Brendan Finan

An Ambitious Musical Exploration of Migration and the Climate Crisis
Music for Galway's 9-day Cellissimo festival, with a strong focus on the issues of migration and the climate crisis, began on 18 May. Brendan Finan reviews the opening weekend.
Challenging and Curious – New Music Dublin: Days 1 and 4
New Music Dublin took place at the National Concert Hall and other venues in the city from 25 to 28 April with many world and Irish premieres. Brendan Finan reviews days 1 and 4. For a review of days 2 and 3 by James Camien McGuiggan, see the link below.
The Coloniser’s View: Stanford's 'Shamus O'Brien'
Retrospect Opera has recently released a recording of Charles Villers Stanford's 1896 opera 'Shamus O’Brien', telling the story of an Irish rebel. Brendan Finan reviews.
We Hear Life Persist: Meredith Monk at the National Concert Hall
Pioneering American composer and vocalist Meredith Monk performed at the National Concert Hall last week with members of her vocal ensemble. Brendan Finan reviews.
A Concert Like a Classical Work: Killian Farrell, Sharon Carty and the Irish Chamber Orchestra
On 10 February at the Whyte Recital Hall in Dublin, the Irish Chamber Orchestra with conductor Killian Farrell and mezzo-soprano Sharon Carty performed Deirdre Gribbin's 'The Stones of Life', Mahler, Prokofiev and Mozart. Brendan Finan reviews.
Beginning with America: Chamber Choir Ireland at the Pepper Canister
Last weekend, Chamber Choir Ireland began their spring/summer season, and their final year under conductor Paul Hillier, with a programme of works by American composers. Brendan Finan reviews.
Irish Classical Not So Hidden Anymore
BBC Radio 3 has recently broadcast a series exploring Irish classical music across three centuries. Brendan Finan reviews.
The Evolution Across a Composer’s Career
Farpoint Recordings have recently released 'Drinking the Stars', an extensive collection of piano music by John McLachlan performed by Mary Dullea. Brendan Finan reviews.
Into Another World Where Jazz and Traditional Music Merge
Composer, double bass player and traditional flute player Neil Ó Lochlainn premiered his new work 'Emain Ablach' with a 14-piece ensemble in Galway and Dublin last weekend. Brendan Finan reviews the Smock Alley performance.
Trading Irish and Welsh Tunes
Irish fiddle player Aoife Ní Bhriain and Welsh harpist Catrin Finch have recently released their first album together, 'Double You'. Brendan Finan reviews.
The Climate Crisis Has to be Felt
An intimate new opera, 'Breathwork' by composer Éna Brennan, received its premiere at the Dublin Theatre Festival last week. Brendan Finan reviews.
Demonstrating the Breadth of Irish Contemporary Styles
On 3 September at the Hugh Lane Gallery, violinist Larissa O'Grady performed six new works for violin by Irish composers. Brendan Finan reviews.
A Wealth of Musics in West Cork
The West Cork Chamber Music Festival in Bantry, Co. Cork, took place from 23 June to 2 July and featured Ensemble Diderot, Trio Gaspard, Armida Quartet, Mairéad Hickey, Anna Devin, Lotte Betts-Dean, Caroline Melzer and more. Brendan Finan reviews the final weekend.
Embracing the Louth Spirit
The Louth Contemporary Music Festival took place last weekend and featured American composer Caroline Shaw, new work by Linda Catlin Smith, Cassandra Miller and Sam Perkin, and a version of Terry Riley's 'In C' performed by Irish traditional musicians. Brendan Finan reviews.
In the Presence of Potts
The premiere of Neil Ó Lochlainn's new suite 'Tairseach', inspired by the music of fiddle player Tommie Potts, took place at Solstice Arts Centre on 26 May. Brendan Finan reviews.
A Hard-hitting Commentary on the Experience of Asylum Seekers
Composer Jamie Thompson's Adjunct Ensemble has just released 'Sovereign Bodies / Ritual Taxonomy' on the Diatribe label, focusing on the ordeal of asylum seekers. Brendan Finan reviews.
Conflict and Sorrow in Rural Ireland
Irish National Opera's 'Werther', featuring mezzo-soprano Niamh O’Sullivan and Italian tenor Paride Cataldo, is currently on a nationwide tour. Brendan Finan reviews a performance at the Solstice Arts Centre.
Finnegans Flare
Composer Roger Doyle has just released a second volume of works inspired by Joyce's 'Finnegans Wake'. Brendan Finan reviews.
Picked Up and Placed Elsewhere
The new Metronome series began at the NCH last week (16 March) with Ordnance Survey's 'Nomos: O’Riada Reimagined' and Sharon Phelan's 'Radio Ocean'. Brendan Finan reviews.
Peeling Away Layers
Damien Dempsey's 'Tales from the Holywell', a theatrical production directed by Conor McPherson and telling the story of the singer's development as an artist, is currently on a sold-out run at the Abbey Theatre. Brendan Finan reviews.
A Homecoming Away from Home
The Inishowen Trad Orchestra and Choir, conducted by Martin Tourish, presented a new work, 'Inishowen', at the National Concert Hall on 22 January. Brendan Finan reviews.
Crash Looking Forward and Back
Crash Ensemble celebrated 25 years with two concerts at the NCH on 3–4 December. Brendan Finan reviews the Saturday performance, which featured a new work by Diamanda La Berge Dramm and Neva Elliott, and Donnacha Dennehy's 'Grá agus Bás'.
Tracing a Life's Path
Accordion player and composer Johnny Óg Connolly has just completed a national tour with his new work 'An Cosán Draíochta'. Brendan Finan reviews the performance at Solstice Arts Centre on 11 November.
A Rare Road in Irish Music
Composer Bill Whelan's new memoir, 'The Road to Riverdance', explores growing up in Limerick, working in the Irish music industry, and the famous performance of his work during the Eurovision interval in 1994. Brendan Finan reviews.
Smaller Voices of the Irish Civil War
'Who’d Ever Think It Would Come To This? – A Civil War Cantata', composed by Anne-Marie O’Farrell with a libretto by Ed Vulliamy, received its premiere at UCD on 30 September. Brendan Finan reviews.
Conversations with the Past
On 11 September, the Irish Traditional Music Archive hosted a gala concert at the National Concert Hall with a range of musicians and dancers who have featured in its Drawing from the Well series. Brendan Finan reviews.
Energy at the Core
Irish composer Finola Merivale's debut album 'Tús', winner of the National Concert Hall/Sounding the Feminists Music Recording Award, features five works performed by New York chamber music ensemble Desdemona. Brendan Finan reviews.
Communication Under Constraints
David Bremner's chamber opera 'Slow Recognition' was premiered at Unit 44 in Dublin last week. Brendan Finan reviews.
Ambient Natural World
'Chimp', the new solo album from violinist and singer Diamanda La Berge Dramm, is a collection of avant pop with words by Steven J. Fowler. Brendan Finan reviews.
A Royal Conflict
Irish National Opera's production of Donizetti’s 'Maria Stuarda' opened in the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin at the weekend, ahead of dates in Cork, Wexford and Limerick. Brendan Finan reviews.