Wednesday 4th April
1 Portobello Harbour, D8.
Invoking the Easter goddess “Ostara” in its title, this Kaleidoscope event weaves a musical tapestry of the baroque era, the 19th and 20th centuries, and some exploratory Irish traditional music. Baroque specialists, Marja Gaynor, the incomparably dynamic Cork-based Finnish violinist, and Paris-based South Korean cellist, Gulrim Choi join forces for an improvisatory set including JS Bach and Thomas Baltzar. A quartet of clarinetists present a playful work by French composer, Pierre Max Dubois, among a few other surprises, while their mentor and namesake John Finucane explores the late Romanticism of Irish composer, Charles Villiers Stanford, his Fantasy No. 2 (1922) in the company of the Kaleidoscope String Quartet (Larissa O’Grady, Órla Ní Bhriain (violins), Karen Dervan (viola), Aoife Burke (cello)). The night will finish with the brilliant tone-lowering stylings of American cellist Alec Brown, now resident in Limerick, with newly composed and arranged traditional Irish tunes from his recently released debut album, The Stepping Stone.
JS Bach Sonata BWV 1021
Kaleidoscope series’ aficionados may recall the special night back in December 2015 that Marja Gaynor, the incomparably dynamic Cork-based Finnish violinist guest curated for the series. Always a treat for the ears, she returns in the company of Irish Baroque Orchestra colleague, the South Korean, now Paris-based cellist, Gulrim Choi. They present an improvisatory set including JS Bach Sonata BWV 1021, Thomas Baltzar’s “John come kiss me” variations and a Finnish folk tune.
Pierre Max Dubois Quator
A quartet of clarinetists, guided by John Finucane, present a playful work by French composer, Pierre Max Dubois, among a few other surprises. Although he lived and composed in mid 19th century France, where musique concrète and the impressionists stirred the prevailing winds, and was a student of Darius Milhaud, Dubois maintained an entirely tonal path of composition and, indeed, garnered several prizes in so doing.
”By nature, I am impulsive, but there is a hidden part of me which is certainly more serious. However, my character incites me to write gay music. I love humour and I have no pretension of stopping the world in its spin.” (P.M. Dubois)
Charles Villiers Stanford Fantasy No. 2
In the company of the Kaleidoscope String Quartet (Larissa O’Grady, Órla Ní Bhriain, (violins), Karen Dervan (viola), Aoife Burke (cello)), Ireland’s leading clarinetist, John Finucane performs Charles Villiers Stanford’s Fantasy No.2. Principal Clarinet with the RTENSO since 1995, John is also an in-demand soloist and chamber musician, to which his recent album release “French Holidays”, with pianist, Elisaveta Blumina greatly testifies. Charles Villiers Stanford was born in Dublin in 1852 and received his earliest musical education there before proceeding to Cambridge College and, later, the Leipzig Conservatoire. He was a well-respected figure in the British composition scene but his music, some of it very questionable stage Irish opera, quite quickly faded out of fashion after his death. He wrote two Fantasies for clarinet and string quartet in 1921 and 1922, the latter being the year in which he wrote his last work.
The night will finish with the brilliant tone-lowering stylings of American cellist Alec Brown, now resident in Limerick, with newly composed and arranged traditional Irish tunes from his recently released debut album, The Stepping Stone. Currently a PhD student at the University of Limerick, Arkansas-born Alec is also deeply rooted in other genres including classical, folk, bluegrass, jazz and blues. “The Stepping Stone” album was widely well received by traditional and roots:
“A fresh take on Irish music which incorporates the cello in a beautifully subtle yet driving way; great tune choices, well-crafted arrangements and a killer groove- Alec Brown has it all… pure joy to listen to” (Natalie Haas)
Marja Gaynor was born in Finland but has been based in Cork since
2005. She was awarded a 1st class honours MA at Cork School of Music, and continued her Baroque violin studies at The Royal Conservatoire of The Hague with Pavlo Beznosiuk.
Marja is a member of the Irish Baroque Orchestra and Camerata Kilkenny. Both ensembles have released much-acclaimed recordings and toured nationally and internationally. Marja is also a founder member of Giordani Quartet, Ireland’s only chamber group specialising in early Classical repertoire using period instruments.
Outside Ireland Marja works with the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra and other leading European period orchestras, and is increasingly in demand as a leader, soloist and workshop facilitator. She was the Artistic Director of East Cork Early Music Festival 2013-2015, and has also been invited to act as guest curator for the Kaleidoscope Night concert series.
With her various areas of interest and expertise (Baroque, traditional music, and improvisation) Marja is much sought after as an arranger, studio musician and collaborator in all genres. Her proudest project to date was her critically acclaimed arrangement of Purcell’s ‘Dido and Aeneas’ (Cork Opera House), and she also arranged and played the strings of ‘Falling Slowly’ for the movie ‘Once’, Oscar winner for best song in 2008.
Born in Arkansas in the United States, Alec has been a classically trained cellist for the past nineteen years and has performed in many professional settings including the Conway Symphony Orchestra as well as hired string quartets during that time. Having found a love for Irish music and culture, he moved to Limerick, Ireland to pursue a Master’s degree in Irish traditional music performance on the flute at the University of Limerick in 2010. During his time in Limerick, he has had the opportunity to study under several masters of the Irish flute and to make music with some of the best musicians in the world. Afterward, he enrolled in the optional second year of this MA degree on the cello in order to learn how to further the role of the cello in Irish traditional music. He is currently completing this PhD in the University of Limerick in this area of study.
Throughout his years of studying music, Alec has incorporated a number of styles and influences into his cello playing to make him a unique force to be reckoned with on the instrument. He utilises Classical technique mixed with folk styles of cellists Natalie Haas, Rushad Eggleston, Trevor Exter, Ben Sollee and more, as well as drawing from instrumentalists in many other genres to create his unique sound.
Alec has had the privilege to perform with and record music for many influential musicians, including: De Danann, Lisa Canny, Daoirí Farrell, Emma Langford, Teresa Horgan, and more.
Clarinettist John Finucane, who has been Principal Clarinet with Ireland’s RTE National Symphony Orchestra since 1995, has also had an active career as a soloist, chamber musician and conductor in Ireland and abroad. Described by Gramophone magazine as ‘an outstanding virtuoso’, on the release of his CD “Clarinet Variations,” he has worked with the Ulysses Ensemble, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Welsh National Opera, Opera North and Irish Film Orchestras. He has appeared regularly on radio and on television programmes, including RTE’s The Symphony Sessions and Britain’s The South Bank Show. He has a particular affinity to chamber music and has worked with many groups, including the Ysaye, the Navarra and the Vanbrugh Quartets.
John Finucane is also a conductor of note, having studied with Janus Furst and Albert Rosen amongst others, and has regularly conducted the highly regarded RTE Concert Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra and Opera Theatre Company. He was one of the founders of the Dublin Chamber Orchestra and has been the Musical Director of the Hibernian Orchestra for nearly thirty years. Despite his hugely busy life as a performing artist and conductor, John has found the time to join the faculty of the Royal Irish Academy of Music. His many tours have included China, as a soloist as well as with the National Chamber Ensemble of Ireland and Academy Chamber Ensemble performing to sell-out audiences. John recently finished conducting the music for a forthcoming film, Storm in the Stars – with music by Amelia Warner, arranged and orchestrated by Nathan Klein, and recorded in Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin. This follows conducting the music for a John Boorman film called “In My Country” in 2004.
He is a D’Addario Woodwinds Performing Artist.