Thank you: A look back at 2023

2023 saw Chamber Music on Valentia celebrate its 10th Festival with a packed eclectic programme that  finished on Sunday 18th August in a unique and spellbinding performance by Iarla Ó Lionáird who shared with us so many songs with deep connections to our language and country, some with close Kerry connections too. He was joined by Darragh Morgan violin  and Seth Parker Woods cello, two of this year’s festival artists and Cormac McCarthy (arranger) on keyboards. 

This year’s performers came from USA, UK, Austria and all over Ireland, including celebrated internationally based Irish musicians returning to perform ‘at home’ for the first time in many years. This reflection of the stellar quality of Irish musicians throughout the global diaspora is to be celebrated. 

We had magnificent performances in Glanleam House, Church of the Immaculate Conception, Church of St Dorarca and St Teresa, Church of St John the Baptist, The Royal Hotel, Atlantic Villa’s Poly Royale, the Cable Station and the Lighthouse. Our audiences travelled from far and wide, and made a keen presence on the island for the weekend. The programme was one that brought the largest ensemble yet to the festival in a concert featuring Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti and other stunning chamber music such as Brahms Piano Quintet and Clarinet Trio and Schubert’s Trout Quintet. We featured young Irish artists in side-by-side and solo performances and partnered with Music Generation Kerry. We took time too to remember and dedicate concerts to two very close friends of the Festival, no longer with us and very much missed (Brian Morgan and Peter MacNamara).

As well as our concerts and workshops, our now unmissable ‘Musical Map’ on Saturday 17th saw multiple free admission events including our winning digital installation by Stephen Power which remains accessible on line, film screening, a focus on the harp plus an up-close performance and Q and A with four participants in response to our call for participation.

All of the above is just the tip of the iceberg and we would like to take this moment to thank every single person who helped produce this year’s Festival and make it such a joyous occasion. Events such as this don’t happen just in the space of four days and we appreciate the support and flexibility of all involved.

Jessica and Eoin at Glanleam House open up their home to us every year to present a chamber concert and reception in the most idyllic setting. Derarca Goldie and Jackie Morgan open up their homes to musicians who need spaces to prepare and also as venues. Russell provides us with a keyboard and Richard and Marie Williams help us throughout the year in planning events in the churches on the island and working with those who care for these special spaces. Lucian Horvat and his team at the Lighthouse and the Cable Station allow for these unique venues to be brought to life in different ways with our events as does Valentia Island Development Company. The Royal Hotel is a hub of information and this year enabled us to screen films. The Tourist Office is another local support and we are grateful to Walsh’s Shop for selling physical tickets.

Of course the amazing musicians and artists that come to Valentia to rehearse and bring their performances to these unique venues and share so openly with our audiences makes this Festival unique. And the Festival Management Team led by Nathan James Dearden and this year consisting of Anne Dullea White, Dáithí Morgan and Darragh Clawson.

To our Friends and Supporters, your donations are valued and essential to the ecosystem of a Festival such as this. As well as the support of our funders Arts Council Ireland, Kerry County Council and Fexco. 

Next steps

Next year’s Festival, the 11th, is being planned for 15th to 18th August 2024. 

There will be news to share in the New Year and please contact with any queries.

And there are photos and videos to enjoy on and our YouTube page.

See you in 2024!