Wednesday 5th December
1 Portobello Harbour, D8.
The Kaleidoscope series ushers in the silly season with a Christmas-jumper-free night of typically diverse and inspiring music in the basement bunker of Bello Bar. Following their memorable debut at the series in September 2016 and on foot of the success of their debut album, Navá will once again wave the wand of their fusion wizardry. We have baroque delights from duo, Tonos, namely Róisín O Grady (voice) & Eamon Sweeney (baroque guitar), and a father/daughter combination of Bill Dowdall (flute) and Lisa Dowdall (viola) will share with us the music of Rebecca Clarke, Claude Debussy, and contemporary offerings by Matthew Whiteside and Benjamin Dwyer. Rest assured that all that inevitable pre-Christmas stress will be kept far from the mind.
Following their memorable debut at Kaleidoscope in September 2016 and on foot of the success of their debut album, “Tapestry”, Navá will once again weave the wand of their fusion wizardry. Exploring the relationship between the ancient musical cultures of Ireland and Persia, the group comprises folk/bluegrass musicians Paddy Kiernan and Niall Hughes, and Iranian born brothers Shahab and Shayan Coohe. Since forming in early 2016 they have performed at Bray Jazz Festival, Electric Picnic, Celtic Connections Festival, IMBOLC Festival and have received national airplay on RTE1’s ‘Arena Arts Show’ and RTE Lyric FM’s ‘The Blue of the Night’.
Syrinx by Claude Debussy and From The Life and Songs of Crow by Benjamin Dwyer
One of Ireland’s most prolific chamber and orchestral musicians and most respected teachers, William Dowdall has dedicated much of his recent life to the promotion of contemporary music. He will perform Claude Debussy’s famous 1913 short work, Syrinx. It was the first significant piece for solo flute after the Sonata in A minor composed by C.P.E. Bach over 150 years before (1747). Many musical historians believe that Syrinx played a pivotal role in the development of solo flute music in the early twentieth century. It was written as incidental music to the uncompleted play Psyché by Gabriel Mourey, and was originally called “Flûte de Pan”. Since one of Debussy’s Chansons de Bilitis had already been given that title, however, it was given its final name in reference to the myth of the amorous pursuit of the nymph Syrinx by the god Pan. William will also perform a work of which is the primary exponent- Benjamin Dwyer’s 1999 work for solo flute and electronics “Crow”, inspired by Ted Hughes “From The Life and Songs of Crow”. The controversial 1970 poetry collection presented an ideological challenge to both Christianity and humanism written between 1966 and 1969 after the death of Sylvia Plath.
“Dumka” Duo Concertante by Rebecca Clarke and Solo for Viola D’amore and Live Electronics by Matthew Whiteside
A member of Crash Ensemble, the Spackling Band and a regular with the Irish Baroque Orchestra, violist and viola d’amore-ist (!) Lisa Dowdall will present two pieces of music. The first, in the company of William Dowdall and David Adams, is by a British composer, Rebecca Clarke, her “Dumka” Duo Concertante written in 1940. A viola player herself, she was one of the first female professional orchestral players in the UK but not surprisingly for the time, sexual discrimination affected her career in many ways: reporters, for example, declared that her Viola Sonata, joint first prizewinner in a composition competition in 1919, could not have been written by a woman. The impressionism of Debussy is often mentioned in connection with her work, particularly its lush textures and modernistic harmonies. Lisa will also perform a fascinating work by another UK composer, Matthew Whiteside, his 2015 “Solo for Viola D’amore and Live Electronics”, which has been described as having the overall effect of “one of meditation – a Japanese stone garden whose raked ripples have been brought into sound”.
The baroque duo, Tonos, namely Róisín O Grady (voice) & Eamon Sweeney (baroque guitar) will visit the Kaleidoscope stage as the last stop on an 8-stop national tour, which heralds the launch of their new album “Wintersong”. Their programme comprises music of the mid-Winter and Christmas period from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Gathered from Ireland, France, Spain, England and further afield, sources of song include William Byrd, Aodh Mac Aingil, the Dublin Lute books, and that most prolific of ancient composers ‘Anonymous’!
Nava is a group of young musicians exploring the relationship between the ancient musical cultures of Ireland and Persia. It is comprised of folk/bluegrass musicians Paddy Kiernan and Niall Hughes, and Iranian born brothers Shahab and Shayan Coohe.
Their debut album, ‘Tapestry’ was recorded at Hellfire Studios, an intimate studio in the Dublin Mountains, and supported by the Arts Council of Ireland. It was launched at the National Concert of Ireland, Dublin in October 2017.
Since forming in early 2016 they have also performed at Doolin Folk Festival, Electric Picnic, WOMEX, Celtic Connections and Masters of The Tradition among others.
“Listening to the cross-cultural blend of Nava one would think the two musical cultures of Persia and Ireland had been historically connected. They haven’t…until now. A pioneering musical collaboration.”
Carl Corcoran, presenter of ‘The Blue of the Night’, RTE Lyric FM
Dublin born William Dowdall, one of Ireland’s leading musicians, combines a busy career as a soloist, chamber musician, and teacher.
