Music Trail Reimagining Schubert’s ‘Winterreise’ to Feature at Cork Midsummer Festival

Rachael Lavelle will perform as part of the music trail (Photo: Cáit Fahey).

Music Trail Reimagining Schubert’s ‘Winterreise’ to Feature at Cork Midsummer Festival

Rachael Lavelle, Gavan Ring, Lina Andonovska and Emma Nash to reimagine song cycle, performing in pubs, gardens and churches. Festival runs until 23 June.

A reimagining of Schubert’s renowned Winterreise song cycle as a music trail will take place at this year’s Cork Midsummer Festival. Artists including singer-songwriter Rachael Lavelle and tenor Gavan Ring will perform in secret locations during the annual festival, which started this week and runs until 23 June.

The festival programme also includes a series of late-night electronic and alternative DJ sets to celebrate the solstice, curated by ELLLL; the Cork Proms with the Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra performing arrangements of musical theatre, rock, pop, and classical works; and Possession, a new opera by Amanda Coogan and Linda Buckley featuring deaf artists and performed through ISL (Irish Sign Language).

Schubert reimagined
On 15 and 16 June, the festival will present Winter Journeya new interpretation of Winterreise, which is based on an 1827 setting of poems by Wilhelm Muller depicting the dark but beautiful journey from summer to winter. 

A collaboration between theatre director Sophie Motley and the promoter Islander, Winter Journey is a trail of intimate performances, taking place in eight different spaces, including pubs, gardens and churches across Shandon in the north of the city.

Among the artists responding to the iconic song cycle, in a variety of genres, are Ring, Lavelle, flautist Lina Andonovska, American performer-composer Sheherazaad, actor Bláithín MacGabhann, musician Ciara O’Leary Fitzpatrick, Icelandic film score composer JFDR, and soprano Emma Nash. Venues will be provided to ticket holders ahead of the performances.

DJ sets
The festival’s Artist in Residence 2023–24 is composer, producer and DJ Ellen King, who performs as ELLLL. As part of her residency, King has curated two weekends of electronic music and late-night DJ sets – in collaboration with local arts space Sample Studios – to celebrate the passing of the summer solstice. The series, titled 9.57 (Sunset), will take place at Triskel Arts Centre with each performance launching at 9.57pm. On 15 June, psychedelic dub-dance trio Holy Tongue will perform, with support from experimental music group Fixity, followed by sets by ELLLL and DJs Glimmerman and Dose. On 16 June, the line-up includes cellist, composer, and improviser Okkyung Lee, pianist, composer and artist Jasmine Wood from Portland, and harper Méabh McKenna.

The following weekend, on 21 and 22 June, will see sets by post-punk group Cindytalk and sound and light artist Florence To; Cork synth duo Howlbux, comprising Elaine Howley and Irene Buckley; Russian singer-songwriter Kate NV; and US sound artist Felisha Ledesma. 

Also as part of the series, on 21 and 22 June, San Francisco’s underground collective presents a series of dance sets with DJs Magz, Milis, Binnie, Vi, Cáit, Ikeaboy and Darqhorse. 

Cork Proms
Throughout the festival, there will be a number of performances as part of the Cork Proms series, curated by Cork Opera House Artistic Director Eibhlín Gleeson and directed by Davey Kelleher. The series will present three programmes of different types of music, performed by the Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra. 

Tonight, the orchestra, conducted by John O’Brien, will present new arrangements of popular Irish rock songs by Sinéad O’Connor, The Cranberries, The Pogues and Thin Lizzy. Performing with the orchestra will be Jack O’Rourke, May Kay, Laoise Leahy, Niall McCabe and Lucia Evans. 

Cork pianist Gary Beecher will join the orchestra on 16 June for a classical concert that features Dvořák’s New World Symphony and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. The concert will also feature works by Copland, Korngold and Barber, and be conducted by Elaine Kelly. On 19 and 20 June, the orchestra will present two nights of musical theatre with works from Wicked, The Sound of Music, Dear Evan Hansen and The Phantom of the Opera. Joining the orchestra, under conductor Colm O’Regan, will be Claire O’Leary, Molly Lynch, Shane O’Riordain, Majella Cullagh and Claire O’Leary.

Opera, local bands and a secret gig
Possession, a new opera by artist Amanda Coogan and composer Linda Buckley will take place at the Granary Theatre on 21–23 June. The opera is based on a script by deaf artist Teresa Deevy and tells an alternate version of the mythological story An Táin. Starring Coogan, Lianne Quigley and Alvean Jones and the Cork Community Deaf Choir, the work is performed through ISL

At St Luke’s and other venues there will also be a series of local punk, indie, techno and folk acts including Ezra Williams, I Dreamed I Dream, Rua Rí, The Love Buzz, The Cliffords, Pebbledash, Eternal Youth Eternal Beauty, Luke O’Neill, Gerron and Abbie Lee (21 and 22 June); and a secret gig at The Frisky Whiskey Bar on 22 June;

Jazz saxophonist Linda Fredriksson performs at Triskel Arts Centre on 14 June; Conor Hanratty will present Creatures of Habit, a new song cycle with Lily Akerman and Tom Lane on 22 and 23 June; and on 21 June, the festival will present a solstice céilí at Elizabeth Fort, led by trad band Damhsa Liomsa and Fear an Spraoi Martin O’Donoghue. 

See the full programme below. For further information and tickets, visit

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Published on 11 June 2024

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