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Irish Chamber Orchestra to make historic Viennese debut later this month

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This March will see the Irish Chamber Orchestra make its historic debut at the prestigious Konzerthaus in Vienna.

The Vienna performance is a significant one for the orchestra as the ICO will be the first Irish orchestra to perform at the prestigious Vienna Konzerthaus for two nights, continuing to Heidelberg for the second of its 3-year residency at the Heidelberger-fruehling, one of Germany’s most celebrated music festival.

The ICO will showcase REFORMATION in Vienna on the 23rd and 24th March and in Heidelberg on 28th March.

Welcoming back Igor Levit, one of the world’s leading pianists, the orchestra will also showcase their Vienna progamme in both Limerick and Dublin later this month.

igor levit
Pianist Igor Levit

The Irish Chamber Orchestra relocated to the University of Limerick in 1995 and anchored itself firmly at the heart of the college, successfully raising over €3.5m to build its own unique purpose built studio.

The orchestra is funded by the Arts Council and regarded as one of the country’s finest cultural ambassadors, priding itself on its diverse approach to music.

The orchestra is currently artistically driven by two of Europe’s most prominent musicians, who bring their own individual styles to the ICO.

With the combined vision of Hungarian maestro Gábor Takács-Nagy (Principal Artistic Partner) and German composer/clarinet, Jörg Widmann (Principal Conductor/Artistic Partner), the ICO seeks to expand audiences at home and abroad.

ICO Leader Katherine Hunka

Under the leadership of Katherine Hunka, the orchestra is one of Ireland’s busiest touring ensembles.  The ICO has many strings to its multiple bows including a very successful education initiative in Limerick city enabling 300 children from regenerating areas of the city to play string instruments Sing Out With Strings.

The ICO has placed a firm stamp on the European map in recent years.  The orchestra is in its 2nd year of a 3-year Residency at the Heidelberger Frühling festival (28 March), the largest music festival in South Germany which ranks among the top international festivals for classical music.

They have also appeared in Cologne where the orchestra dazzled an audience in excess of 2,000 people. So successful was the Cologne performance that the ICO have been invited back to perform there in 2018 & and again in 2019.  The orchestra has just undertaken a 4-day European tour to Blaibach, Neumarkt, Brussels and Freiburg.

This month will see the ICO perform in Limerick and Dublin (Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 March respectively).

Vienna’s Konzerthaus

These concerts will showcase the ICO’s ongoing relationship with one of the world’s fast-rising pianists, Russian-born Igor Levit and coincide with the ICO’s debut at the prestigious Konzerthaus Vienna on the 23rd and 24th March.

This 1,800 seater venue is regarded as one of the largest and most artistically progressive institutions in international music and is central to Vienna’s reputation as one of the world’s leading music capitals.

The ICO will perform a fabulous programme of music from Mozart and Mendelssohn.  Mozart’s magnificent Don Giovanni Overture counter-balances the powerful close of Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony (No. 5), commemorating the 500thanniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, this year.

Levit boasts a virtuoso technique that delivers effortless passage-work and immaculately calibrated voicing.  In this much anticipated performance Levit plays Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major.  

This wildly popular Concerto was penned by a twenty-nine-year old Mozart, and brought very much to the fore since featuring in the 1967 film, Elvira Madigan.

Mozart’s C major Fugue was first composed for two pianos, but the composer later re-arranged it for strings – adding an introductory Adagio reminiscent of a French overture.

The theme of the Fugue is strongly rhythmic.  Widmann brings his own twist to the Andante from Mendelssohn’s Clarinet & Piano Sonata, which he has arranged for Clarinet, String Orchestra and Celesta – featuring Widmann on Clarinet as Levit exchanges his Grand Piano for the Celesta.

This fabulous showcase will play UCH Limerick on Tuesday 21st the National Concert Hall in Dublin on Wednesday 22nd March.

The full programme will include:

Jörg Widmann Director/Clarinet

Igor Levit Piano/Celesta

Mozart                                        Don Giovanni Overture, K. 527

Mozart                                        Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K. 546

Mozart                                        Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467 Elvira Madigan

Mendelssohn                                Andante from Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in E flat major

for Clarinet, String Orchestra and Celesta (arr. Widmann 2016)

Mendelssohn                               Symphony No. 5 in D, Op. 107 Reformation

Tuesday 21 March                          University Concert Hall, Limerick @ 8pm

Wednesday 22 March                     National Concert Hall, Dublin @ 8pm

In 2018, Widmann and the ICO will return to Germany to perform in Leverkusen collaborating with Limerick-based aerial dance troup, Fidget Feet.

In March 2018, the orchestra will perform at the Philharmonie in Essen before returning for its final concert at the Heidelberger-fruehling on 27 March.

orch2June 2018 will see the Orchestra return to Wurzburg, for the Mozart Festival, Germany’s oldest music festival. This month-long festival provides top-class Orchestral/chamber concerts with internationally renowned artists attracting audiences of 25,000.

Closer to home the orchestra run a very successful concert season in Limerick and Dublin (Sept-May) and undertakes national tours twice yearly.

They recently collaborated to great success on a tour with Chamber Choir Ireland and plan another big collaboration with Northern Ireland Opera touring with Handel’s Radamisto (6-14 May).

They also plan to undertake a national tour in June of iconic American works.

For more info on the ICO check out www.irishchamberorchestra.com




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