Continuing on the success of last year’s 4-day edition, ‘Chamber Music on Valentia’, with invaluable local support, took place from 15-18 August for 2019. The programme saw some very exciting new initiatives and continued to work on the now established staples of the programming of this unique festival. On the opening day, we welcomed stars of the piano world: John O’Conor, David Quigley and, for the first time at the festival, a jazz pianist in a late-night performance by Darius Brubeck (son of jazz legend, Dave Brubeck). This day of events in the wonderful acoustic of the Church of St. John the Baptist was recorded by RTÉ Lyric FM for future broadcast, a great boost for the festival. The largest ensemble was for the stunning closing concert at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, culminating in Mendelssohn’s String Octet but also featuring a tribute to one of our recent guests, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin with his rousing rendition for string quartet of Óiche Nollag. Our roster of performers from the UK, USA and Ireland extended to the superb Swiss cello and guitar ‘Duo Singer & Fischer’ who also formed the core of the ever-popular Family Concert at The Lighthouse.
We welcomed 4 young artists for an invaluable side-by-side rehearsal and performance experience with our 4 string players and they had solo spots in the Musical Map event at Atlantic Villa. Other items on the Musical Map were a showing of a moving 1970’s RTÉ documentary on Ernest Moeran (buried in Kenmare and 2 years resident on Valentia) and we witnessed spectacular overhead views of Valentia in the 70’s. This was made possible in the cinema space of Valentia Island Dairy Ice Cream. Darragh Morgan returned to Danú House with a programme of Telemann for solo violin and one of our most experiential items this year was Karen Power’s incredible ‘sounds like the amazon…..’ which concluded with a special performance on a Saturday afternoon incorporating sounds collected on Valentia itself at the RNLI, who opened their doors to audiences for 2 days. Glanleam House again hosted a concert and reception in what has become a centre point to the Festival, with a programme of chamber music entitled ‘Fairytales and Fauré’. The Irish harp was brought to Valentia by Úna Monaghan on the final day, hosted by The Ring Lyne, Chapeltown and another new venture was a stunning one-woman opera on very contemporary themes performed by Anna Prowse at the home of Tom and Barbara Mastaglio in Corabeg, yet another of the many spectacular settings on this island that make this Festival so unique. And anyone lucky enough to attend another late-night event, ‘Minimalism Unwrapped’ could not fail to be moved by Gavin Bryars’ The Sinking of the Titanic.
The Festival continues to grow its national and international reputation through its programming and how it fits in this very special island of Valentia, with its wonderful venues and topography and we welcome each year, more and more diverse and far-reaching audiences. We are already excited about the 2020 Festival, 13-16 August, which will be announced in the New Year. None of this would be possible without local support, volunteers, funding and the venues themselves. From the Festival team, a big THANK YOU.
We are seeking to build our vital body of supporters through the ‘Friends of the Festival’ scheme. If you are interested in receiving information on how to become a helper or how to support the Festival by becoming a Friend, please get in touch.Mary Dullea