Irish Chamber Orchestra with Gábor Takács-Nagy (conductor)
CIT Cork School of Music
Thu 28 September 2017 - 8:00 pm
€25 / €22 / €15 / €10 / €5 (see below for details)
Cork Orchestral Society’s 80th season opens with a performance of the Irish Chamber Orchestra under the baton of the charismatic Hungarian conductor Gábor Takács-Nagy. The programme features popular works by Elgar and Brahms, plus a world premiere of a new composition by Sam Perkin (featuring guest soloist Alex Petcu).
Edward Elgar Serenade for Strings in E minor, Op. 20
Sam Perkin 365 Variations on a Gesture (for Percussionist and String Orchestra) (World Premiere)
Johannes Brahms String Sextet No 1 in B flat major, Op 18
€25 (General admission) | €22 (Concessions)
€15 (COS standard member) | €10 (COS concession member)
€5 (Students ~ only available at the box office on the night)
Elgar’s much loved Serenade was a personal favourite, an anniversary gift for his wife. ￼￼It has a youthful charm while at the same time displaying indications of the skills Elgar developed as he progressed towards musical maturity. It is reportedly the first of his compositions with which he professed himself satisfied.
The ICO continues to commission new works, funded by the Arts Council and this season features Sam Perkin’s 365 Variations on a Gesture, for percussionist Alex Petcu inspired by a lifelong fascination with waves, one of the world’s most important and fundamental phenomena.
The appeal to Brahms of a string sextet was based on the possibilities presented by the deep sonority of its two cellos and two violas playing off the soprano brilliance of two violins. Inspired by a Viennese sojourn, Brahms revels in the gutsy strength and soulful expressiveness of the lower instruments.
A native of Budapest, Gábor Takács-Nagy began to study the violin at the age of eight. As a student of the Franz Liszt Academy, he won First Prize in 1979 in the Jeno Hubay Violin Competition .and later pursued studies with Nathan Milstein. His chamber-music teachers at that time were Ferenc Rados, András Mihaly, Zoltán Székely, Sándor Végh and György Kurtag. From 1975 to 1992, he was founding member and leader of the acclaimed Takács Quartet performing with the legendary artists, Lord Menuhin, Sir Georg Solti, Isaac Stern, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Paul Tortelier, Gidon Kremer, and Andras Schiff and was regularly invited by Sviatoslav Richter to his festivals. The Takacs Quartet made many recordings for Decca and Hungaroton. In 1996, he founded the Takács Piano Trio and made world-premier recordings of works of Hungarian composers Franz Liszt, Lászlo Lajtha and Sandor Veress.
In 1998 he established the Mikrokosmos string quartet with compatriots Zoltan Tuska, Sandor Papp and Miklos Perényi, recording in 2008 the complete cycle of Bartok’s string Quartets for which they were awarded the “Excellencia” prize by Pizzicato Magazine. In 1982, he was awarded the Liszt Prize. Gábor Takács-Nagy is considered one of today’s most authentic exponents of Hungarian music, and in particular, that of Béla Bartok.
In 2002, following in a long-line of Hungarian musical tradition, Gábor Takács-Nagy turned to conducting .creating in 2005 his own string ensemble, the Camerata Bellerive as orchestra-in-residence at the annual Festival de Bellerive in Geneva. In 2006 he became the Music Director of the Weinberger Kammerorchestra and in August 2007, the Music Director of the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra. The VFCO performs every summer in the Verbier Festival and also in numerous European and Asian cities throughout the year. With the VFCO he regularly collaborates with Martha Argerich, Joshua Bell, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Vadim Repin and Emmanuel Ax as well as singers Frederica von Stade, Barbara Bonney and Angelika Kirschlager. A DVD of the performances of Beethoven’s 2nd piano concerto and Shostakovich’s concerto for piano, trumpet and strings with Martha Argerich, David Guerrier and the VFCO was released in June 2011. From 2010 until 2012 he was Music Director of the MAV Symphony Orchestra Budapest and recorded as world premier the epic “Bards of Wales” oratorio by Karl Jenkins. Since September 2011 he is Music Director of Manchester Camerata, one of the UK’s leading chamber orchestras and since September 2012 is Principal Guest Conductor of the Budapest Festival Orchestra . In January 2013 he was appointed Principal Artistic Partner of the Irish Chamber Orchestra.
