John O'Conor and Veronica McSwiney
CIT Cork School of Music
Thu 23 November 2017 - 8:00 pm
Two of Ireland’s finest pianists, Veronica McSwiney and John O’Conor, perform works for two pianos by Mozart, Rachmaninoff and Milhaud, plus an arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite that garnered enthusiastic acclaim from audience and critics alike when performed by the duo in their first performance together in the National Concert Hall last year. Not to be missed!
Mozart: Sonata in D K448
Rachmaninoff: Suite No.2 (Op.17)
Milhaud: Scaramouche Suite
Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite
€20 (General admission) | €15 (Concessions | COS members)
€10 (COS concessionary members) | €5 (Students)
“A pianist of unbounding sensitivity” (Gramophone) ; “He represents a vanishing tradition that favors inner expression and atmosphere over showmanship and bravura” (Chicago Tribune) ; “Impeccable technique and musicality … it would be hard to imagine better performances” (Sunday Times – London) ; “This artist has the kind of flawless touch that makes an audience gasp” (Washington Post); “Exquisite playing” (New York Times).
The Irish pianist John O’Conor has been gathering wonderful reviews for his masterly playing for over forty years. Having studied in his native Dublin, in Vienna with Dieter Weber and been tutored by the legendary Wilhelm Kempff his unanimous 1st Prize at the International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna in 1973 opened the door to a career that has brought him all around the world.
He has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, l’Orchestre National de France, the NHK Orchestra in Japan and the Atlanta, Cleveland, San Francisco, Dallas, Montreal and Detroit Symphonies in North America. He has given concerts in many of the world’s most famous halls including Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, the Wigmore Hall and South Bank Centre in London, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Dvorak Hall in Prague, the Seoul Arts Centre, and the Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo. He enjoys collaborating in Lieder recitals and performing chamber music with many instrumentalists and ensembles such as the Cleveland, Tokyo, Vanbrugh, Vermeer, Takacs, Vogler and Ying Quartets.
John O’Conor first gained widespread attention in the USA in 1986 with the release of his first volume of Beethoven Sonatas on the Telarc label. He went on to record the complete Sonatas and these were issued as a box set in 1994. CD Review described Mr. O’Conor’s performances as “recordings of the highest calibre and Beethoven playing at its best”. Mr. O’Conor has made more than 20 recordings for Telarc, including the complete Beethoven Bagatelles (cited by the New York Times as the best recordings of these works) and Mozart Concertos with Sir Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He has also recorded the complete Nocturnes, Sonatas and Concertos of the Irish Composer John Field.
In 2007 and 2008 he recorded the complete Piano Concertos of Beethoven with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andreas Delfs and these have been greeted with great acclaim. In the past year he has released two new CDs on the Steinway label, one of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations and the other of five Haydn Sonatas.
Prof. O’Conor is regarded as one of the most important piano teachers in the world today. He is Distinguished Artist in Residence, Professor of Music and Chair of the Piano Division at Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia, Professor of Piano at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, International Visiting Artist at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Visiting Professor at Showa University in Japan. His students have won many international prizes and he is in great demand for masterclasses and as a juror at the most prestigious International Piano Competitions worldwide.
For his services to music he has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by the National University of Ireland, by Trinity College Dublin, by the Dublin Institute of Technology and by Shenandoah University, the title “Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Government, the “Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst” by the Austrian Government, the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan, and has received many other awards. In 2015 he was made an Honorary Life Member of the Royal Dublin Society.
Veronica McSwiney has been performing around the world for over fifty years. She commenced her studies in Dublin at the age of seven and later studied at the Mozarteum Academy in Salzburg under Bruno Seidlhofer and later with Ilona Kabos in London She played her first concerto with the RTESO at the tender age of fourteen, and after her Wigmore Hall debut in London, her reputation spread far beyond her native Ireland.
She was the first Irish artist to be invited by Gosconcert to perform in the Soviet Union in 1975 and following the success of that tour she was invited back on numerous occasions, playing concertos with various orchestras and also in Solo Recital throughout the USSR. She toured on many occasions in the U.S.A both as soloist and in recitals with Bernadette Greevy, the wonderful Irish Contralto. She has played with all the major Orchestras in the U.K including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the Manchester Camerata and the English Sinfonia etc. She broadcasted frequently on BBC and various Radio Stations throughout Europe. She was a very popular lecturer in Schools and Colleges throughout Ireland and subsequently was offered her own TV series in Irish Television in the 1980.
Veronica was always a very keen chamber musician and accompanist and was Music Director of the Irish National Opera from 1978 to 1980. She performed in recital with many other famous musicians, such as James Galway and Nicolai Gedda to name but a few. She played as soloist regularly with our National Symphony Orchestra and her concerto repertoire is vast. She was invited many times by Richard Baker, the well known BBC broadcaster, to join him on his Music Cruises and played at many music Festivals throughout the UK with him in programmes dedicated to Chopin and Edvard Grieg. She now plays frequently with her violinist daughter Aisling O’Dea. Aisling is one of Ireland’s talented musicians now based in Edinburgh where she is a member of the renowned Scottish Chamber Orchestra. They also play together in the Eblana Trio.
Amongst her recordings are the 18 Nocturnes of the Irish composer John Field and these, on the Claddagh label, are considered to be the finest available today.