Finding a Voice with Juliana Koch and Michael McHale

Finding a Voice with Juliana Koch and Michael McHale

Friday, 8 March 2024, 1.00pm

Celebrate International Women’s Day 2024 with this glorious lunchtime concert of music for oboe and piano by two exceptional performers.

Finding a Voice presents internationally acclaimed German oboist Juliana Koch and leading Irish pianist Michael McHale in a programme of unforgettable music by remarkable women from the last two centuries. Clara Schumann’s gorgeous Romances are among the composer’s most popular chamber music works, while Russian composer Marina Dranishnikova’s poignant Poem demonstrates her independent creative spirit. British composers Helen Grime and Ruth Gipps, both oboists themselves, showcase the instrument’s versatility and expressive power in a pair of sonatas by Gipps, and Grime’s set of evocative scenes depicting the Scottish landscape.

Clara Schumann: Three Romances (1853)
Helen Grime: Five North-Eastern Scenes (2016)
Ruth Gipps: Sonata No. 1 (1939)
Marina Dranishnikova: Poem (1953)
Ruth Gipps: Sonata No.2 (1985)

Juliana Koch
Juliana Koch is Principal Oboe of the London Symphony Orchestra, and since the ARD International Music Competition 2017 she has been in demand as a soloist all over Europe. Juliana was appointed Professor of Oboe at the Royal College of Music, London, in 2018.

For her debut at the Berlin Philharmonie in 2019, Juliana performed the Richard Strauss Oboe concerto together with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. Other solo engagements include appearances with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks at the Philharmonie im Gasteig (Munich), the London Symphony Orchestra, the Münchener Kammerorchester, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Sinfonia Lahti and the Hungarian National Philharmonic, among others.

Juliana is an active chamber musician and has performed at several prestigious festivals around the world, including Musica Viva’s Huntingon Estate Music Festival in Australia, Lucerne Festival and Bachfest Leipzig. She has appeared in recital performances in the Konzerthalle Bamberg, NDR Hannover and Deutschlandfunk Köln.

As a soloist Juliana has recorded for Chandos, BIS, Wergo, cpo and LSO Live labels – including first recordings of the Ruth Gipps and Enjott Schneider oboe concertos. Her recording of the Dutilleux oboe Sonata has been selected for a BBC Music Magazine Award.

Juliana has been guest Principal Oboe with some of the world’s most renowned orchestras, including the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
She has previously held Principal Oboe positions with the Royal Danish Orchestra and Filarmonica della Scala, and has worked with many of the world’s leading conductors, including Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Antonio Pappano, Bernhard Haitink, Kirill Petrenko, Daniel Barenboim, Riccardo Chailly, Pierre Boulez, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Zubin Mehta, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Valery Gergiev.

Juliana has studied with François Leleux in Munich and Fabian Menzel in Frankfurt. Additionally she has worked with Jacques Tys in Paris. In her time in Munich, she also studied Baroque Oboe with Saskia Fikentscher.
Juliana plays a Marigaux M2 Oboe.

Michael McHale
Belfast-born Michael McHale has established himself as one of Ireland’s leading pianists and has developed a busy international career as a solo recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician. He has performed as a soloist with the Minnesota, Hallé, Moscow Symphony and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, City of London Sinfonia, London Mozart Players and all five of the major Irish orchestras, and performed at the Tanglewood and Tokyo Spring Festivals, Wigmore Hall, London, Berlin Konzerthaus, Lincoln Center, New York, Symphony Hall, Boston and Pesti Vigadó in Budapest.

Michael’s début solo album The Irish Piano was released in 2012 by RTÉ lyric fm and selected as ‘CD of the Week’ by the critic Norman Lebrecht. More recent solo releases include Schubert: Four Impromptus on Ergodos, Miniatures and Modulations on Grand Piano, and a first orchestral album Irish Piano Concertos featuring works by John Field and Philip Hammond with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Courtney Lewis. His discography of over twenty albums includes releases on Delos, Nimbus Alliance, Champs Hill, and seven duo recital albums on Chandos with Michael Collins. The début album of the McGill/McHale Trio Portraits on Cedille featuring special narrations by Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali was released in 2017 and immediately entered the Top 25 US Billboard Classical Chart. Upcoming releases include a recording of Strauss’s ‘Burleske’ with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on Chandos, and a recording of two new works by Cliff Eidelman with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Winner of the Terence Judd/Hallé Award in 2009, Michael was also awarded the Brennan and Field Prizes at the 2006 AXA Dublin International Piano Competition, the 2005 Camerata Ireland/Accenture Award, and in 2016 a Major Individual Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. He studied at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Cambridge University and the Royal Academy of Music, and his teachers and mentors include John O’Conor, Réamonn Keary, Christopher Elton, Ronan O’Hora and Barry Douglas. In 2017 Michael was invited to become a Patron of the Ulster Youth Orchestra, and in 2018 he was appointed as a part-time professor of piano for undergraduate and postgraduate students at the Cork School of Music in Ireland.

Michael collaborates regularly with Sir James Galway, Michael Collins, Patricia Rozario, Dame Felicity Lott and Camerata Pacifica.

Finding a Voice is a festival of unforgettable music by remarkable women composers through the ages and around the world, in celebration of International Women’s Day on 8th March.

Founded in 2017 by sisters Róisín Maher (Artistic Director – Lecturer at MTU Cork School of Music) and Clíona Maher (Artistic Director of Clonmel Junction Arts Festival), over the past seven years Finding a Voice has programmed music by hundreds of women composers, from the twelfth-century nun Hildegard of Bingen to newly commissioned works by Irish composers, all performed by leading Irish and international musicians.

In 2024, Finding a Voice will present concerts marking International Women’s Day in Cork for the first time.

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Published by Triskel Christchurch on 13 February 2024

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