Thursday 28th April
Laurence St, Drogheda, Co Louth
Dublin’s favourite mini music festival, Kaleidoscope Night, presents an evening at the Drogheda Arts Festival that promises the audience a remarkable, never-to-be-forgotten musical experience.
The event offers the truly unique chance to see the “Krishnamurphy Mass” by Irish composer Derek Ball, which he describes as a “Cosmic Mass” for soprano, congregation, cello and chamber organ. The “Ardee Dances” by Rachel Holstead, featuring Louth’s own fiddle master, Gerry O Connor and Finnish baroque violinist Marja Gaynor (with string quartet accompaniment) is another rarely-performed treat where the baroque and Irish traditional marry. A string quintet by Luigi Boccherini (Op.39 No. 2) and the rhythm-righting Balkan-Irish fusion duo, “Crosswinds” (Aimee Farrell Courtney (bodhrán), Alexander Arcus (saxophone) complete the journey, all presented in Kaleidoscope’s unique informal, salon style in the glorious setting of Drogheda’s Highlanes Gallery.
The 2013 work by Derek Ball is described as a “Cosmic Mass for soprano, acolytes, cello, chamber organ and congregation”. Renowned Irish poet Gabriel Rosenstock, the author of the texts of the work, has said “the Aifreann promises both comic and cosmic treats…enlightenment and much more”. It is essentially a parody Mass but Derek Ball explains that there is an intended spirituality to the experience also.
Louth County Council commissioned this work from Cork-born composer Rachel Holstead in 2005 and it was premiered by the Irish Baroque Orchestra in November that year. It pits the traditional fiddle playing of Gerry O Connor as its fulcrum.
String Quintet in D major Op. 39 no. 2
A masterful melodist with a brilliant aptitude for absorbing regional idioms, Boccherini’s Op. 39 string quintets are unusual in their setting of the double bass as the fifth instrument; himself a talented cellist, we find the cello very much to the melodic fore in this work
Irish bodhrán player Aimee Farrell Courtney and Moldovan, Romania-based saxophonist Alexander Arcus forge their talents in an electrifying journey of Balkan-Irish fusion exploration.
Gerry O Connor
Gerry “Fiddle” O’Connor, born in Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland, is a fiddle player, and founding member of bands, Skylark and La Lúgh. O’Connor’s family have played fiddle for at least four generations, He has toured and recorded with members of all the legendary traditional Irish groups including Planxty, Bothy Band, De Dannan and The Chieftains.
He was co-founder and artistic director of Ceol Chairlinn, an annual teaching festival in Carlingford, Co Louth. He is also the Traditional Arts coordinator at the newly established Creative-Connexions Irish/Catalan Arts Festival in Sitges, Spain. He teaches fiddle at the Wille Clancy Summer School and at master classes throughout Europe.
Marja Tuhkanen Gaynor hails from Finland but is based in Cork, Ireland. Marja is a member of the Irish Baroque Orchestra and plays violin and viola with Camerata Kilkenny. Outside Ireland Marja works with the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra and other leading period orchestras.
She teaches baroque violin in Cork School of Music and since 2013 has been Artistic Director of East Cork Early Music Festival. Marja is also much sought after as an arranger, studio musician and collaborator in all genres. She also arranged and played the strings for ‘Falling Slowly’, winner of the Oscar award in 2008.
Elizabeth Hilliard is a soprano from Dublin who collaborates regularly with visual artists, poets, dancers and theatre-practitioners to create new work. Highlights of Elizabeth’s 2015-16 season include a collaboration with video-artist Mihai Cucu and composer Gráinne Mulvey, Don’t Walk; premiere performance of The Way We Are (75 minute song cycle) by Derek Ball with pianist David Bremner and song recitals with Association of Irish Composers.
Elizabeth is delighted to be a Musician in Residence in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.
Aimee Farrell Courtney
The promise shown by acclaimed bodhrán player Aimée Farrell Courtney’s debut performance in Dublin’s National Concert Hall at the tender age of eight was realised when she won the 2010 World Bodhrán Championship. Since then she has gone on to collaborate with musicians such as Donal Lunny, Liam O’Flynn, and Alyth McCormack and perform in venues such as The O2 Arena (Dublin) and The Hermitage Theatre (Russia).Aimée holds a Bachelor of Music degree from DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, specialising in Irish Traditional Music.
Graduating with First Class Honours, Aimée was also awarded the Leo Rowsome Gold Medal for outstanding traditional performance and the Michael McNamara Gold Medal for outstanding overall performance.