thursday 2 May 
St Brendan's Community School, Birr

Senior music students experience the world’s first virtual reality community opera; Out of the Ordinary/As an nGnách tells the tale of a community forced to flee their barren homeland.

 

Written by composer Finola Merivale and librettist Jody O’Neill working with director Jo Mangan and students from rural Ireland and communities from Inis Meáin, Tallaght and South Dublin.

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PETER & THE WOLF

Thursday 2 May
For Local Primary Schools

The Far Flung Trio - Katherine Hunka (violin), Dermot Dunne (accordion) and Malachy Robinson (double bass) - presents the much-loved story of the brave boy Peter with the well-known music of Sergei Prokofiev.

They have been warmly received at festivals and in concert series all over the country, delighting audiences with their mix of virtuosity and playfulness, tradition and innovation.

MUSIC FOR LIFE

Thursday 2 May
Coláiste Naomh Cormac, Kilcormac
Banagher College

Senior music students gain an insight into what it means to be a successful professional musician as previous winners at The Trench Award, Martina Rosaria O’Connell and David Vesey visit Kilcormac and celebrated duo, baritone Bruno Caproni and concert pianist Julian Evans, travel to Banagher College.

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FRIDAY 3 MAY

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MEMORIES IN MUSIC

Friday 3 May | 2.30pm
Birr Community Nursing Unit

 

A trip down memory lane with musical guests Bruno Caproni and Julian Evans who will be bringing much-loved melodies and classic songs to residents, family, friends and staff.

30-40 minute performance in the Dining Room

CELEBRITY GALA CONCERT

Friday 3 May | 8pm
Birr Theatre & Arts Centre

€25/22*

Internationally-acclaimed Irish mezzo-soprano

Paula Murrihy and world-renowned pianist

Malcolm Martineau make a rare recital appearance in Ireland to present a wonderful programme of Debussey, Berlioz, Benjamin Britten, Vaughan Williams and Ina Boyle, which they will reprise at London’s prestigious Wigmore Hall at the end of May.

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SATURDAY 4 MAY

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STELLA SINGS ELLA

Saturday 4 May | 1pm
Craughwell's Courtyard
€18* (includes light lunch)

Highly-acclaimed Irish jazz vocalist Stella Bass

brings her beautiful show to Birr accompanied by The Johnny Taylor Trio.

 

This is a magical celebration of the 60-year career of Ella Fitzgerald, with a specially-curated selection of their own Ella favourites!

LAETARE VOCAL ENSEMBLE

Saturday 4 May | 8pm
Church of Ireland, Oxmantown Mall

€18/16*

** Please note updated start time
This is a correction to printed Advance Programme

This award-winning Dublin choir performs a selection of beautiful choral music from the

Renaissance to the present day, including new compositions by Birr’s Laura Sheils.

Choral Director | Róisín Blunnie.

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SUNDAY 5 MAY

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MUSIC IN BIRR CASTLE

Sunday 5 May | 3pm
For Festival Patrons & Sponsors

The Music Salon at Birr Castle hosts

three exceptionally-talented young

artists; Martina Rosaria O’Connell (flute), Julieanne Forrest (violin) and

David Vesey (piano) – all previous prize

winners at The Trench Award.

THE TRENCH AWARD 2024

Sunday 5 May | 7.30pm
Birr Theatre & Arts Centre
€18/16*

Six singers and musicians of the future each perform a 15-minute programme of their choice. All are pursuing professional careers in performance and were selected by an international panel.

 

Recipients of The Trench Award, Birr Lions Club Bursary, the Canto Al Serchio Prize (for voice), the Audrey Chisholm Award (for instrument) will be announced.

 

Accompanist | Dearbhla Brosnan

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MONDAY 6 MAY

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MASTERCLASSES

Monday 6 May | 11.00am - 2.00pm
Birr Theatre & Arts Centre
FREE

Observe the Trench Award finalists in vocal and piano masterclasses given by Bruno Caproni and Julian Evans.

 

Open to all; music students and teachers are especially welcome!

CREATURES GREAT & SMALL

Monday 6 May | 3.30pm
Church of Ireland, Oxmantown Mall

FREE

This year’s project takes its inspiration from the wonderful photography of Tina Claffey. With songs of strange and familiar fauna and creatures created by the children in collaboration with Tina and artist Caoimhe Dunn.

Choral Director | Gregory Ward

Accompanist | Sophie Ward

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