St Canice’s Cathedral is the main home for the Classical music strand beautifully woven together again by Susan Proud. This series of concerts starts with a performance by organist Joonho Park in St Canice’s. Park is most recently first prize at the Dublin International Organ Competition in 2011.His concert for Kilkenny explores the organ music from Schumann’s playful Four Sketches to Messiaen’s Messe de la Pentecôte, and the Toccata from Maurice Duruflé’s Suite op. 5.
The opening weekend continues with The Irish Youth Choir giving a concert in The Black Abbey, Abbey St. Conducted by Greg Beardsell, this year they will perform Mozart, Haydn, Tavener & Arvo Part, in this their 30th Anniversary year. This return sees over 100 of Ireland finest singers aged between 18 & 28 celebrate Soundworlds: A tribute to all free thinkers and free imaginers, past and present. It also features a world premiere of a new piece by composer Jonathan Nangle which was made possible by the Arts Council commissioning scheme.
The 1st weekend closes with a concert by the exquisite La Morra with Spanish Songs of the Early Renaissance. This international formation of young Early Music specialists came together at the famous Swiss Early Music university – the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis – in 2000. Since then the ensemble has toured all over Europe and the United States, taking some of the most prestigious Early Music events by storm.
Monday in St Canice’s sees Finnish composer Eero Hämeenniemi present a unique cross-cultural collaboration that effortlessly blends the music of two distinguished classical traditions: Indian and European. A quartet of extraordinary musicians, including Markku Luolajan-Mikkola and Mikko Perkola, two of the foremost viola da gamba artists in the world, lutenist Eero Palviainen and tabla-player Sai Shravanam, explore classical pieces by the great French composers Marin Marais and François Couperin.
Tuesday sees the return of pianist Polina Leschenko who delighted St Canice’s in 2009 with her phenomenal technique and deep sensitivity. This year she returns with a fully-fledged quartet of outstanding musicians, Iyla Gringolts (violin); Nathan Braude (viola), and Swedish cellist Torleif Thedéen, professor at the Edsberg Music Institute in Stockholm. This quartet presents an enchanting programme including Chopin, Ravel and Fauré’s dream of romantic elopement, Après un Rêve.
On Thursday in St Canice’s LE CONCERT SPIRITUEL The Golden Age of French Sacred Music from France directed by Hervé Niquet. Join us in St Canice’s as ten outstanding female soloists testify to the exceptional dramatic sense of the French ‘Grand Siècle’. Designed to recreate the atmosphere of a seventeenth-century mass, and featuring the work of Jean-Baptiste Lully Marc-Antoine Charpentier and Louis le Prince
On Friday, Dutch baritone Maarten Koningsberger and pianist Finghin Collins return to St Canice’s to perform celebrated song cycle. Winterreise (Winter Journey), the second of Schubert’s song cycles based on the work of German poet Wilhelm Müller.
On Saturday the Kilkenny Arts Festival Choir & Orchestra is back to bring the classical programme to a triumphant close in St Canice’s. For this concert, conducted by Fergus Sheil, the choir and orchestra will perform Beethoven’s cantata Meeresstille und Glückliche Fahrt (Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage), and his Mass in C major; Berlioz’s sublimely passionate Les Nuits d’Été (Summer Nights) is scored for three soloists and orchestra and was the first orchestral song cycle ever written.