Céad míle fáilte to the East Cork Early Music Festival 2016 where we are celebrating “Irish connections” through music. We will be presenting an array of Ireland’s leading early music specialists performing an interesting selection of works by composers from Ireland or with Irish connections. You will also, as always, be able to hear works by some of the most well-known and well-loved composers of the baroque and early classical era.

Peter Whelan

Baroque sensation Peter Whelan opens the festival with his own Ensemble Marsyas in a programme of dazzling works for woodwind by Handel and Fasch at the Curtis Auditorium, Cork School of Music. As a result of their work resurrecting music from 18th century Dublin Peter and Ensemble Marsyas were invited to perform at a special concert at London’s Wigmore Hall earlier this year to commemorate the centenary of the 1916 rising.

Rachel KellyOn Friday night Peter will direct the Cork Baroque Orchestra in a performance which showcases one of Ireland’s up and coming opera stars mezzo-soprano Rachel Kelly, a recent graduate of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden’s Young Artist Programme.

Saturday evening will see the festival move to the Sirius Arts centre in Cobh for a performance by Ireland’s only period instrument string quartet, the Giordani String Quartet, who will play music by Haydn as well as Italian composer Tommaso Giordani, an important musical figure in 18th century Dublin.

Our festival finale sees Ireland’s own Camerata Kilkenny joined by Uileann Piper David Power present a programme entitled “the piper and the faerie queen” which features traditional Irish music as well as music by 17th and 18th century composers Telemann, Handel and O’Carolan. We are very excited that this concert will see ECEMF present its first performance in the historic setting of St Multose Cathedral, Kinsale.

David Power

We always like to look to the future here at ECEMF and this year is no different with performances by the winners of the ECEMF 2015 competition Caitriona O’Mahony and Tom Ó Drisceoil as well as our ‘Barock to the future’ concert given by students from Cork ETB School of Music. ECEMF musicians will hold a baroque workshop ‘Fairies and Fireworks’ in Kinsale Temeperance Hall on Sunday morning before the festival finale which will give local musicians a chance to experience the music of Handel and Purcell like never before. We have invited students from Cork, Limerick and Dublin as well as Irish students studying abroad to perform in the Cork Baroque Orchestra for Friday night’s concert.

We will also have our festival club on Thursday and Friday nights hosted by ‘The Hibernian Muse, so please join us to meet our performers and enjoy some entertainment.

It promises to be an interesting and varied weekend of events. I hope you enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed putting it together!

– Aoife Nic Athlaoich