RTÉ Concert Orchestra

Saturday 18th November 2023 | 7.30pm
City Hall, Cork

The RTÉ Concert Orchestra, with conductor David Brophy, makes a most welcome return to Cork with a wonderful programme featuring Beethoven’s popular 6th Symphony, the “Pastoral”; Zoltán Kodály’s orchestral suite, Dances of Galánta, based on folk music of Galánta (now part of Slovakia) where the composer spent his childhood; and a selection of sublime arias by Mozart, Rossini and Gounod with soprano Majella Cullagh, one of Ireland’s foremost international opera singers, as soloist.


€35 (General Admission) | €32 (Concessions) | €30 (COS members)

€25 (General Admission) | €22 (Concessions) | €20 (COS members)

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Kodály: Dances of Galánta
Rossini: Una voce poco fa*
Mozart: Non mi dir (including recit)*
Gounod: Jewel Song*
Beethoven: Symphony No.6 in F Major, ‘Pastoral’

RTÉ Concert Orchestra
Majella Cullagh, soprano*
David Brophy, conductor

David Brophy was born in Dublin and is a graduate of the Dublin Institute of Technology and Trinity College Dublin. Following further studies in Ireland, England and Holland, he was appointed Apprentice Conductor with Chamber Choir Ireland and subsequently became the first appointee as Assistant Conductor with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland. A former Principal Conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, David now enjoys a close relationship with both RTÉ orchestras in addition to regular appearances as guest conductor with the Ulster Orchestra. His career has seen him conduct throughout Europe, Africa, the United States, Canada and China.

David has collaborated with many internationally acclaimed soloists, among them, Tasmin Little, Barry Douglas, Willard White, Lesley Garret, Sir James Galway, Lang Lang, Danielle de Niese, Nicola Benedetti, Kim Criswell and Chloë Hanslip. He has conducted in the US with the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra and the Naples Philharmonic, in Spain with Orquesta Nacional Clásica de Andorra and Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, and at home with all major Irish orchestras. Appearances overseas have included performances at New York’s Lincoln Centre with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and at London’s Barbican Centre as part of their Silent Film & Live Music series alongside his 2014 debut with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia in the Fabulous Beast Stravinsky double-bill (The Rite of Spring and Petrushka) at Sadler’s Wells. Most recent foreign engagements have seen him début with some of America’s finest orchestras including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra Washington D.C.

His work with specialist new music ensembles, among them Vox 21 and Crash Ensemble, has led to numerous premieres including the Irish premiere of Steve Reich’s Music for Eighteen Musicians and Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, alongside recent world premieres of arrangements by Nico Muhly for Iarla Ó Lionáird. David’s operatic work has led to acclaimed partnerships with Lyric Opera Productions, Opera Theatre Company, Opera Ireland, Glasthule Opera and NI Opera, while he recently made his debut with Ballet Ireland for their production of The Nutcracker. In addition, he has collaborated in concert with the actors, Brendan Gleeson, Fiona Shaw and Stephen Rae.

David has worked closely with numerous singer/songwriters, among them Eleanor McEvoy, Paul Brady, Brian Kennedy and Declan O’Rourke, composers including Shaun Davey, Neil Martin, Bill Whelan, Arvo Pärt, David Fennessy and Donnacha Dennehy, traditional musicians including Altan, Liam O’Flynn, Sharon Corr, Máirtín O’Connor, Lúnasa, The Chieftains, Clannad, Rita Connolly, Carlos Núñez, Sharon Shannon and Martin Hayes. His broad musical tastes have also seen collaborations with U2, Sinéad O’Connor, Jon Lord (Deep Purple), Duke Special, Celtic Thunder, Imelda May, Jack L, Phil Coulter, The Coronas, Neil Hannon (Divine Comedy), Eddi Reader (Fairground Attraction) and Marti Pellow (Wet Wet Wet). He has appeared at all major festivals in Ireland, most notably with the RTÉCO at the Electric Picnic, and has conducted at the Proms in the Park as part of the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms.

