Belfast Telegraph

Sir James Galway to launch Ulster Orchestra season

By Alf McCreary

Sir James Galway will help to spark off the Ulster Orchestra's new season.

The world-renowned solo flautist will perform a special concerto by Bill Whelan, the composer of the highly-successful Riverdance.

The concerto - Linen And Lace - was written for Galway, the orchestra's artist laureate, and will be part of a gala concert in the Waterfront Hall during Belfast's Culture Night celebrations on September 22.

The appearance will follow on from his acclaimed concert in the Waterfront last month to complete the orchestra's 50th anniversary celebrations.

The Culture Night concert will feature a programme of music from around the world, including Latin American rhythms.

It will be conducted by the Ulster Orchestra's world-renowned music director Rafael Payare, who spent his early career in his native Venezuela.

One of the top soloists in the coming year will be his wife Alisa Weilerstein, the internationally-acclaimed cellist.

She will perform in a concert to be conducted by her husband in the Ulster Hall on November 10.

The main theme of the season will be The Great Concertos, with works by Sibelius, Dvorak, Elgar and Vaughan Williams.

All will be conducted by the orchestra's principal guest conductor, Jan van Steen. Payare will conduct some of the major powerhouse works in the classical symphonies, including by Beethoven, Mahler, Brahms and Shostakovich.

During the season the orchestra will perform many of the old favourites, including The Messiah.

And, for children, The Snowman at Christmas.

There will also be a new seasonal spectacular titled The Magic Of Christmas.

Highly-popular evenings of Viennese music are scheduled in the new year.

Several concerts of pop music in the Waterfront Hall will celebrate the work of the film music composer John Williams and Abba, as well as an evening of works from the best of the West End and Broadway musicals.

A repeat of the orchestra's highly-successful series of nine lunchtime concerts in the Ulster Hall is also scheduled.

The orchestra reports a good uptake of subscription bookings, and ticket sales are now open to the public.

The ensemble had a successful season last year, and has made much progress since the cash crisis that threatened its future two years ago.

However, it is understood that its financial future is not yet secure.

Renewed efforts are being made by management to make this a reality before another financial crunch period looms towards the end of this year.

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