Vox Orbis, Siobhán Armstrong, Aisling Kenny, Yonit Kosovske and Helen Hancock to Perform at Galway Early Music Festival This Weekend
The Galway Early Music Festival, now in its 27th year, takes place this weekend on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 May.
This year will also be the final edition under Artistic Director and Chair Maura Ó Cróinín, who co-founded the festival in 1996. Interest in early music in Galway and Ireland has developed considerably over the past three decades.
The 2023 programme features three main concerts as well as music and dance workshops, a storytelling event, and artists performing on the streets in the Latin Quarter of Galway city.
Concerts and workshops
The opening concert on Friday at 8pm at St Joseph’s Parish Church will feature soprano Aisling Kenny and harper Siobhán Armstrong performing music by English and Italian composers of the seventeenth century. Their programme includes Purcell and Monteverdi alongside increasingly performed composers such as Barbara Strozzi and Francesca Caccini, as well as music attributed to Henry VIII’s second wife, Queen Anne Boleyn.
On Saturday at 1pm at the Mick Lally Theatre, Caitríona O’Mahony (baroque violin), Sarah Groser (viola da gamba), Yonit Kosovske (harpsichord) and Vlad Smishkewych (percussion) will perform a concert titled Body & Soul, which features new music for historical instruments. Among the Irish and world premieres are works by composers Tal Arbel, Will Ayton, Brooke Green, Justin Grounds, Samuel Howley, Fiona Linnane and Oscar Tysoe.
Also at the Mick Lally Theatre on Saturday will be an early music workshop for the public at 11am facilitated by Helen Hancock (the workshop is suitable for recorder, flute and string players who play at approx. grade 2/3 level – children are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult); a storytelling and song event at 2.30pm titled Don’t Judge: Saucy Tales at the Crossroads of Story and Song (not suitable for children), with Dr Catherine Emerson and Dr Matthew Thomson; and a Medieval and Renaissance dance workshop with Lisa Carrel and Vincenzo Di Mauro at 4pm. From 2pm the same day, Di Mauro (fiddle) and Brenda Malloy (Renaissance harp) will also be playing on the streets in the Latin Quarter (weather permitting), and the Galway Early Music Players will perform upstairs in the Mick Lally Theatre between 3pm and 4 pm in a relaxed drop-in performance.
The festival will close on Saturday evening with a concert by Vox Orbis, the female choral ensemble based in Galway and directed by Mark Keane, at St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church at 8pm. They will be joined by soprano Helen Hancock to perform a concert of polyphony, madrigals and arias from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by composers including Lassus, Victoria, Massaino, Scheidt, Youll, Purcell and Couperin. The concert will also feature Keane accompanying Hancock on a new bespoke harpsichord from Bizzi, Italy.
Commenting on the festival, Ó Cróinín said:
I have had such a wonderful time being a part of the Galway Early Music Festival since the very first year in 1996. I have worked with amazing international, national and local artists, colleagues in the organisation, and volunteers, and have been thrilled to see interest in early music performance blossom in Galway and throughout Ireland. I look forward to the next decade of the Galway Early Music Festival under its new organisers.
Details of the new director of the festival will be announced in due course.
For further details and booking for this year’s event, visit www.galwayearlymusic.com.
Published on 25 May 2023