He has broadcast on RTÉ, BBC, CBC (Canada), Sky Arts 2 and across the EBU and has recorded for Silva Screen, Lyric FM, Tara Records, V2 Records, New World Records and Compass Records recording labels. His television appearances include the National Concert Hall’s 25th anniversary gala concert, The Symphony Sessions (RTÉ) and Proms in the Park (BBC) with the Ulster Orchestra. Film credits include Shaun Davey’s scores for The Abduction Club and Ella Enchanted while his recent recording of Victor Herbert’s operetta Eileen for New World Records, conducting the Orchestra of Ireland in collaboration with triple Grammy award-winning producer Judith Shermann, has been released to wide critical acclaim.

With Rough Magic Theatre Company, he won the 2013 Sky Arts Ignition Award, pitching with director Lynne Parker to present Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, presented as a co-production with Opera Theatre Company.

Aside from his work as a musician, David presented the RTE1 award-winning TV series Instrumental and most recently fronted the IFTA award-winning High Hopes Choir for Tyrone Productions and RTE1 TV. He has most recently been appointed to the board of Ireland’s Contemporary Music Centre.

Majella Cullagh is one of Ireland’s foremost international opera singers. Her repertoire spans baroque to bel canto, verismo to contemporary music. Engagements include Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda (Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, and Royal Swedish Opera), Rossini’s La gazza ladra (Arena di Verona), Handel’s Amadigi (Opera Theatre Company/Covent Garden Festival), Massenet’s Manon (Opera New Zealand), Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Opera North), Verdi’s La traviata (Glyndebourne On Tour), Puccini’s La bohème (Royal Albert Hall) and Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg at the Teatro di San Carlo, Naples. Oratorio performances include Verdi’s Requiem in Milan and Amsterdam, Handel’s Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall and Rossini’s Stabat Mater at the Rossini Festival in Bad Wildbad. Majella has an impressive discography of over forty recordings including Rossini’s Le siège de Corinthe (Naxos), Mercadante’s Zaira (Opera Rara) and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (Chandos). She joined the vocal faculty of the MTU Cork School of Music in 2020 and has adjudicated at competitions and conservatoires in the UK and Ireland.

Introducing orchestral music to new audiences since 1948, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra has built a strong connection with the public that saw it voted the World’s Favourite Orchestra 2015. Eclectic programming sees the RTÉ CO perform with artists including Pavarotti, Lang Lang, Lalo Schifrin, Marvin Hamlisch and Cleo Laine. Performances with Irish artists include Declan O’Rourke, Sinéad O’Connor, Imelda May, Eleanor McEvoy, Wallis Bird, Maura O’Connell, Lisa Hannigan, Mick Flannery, James Vincent McMorrow, Faye O’Rourke, Andrea Corr and Jerry Fish. A hugely successful collaboration with RTÉ 2fm and DJ Jenny Greene won the IMRO Outstanding Achievement Award 2018, and early in 2020 A Woman’s Heart Orchestrated and a Leonard Cohen tribute made a strong impact both as live events and as TV and radio broadcasts.

The RTÉ CO performed in seven Eurovision Song Contests, including the famous Riverdance interval act. Film credits include Stephen Rennicks’ score to Room and Brian Byrne’s Golden Globe-nominated score to Albert Nobbs. Recordings include Korngold’s Violin Concerto with Andrew Haveron conducted by John Wilson, Howard Shore’s A Palace Upon the Ruins and Niall Horan’s Flicker.

Opera, ballet and choral performances include collaborations with Irish National Opera, English National Ballet and Our Lady’s Choral Society. Films performed with live score include the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the world première of Vertigo, the Irish première of A Nightmare Before Christmas performed with Danny Elfman and Mise Éire.

The RTÉ CO has appeared as the ‘house orchestra’ on The Late Late Show, on Dancing with the Stars, in the Centenary concert, in InstrumentalThe High Hopes Choir and Shine. ‘The RTÉ Concert Orchestra Presents…’ broadcasts on Bank Holidays on RTÉ Radio 1 have featured collaborations with top talent including Villagers, Zoë Conway, Moving Hearts and John Grant.

During the COVID-19 pandemic the RTÉ CO produced a wide range of work including new Guy Barker jazz arrangements, an award-winning John Lennon tribute, a 50th anniversary Clannad celebration, a chart-topping single and a TV tribute to David Bowie with an international line-up including members of Bowie’s own band.

Recent projects have included Thin Lizzy Orchestratedthe world première screening of Room with live score and a rare combination of blues and orchestra in the Delta Blues Project, a concert introduced by Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman.