Biggest event yet for Birr Festival of Music

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john.ocallaghan

There will be arias in the air and strings in the streets once more when Birr Festival of Music returns for its third outing this May Bank Holiday weekend, Friday May 3-Monday May 6.

2019 will be the biggest programme to date for the Midlands’ only dedicated classical music festival with this year’s programme packed full of high-quality events for music lovers of all ages. Members of Crash Ensemble, Ireland’s leading new music ensemble featuring world-class musicians playing some of the most exciting and groundbreaking music of today, will open the festival at Birr Theatre & Arts Centre on Friday May 3.

Irish National Opera will also be in Birr over the weekend. Their 2019 Studio Artists will delight audiences with a wonderful evening of opera on Saturday night. All on the brink of their professional careers, this is a unique opportunity to hear future international stars in arias, duets and ensembles from well-loved and rare operas.

A highlight of the weekend is undoubtedly The Trench Award Gala Concert on Sunday May 5. Established in 2014, the Trench Award is for young emerging professional singers/musicians from the Midlands region and is now one of the most valuable bursaries of the year, awarding over €7,000.

The selection panel for this year’s Trench Award will include Bruno Caproni and Julian Evans who make their highly anticipated return to Birr following their exquisite debut during the inaugural Birr Festival of Music. A leading Verdi Baritone, Bruno has graced some of the world’s major opera houses while Julian is a celebrated concert pianist. They will give a recital in the historic music room at Birr Castle on Sunday for Festival patrons and sponsors and facilitate masterclasses which are open to the public on Monday May 6 at Birr Theatre & Arts Centre.

Additions to this year’s programme include Lunch & Music in The Chestnut Garden and Music in Birr Community Nursing Unit while Birr Young Voices will give an afternoon concert on Monday afternoon. Following an exciting new project during the Easter Holidays with one of Ireland’s most sought after choral directors, Anne McCambridge, they will be joined by wonderful soloists from Ireland’s music academies at St Brendan’s Church of Ireland.

Speaking ahead of the event, Festival Director Maureen de Forge said: “Holding this feast of classical music on the May Bank Holiday again this year makes Birr a wonderful place to be for an early summer break. With an increase in funding support this year, we are delighted to present our biggest programme to date for our local community. The festival continues to grow and to attract performers of the highest calibre giving us all a unique opportunity to see some of Ireland’s most exciting artists, established and emerging, right on our doorstep.”

Tickets are on sale now. Visit www.birrtheatre.com or call Box Office (057) 91 22911, open Monday-Friday, 1-5.30pm.

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