He trained in Cleveland, Ohio, where his teachers included Maurice Sharp of the Cleveland Orchestra, and his interest in new music was sparked by Donald Erb, composer in residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music. On returning to Ireland at the age of 21 he was appointed principal flute of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. From 1979 to 2004 he was principal flute of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. He was appointed professor of flute at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in 2004.
He has given over 50 solo performances with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and Irish Chamber Orchestra, and has appeared at all the major festivals in Ireland.
He has been a member of the Daedalus Wind Quintet, Ulysses Ensemble, and the Ulysses Wind Quintet which was a prize-winner in the Colmar International Chamber Music Competition in 1980. As a chamber musician he has also guested with the RTÉ Vanbrugh and Parisii string quartets.
Solo performances abroad have taken him around Europe, and to the USA, China, and New Zealand, and Australia. His work has been broadcast extensively by the Irish public service broadcaster, RTÉ, and he has also broadcast on BBC radio and television, Australian Television, and Shanghai Radio.
In addition to a wide ranging repertoire, his interest in contemporary music led him to develop a workshop based on contemporary solo flute music by Irish composers, which has been presented in Europe, United States, New Zealand, and Australia to considerable acclaim. He has introduced Irish audiences to new works from the international repertoire, and has actively promoted the music of Irish composers abroad. Many Irish composers have written works for him and he premiered a new work by John Buckley for flute and orchestra with the RTÉ NSO and toured with it around Ireland in 2006 and performed it again with the NSO in January 2009.
In the last two years alone he has given 8 world premieres of works by Irish composers and has espoused the flute music of composers such as Bernstein, Boulez, Takemitsu, Henze, Varèse, and Maxwell Davies in Ireland. He recently gave the Irish premiere of Takemitsu’s “I Can Hear the Water Dreaming” with the RTÉ NSO.
As a solo artist he has made critically-acclaimed recordings for Goasco, Naxos, Marco Polo, Black Box, and Celestial Harmonies labels and is currently involved in a project with Atoll Records to record Irish and New Zealand works for solo flute and flute and electronics.
He plays on a platinum flute by Brannen, a wooden flute by Abell, a Louis Lot dated 1891 and an alto flute by Eva Kingma.
Having studied in the UK, Holland, Limerick and Switzerland, Lisa has returned to her hometown of Dublin to join the revolution in changing the attitude towards classical music in Ireland. It all began for Lisa when she first performed with the Crash Ensemble in its US Debut in 2007 in Merkin Hall. She became excited by the musical ethos behind Crash and the relentless enthusiasm of its members towards the music. The energy of the ensemble and its audience opened up a new philosophy to Lisa in how to present concerts. Lisa has since set up the Irish Chamber Music Society to spread this idea of chamber music throughout Ireland in all its forms from early music through classical to hardcore contemporary, experimenting with new musical genres, art forms and venues.
Lisa’s teachers have included Roger Bigley at the Royal Northern College of Music, Marjolein Dispa at the Amsterdam Conservatorium, Bruno Giuranna at the University of Limerick and the Conservatorio Svizzerra Italiana with masterclasses from Yuri Bashmet, Nobuko Imai, Thomas Reibl, Isabel Charisius and Milan Skampa.
She is a string resident at the Britten Pears Programme in where she is generously supported by ‘Aldeburgh Residencies’. Lisa plays a 1820 John Furber Viola which she was able to buy after receiving bursaries from Musician’s Benevolent Fund, the Kathleen Trust and the Lynn Foundation. Lisa also plays with two bows by modern Irish makers, Noel Burke and Robert Pierce.
Irish Early Music group, tonos, comprises Róisín O’ Grady (Soprano) and Eamon Sweeney (Baroque Guitar), and specialises in the little-known repertoire for voice and early guitar. Our performances feature a unique blend of Irish and European music from the 16th, 17th & 18th centuries from diverse sources as Claudio Monteverdi, Turlough O’Carolan, John Dowland, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Henry Purcell and Traditional Irish music. We particularly enjoy juxtaposing Early Irish music with works by contemporaneous English and Continental masters: highlighting common threads and distinct differences. The employment of Irish harpers at many European royal courts during the Renaissance and Baroque periods inspires our repertoire, and we like to investigate how Irish and European music may have cross-fertilised.
Concerts programmes tend to be structured around a particular historical theme; recent themes have included The Wild Geese and The Flight of the Earls. Quotes are employed from early literary sources (e.g. The Annals of the Four Masters, English State Papers); the better to flesh out the narrative and deepen the sense of atmosphere.
tonos‘ music appeals to a large cross-section of the concert-going public, attracting audiences who enjoy Classical Music, Early Music, Irish Music, Vocal Music, Guitar Music. While the concerts are highly accessible to a general public they also appeal to the specialist: our Performance Practice is always historically-informed.
The Spanish word ‘tonos’ translates as ‘tone.’ With regard to seventeenth-century Spanish music it might suggest a scale suggested by each guitar chord. However, the term originates from Ancient Greece where it described a musical concept pertaining to the placement of scale patterns at different pitches. In the modern Greek language ‘tonós’ indicates the stressed syllable of a word. We also like that the resonance of the word resembles ‘sean-nós’, meaning ‘old-style’ in the Irish language.