Gábor Takács-Nagy is a dedicated and highly sought-after chamber-music teacher. He is Professor of String Quartet at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Geneva and International Chair in Chamber Music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. In June 2012 he was awarded honorary membership of the Royal Academy of Music in London. In March 2017 he was awarded the prestigious Béla Bartók-Ditta Pásztory Prize.
The Irish Chamber Orchestra (ICO) is Ireland’s finest chamber orchestra, combining high quality performances with an expansive artistic vision. Virtuosic, innovative and creative, the ICO blazes a trail with its unique collaborative approach and its rich relationships with an array of creative partners.
The ICO continues to work with Jörg Widmann (Principal Conductor/Artistic Partner) who continues to expand audiences, at home and abroad, with his with his vision. Under the leadership of Katherine Hunka, the orchestra is one of Ireland’s busiest touring ensembles, both nationally and internationally. In 2017/18 Jörg Widmann turns his attention to the music of Schubert and Schumann, alongside his own innovative works. The ICO firmly believes Widmann’s approach to be the way of the future for classical music, and is confident that he will continue to shape and develop the orchestra with his artistic insight and brilliance.
The ICO opens its season with Benjamin Britten’s Owen Wingrave, partnering with Opera Collective Ireland. The orchestra collaborates with some of the finest international guest soloists in its 2017/18 season. Maestro Gabor Takács-Nagy makes a welcome return in September with Alex Petcu as featured soloist. Jörg Widmann re-introduces his sister, the violinist Carolin Widmann who performs Mendelssohn’s great violin concerto. In between, bassoonist-turned-conductor Peter Whelan conducts the orchestra for the first time, on a Bach tour. We welcome back the very popular Mullingar-born soprano, Ailish Tynan for festive feast of favourites. In 2018, Jörg Widmann welcomes back the aerial dance troupe Fidget Feet, who will perform with us at home, and for the first time in Germany. We anticipate our first collaboration with the legendary Elisabeth Leonskaja – whose artistry is nurtured by roots deeply embedded in the famous Russian-Soviet school of pianism. Leonskaja will perform with ICO for the first time in Ireland, and thereafter in Essen and Heidelberg.
As ever, Irish composers are very much to the fore, and this season the orchestra performs a newly commissioned composition for Percussion and Strings by Cork-born composer Sam Perkin (funded by the Arts Council). The orchestra enjoys fruitful relationships with an array of Irish composers including Garrett Sholdice, John Kinsella, Linda Buckley, Elaine Agnew, Míchael Ó Súilleabháin, Frank Corcoran, Ian Wilson, and with UK composer Tariq O’Regan.
The orchestra’s trail-blazing approach continues to attract the world’s finest musicians, both international and national. Recent and present collaborators include Peter Whelan, Ailish Tynan, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Carolin Widmann, Mojca Erdmann, István Várdai, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, Igor Levit, Thomas Zehetmair, Claron McFadden, Gilles Vonsattel, Gloria Rehm, Jochen Rieder, Sergeij Nakariakov, Tabea Zimmermann, Pekka Kuusisto, James Galway, Jonathan Cohen, Finghin Collins and Michael McHale.
The orchestra has successfully toured across Europe, Australia, South Korea, China and the US. Since his first appearance with the orchestra (Berlin 2007), Jörg Widmann has injected unprecedented energy which has seen the orchestra appear at prestigious festivals and venues throughout Europe. In February 2017, the ICO and Jörg Widmann performed in Blaibach, Neumarkt, Brussels and Freiburg with great success. In March, the orchestra made its debut at the Konzerthaus Vienna to great acclaim, before returning to Heidelberg for the 2nd year of its international (3-year) residency there, at the distinguished Heidelberger Frühling Festival. In 2018, the Irish Chamber Orchestra performs in Leverkusen and Essen, before returning to Heidelberg to complete its residency there. The orchestra returns to Würzburg’s prestigious Mozart Festival in June.
Adding to the orchestra’s already numerous CD recordings, the Orfeo label has just released the second of a series of three CDs of Mendelssohn’s Symphonies combined with works by Jörg Widmann, as directed by him. Outside the concert hall, the Irish Chamber Orchestra inspires and supports communities with a vitality unmatched by other ensembles. Its Sing Out with Strings initiative provides free tuition in singing, song writing, violin, viola cello and bass to 300 children throughout Limerick city – developing key life skills by using music as a tool for tangible social change.
The Irish Chamber Orchestra is resident at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. The orchestra is generously funded by The Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíon. Additional support from Culture Ireland contributes significantly towards the ICO’s international touring initiatives.