Anne-Marie O’Farrell & Cormac de Barra (harps)

Anne-Marie O’Farrell & Cormac de Barra (harps)

Saturday, 22 October 2022, 7.30pm
Added by Kieran Owens

Dynamic harp duo Cormac De Barra and Anne-Marie O'Farrell perform a lively programme of harp duets, spanning Europe's musical traditions from the baroque to the present. Featuring works by Handel, O'Carolan, Tarrega and O'Farrell, their music reflects the marriage of Ireland’s oral musical heritage and the classical tradition.


Leading harpist of her generation, Dr. Anne-Marie O’Farrell, from Dublin, has performed all over the world as a solo artist, accompanist and in ensembles, and is regularly featured in broadcasts. On lever harp, she is particularly recognised for her expansion of repertoire and levering techniques, as a result of which Salvi Harps, the world’s leading harp makers, redesigned their lever harps to become concert instruments.

O’Farrell has performed with numerous orchestras, including the Irish Baroque Orchestra, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the Irish Memory Orchestra, and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra with whom she premiered Ryan Molloy's Concerto for lever harp, Gealán. A prolific recording artist, she has released several CDs, including Just So Bach, Harping Bach to Carolan, The Jig’s Up, My Lagan Love and Embrace: New Directions for Irish Harp; Double Strung and Duopoly with Cormac De Barra; and Harp to Harp with harmonica player Brendan Power.

She is frequently invited to give recitals, workshops and masterclasses at international conferences and festivals around the world, in addition to performance at several World Harp Congresses and has recently been appointed head of harp at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Dedicated to the expansion of repertoire for the lever harp, she has published critical editions for lever harp of Bach’s cello, keyboard and lute repertoire.

O’Farrell holds a PhD in composition with Piers Hellawell at Queen’s University Belfast and masters degrees in performance, musicology and composition. She has recently completed several large-scale commissions featuring the harp, including a lever harp concerto commissioned by RTÉ Lyric FM, and a five-movement work for large harp ensemble commissioned by Harp Ireland/Cruit Éireann.


Cormac de Barra comes from a family of traditional Irish musicians and singers, and first studied Irish harp with his grandmother, Róisín Ní Shé. He was awarded a scholarship to study concert harp in the United States at the age of fourteen. At the Dublin Feis Ceoil Cormac has won both the under eighteen harp competition and the O’Carolan Cup. His performing career has taken him to places as far away as Africa and Asia, where he spent six months playing at Expo ‘90 in Osaka, Japan and to Spain where he also spent six months playing at Expo ‘92 in Seville. While in Japan he gave a command performance for Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at their Imperial Palace. He has performed extensively and given workshops throughout Europe and the USA in addition to making several recordings of traditional music with other members of his family. He presented the award-winning traditional music series Flosc on TG4.

He has also been involved in music for theatre, performing in a number of productions including The Cúchulainn Cycle by W. B. Yeats and Mysteries 2000 at the SFX, both directed by Michael Scott and the first tour of Irish Modern Dance Theatre’s Slam. Cormac also collaborated on the music and lyrics for Siamsa Tíre’s latest production Tearmann.

Performing with singer and actress Hazel O’Connor he has toured Britain, Europe, the United States and Australia.

De Barra released his first solo CD Barcó in 2002 to much critical acclaim. He has toured internationally and recorded several albums with Moya Brennan of Clannad.

Tickets are €17, including booking fee.

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Added by Kieran Owens on 11 July 2022

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