Ireland’s premier ensemble and Festival Choir-in-Residence, Chamber Choir Ireland, maintained their collaborative association with the Festival and presented their annually awaited concert in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral. Under its conductor Paul Hillier, CCI presented an exciting and unique programme for Festival audiences. A newly commissioned piece from composer Ian Wilson was presented on the night in addition to a premier performance of the winning composition from the 2015 Séan Ó Riada Competition for Irish composers.
American Shaker songs from the early 19th Century:
Hail the memorable morn, In yonder vally, O the happy journey, Give good gifts, Simple Gifts.
Rise up my love – Howard Skempton (English, b, 1947)
American Fasola Hymns & Fuging Tunes:
I am the rose of Sharon – William Billings (1746-1800)
Amanda – Justin Morgan (1747-1798)
Brevity – Abraham Wood (1752-1804)
Jargon – William Billings
Montgomery – Justin Morgan
Winner of the 2015 Sean O’Riada Competition: WORLD PREMIERE Mother Goose’s Melodies – Eoghan Desmond
Festival Commission 2015: WORLD PREMIERE Slouching Towards Bethlehem – Ian Wilson (Irish, b. 1964)
Musicians Wrestle Everywhere – Elliott Carter (American, 1908-2012)
Chamber Choir Ireland
Chamber Choir Ireland is the country’s flagship choral ensemble under the internationally celebrated and multi-award-winning choral conductor, Paul Hillier, as Artistic Director. Formerly the National Chamber Choir of Ireland, the Choir is known for its unique approach to programming and has gained a reputation for the high artistic quality of its performances. The Choir remains a thriving force on a very active choral scene both at home and abroad. Since its inception, the Choir has made a significant contribution to the development of contemporary Irish choral music through its commitment to commissioning new work. The Choir’s repertoire spans from early to contemporary music, regularly commissioning pioneering vocal work by both Irish and International composers. Commissions have included composers such as Gerald Barry, Tarik O’Regan, Kevin Volans, Andrew Hamilton, Siobhán Cleary, and Jennifer Walshe. The Choir has a strong commitment to touring in Ireland and continues to develop its touring network in order to present high quality choral concerts to audiences all around the country. Internationally,
the Choir has toured in Europe, Asia and South America and in 2011 undertook its first US tour with the assistance of Culture Ireland as part of Imagine Ireland, a year of Irish Arts in America 2011 following on from a performance in The White House in March 2011. In 2014, the Choir performed in the prestigious Diaghilev Festival, Perm, Russia. In recent years the Choir has made a renewed commitment to recording with recent releases including One Day Fine on the RTE Lyric FM label and Acallam na Senórach on the Harmonia Mundi label, as well as a recording to accompany the publication of Choirland: An Anthology of Irish Choral Music in collaboration with the Contemporary Music Centre and the Association of Irish Choirs. Future recordings include a recording of works by Gerald Barry also featuring the Crash Ensemble (2015), and a collection of Christmas music on the Harmonia Mundi label (October 2014). The Choir continues to foster relationships with other distinguished performing ensembles and organisations both at home and abroad including the Crash Ensemble, Theatre of Voices, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Contemporary Music Centre, and the Association of Irish Choirs. The Choir enjoys a unique relationship with Cork International Choral Festival where it is Choir-in-Residence on an annual basis. Principal funding for Chamber Choir Ireland comes from the Arts Council /an Chomhairle Ealaíon, with additional support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery Fund and Dublin City Council. The Choir is a Resident Ensemble in the National Concert Hall and Affiliated Artists to Dublin City University.
Artistic Director & Principal Conductor
Paul Hillier is from Dorset in England and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.His career has embraced singing, conducting, and writing about music. Earlier in his career he was founding director of the Hilliard Ensemble, and subsequently founded Theatre of Voices. He has taught in the USA at the University of California campuses at Santa Cruz and Davis, and from 1996- 2003 was Director of the Early Music Institute at Indiana University. He was Principal Conductor of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (2001- 2007) and has been Chief Conductor of Ars Nova Copenhagen since 2003. His recordings, over a hundred CDs including seven solo recitals, have earned worldwide acclaim and won numerous prizes. His books about Arvo Pärt and Steve Reich, together with numerous anthologies of choral music, are published by Oxford University Press. In 2006 he was awarded an OBE for services to choral music. In 2007 he received the Order of the White Star of Estonia, and was awarded a Grammy for Best Choral Recording. In 2008 he took up the position of Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the National Chamber Choir of Ireland, and in 2009 was invited to form the new Coro Casa da Musica in Porto, Portugal. In 2010 he won a second Grammy (this time in the small ensemble category), for Theatre of Voices’ recording of David Lang’s ‘The Little Match Girl Passion’ (which also won a Pulitzer Prize), together with a selection of choral works by Lang, sung by Ars Nova Copenhagen.