Concerto for Piano, Orchestra is the latest Irish Chamber Orchestra comission

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by Rose Rushe

Gabor Takacs Nagy, principal artistic partner to ICO
Gabor Takacs Nagy, principal artistic partner to ICO. At UCH, March 7

THE Plassey based Irish Chamber Orchestra collaborates with leading Irish composers – and now writers – to commission exciting new works.  Witness February 15’s ‘The Two Tchaikovskys’, a theatre piece complemented by full Tchaikovsky compositions. It’s  an idea that originated with the ICO’s chief Gerry Butler and orchestra leader, violinist Katherine Hunka.

Between them, they inveigled The Gate’s Patrick Mason to write a  short play told in the voice of Modest Tchaikovsky, Peter’s loving, sensible brother who was his champion and biographer.

This original piece, played out with the string section of the orchestra and with an epilogue by actor Bosco Hogan, Hunka and Mason, pulled audiences right into its heart. Witness to this vital new work at Lime Tree Theatre, we cried out for more in this line. That plea is being entertained.

On to the Irish Chamber Orchestra’s March 7 concert at familiar base, University Concert Hall, 8pm. Berlin based Irish composer Garrett Sholdice is the latest who has been asked to write a new Concerto for Piano and Small Orchestra.

Sholdice was inspired by Haydn’s Paris Symphonies and memories of the city itself.  “This new work is an attempt to get as close as possible to my musical materials – to feel out a natural contour, an abstract poetry… It is the continuation of a striving for a particular clarity of experience” says the composer.

Garrett Sholdice’s award-winning compositions are performed across Europe, North America and Japan.

The world premiere of his new Concerto for Piano and Small Orchestra will be performed by Belfast born pianist Michael McHale who has worked with ICO and other orchestras including the Hallé, Bournemouth and Moscow Symphony Orchestras.

His first appearance with the ICO saw Michael stepping into the shoes of the indisposed Leon Fleisher for a performance of Prokofiev’s Left Hand Concerto, which was broadcast worldwide on a live online video stream by Platform Ireland.

The wonderful, emotive Hungarian principal partner with the orchestra, Gabor Takacs Nagy will direct the Dublin and Limerick concerts.

Book at www.uch.ie or direct at the concert hall box office.