NCH Announces Martin Hayes Residency for 2017/18 Season

Martin Hayes

NCH Announces Martin Hayes Residency for 2017/18 Season

Three-concert residency announced alongside details of the International and Perspectives series.

Anna Murray, Assistant Editor, reports from the launch.

At an event in the Main Auditorium on Tuesday 11 April, the National Concert Hall launched its 2017/18 concert season programme. The launch was presented by broadcaster Olivia O’Leary, who interviewed the CEO Simon Taylor and Head of Programme Planning Gary Sheehan about the season’s events, while NCH Chair Maura McGrath and Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys both gave short speeches. The event also featured short performances from Chamber Choir Ireland of Arvo Pärt’s The Deer’s Cry, and Barry Douglas of Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 1, who was also finally joined by Martin Hayes for Carolan’s Farewell to Music.

‘More than just a venue’
A central theme of the on-stage announcements at the launch was the development of the National Concert Hall into ‘more than just a venue, but a creative hub’ (Simon Taylor), a strategy of which the new residency for traditional fiddle-player Martin Hayes is a part, and which follows Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh’s Kevin Barry Room residency last year. Hayes will be resident at the NCH for a year, creating new work and collaborating with other musicians for a series of concerts, beginning with the Martin Hayes Quartet (Hayes, Doug Wieselman, Liz Knowles, Dennis Cahill) in October, and a concert with string quartet Brooklyn Riders in January 2018. The programme will culminate with a concert of duos with special guests – including regular collaborator Cahill – in May 2018.

Another talking point in was the importance of broadening out programming over the next four or five years, for the national institution to ‘recognise many genres of music…focus on quality over genre’ (Taylor). The Hayes residency is ‘emblematic of what they are trying to do’ in this regard, while the Perspectives series, this year given an even greater prominence in the NCH’s programming, explores the connections between classical and other genres.

Perspectives, in the words of curator Gary Sheehan, ‘is about offering a view on music-making today’, with a focus on jazz, world and pop performers. The 2017/18 season features the culmination of Laurie Anderson’s residency, with three events exploring story-telling, as well as performances from Carla Bley, Kamasi Washington, Jenny Hval, Pat Methany, the Brad Mehldau Trio and a project with Jordi Savall in homage to the music of Syria. 

International Programme
The main international programme revolves around prominent visiting British and European orchestras and choirs such as the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Czech Philharmonic (who will also offer a family concert), London Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Sir Simon Rattle), Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and The Tallis Scholars. Soloists include Philippe Cassard (piano); Michael McHale (piano); Joshua Bell (violin – performing with, and conducting, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields); Maxim Vengerov (violin, with Würth Philharmonic); Barry Douglas (piano, with Borodin Quartet) and singers Javier Camarena and Rebecca Houlihan.

Female conductors
In keeping with the National Concert Hall’s recent commitment to fostering the careers of female conductors, there will be three featured female conductors across the season: Mirga Gazinyte-Tyla of the City of Birmingham Symphony, Stamatia Karampini of Würth Philharmonic, and Emmanuelle Haïm of Le Concert d’Astrée. Just two new works will be premiered during the season: a new work for Joshua Bell by Edgar Meyer, and Baptiste Trotigon’s Tombeau de Claude Debussy performed by Philippe Cassard. The Estonian Philharmonic Choir will also perform two works by Irish composer and choral director Conor O’Reilly alongside works by Estonian composers.

Crash Ensemble
Crash Ensemble will also be in residence at the NCH during 2017, which marks their 20th anniversary. They will perform a concert of 20 new works by 20 young composers later this year.

For further details, visit

Published on 12 April 2017

Anna Murray is a composer and writer. Her website is

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