Belfast Telegraph

Classical Music 04/09/09

By Rathcol

As one of the themes of this year’s BBC Summer Invitation Concerts with the Ulster Orchestra, the Friday night series has featured several Irish pianists.

Tonight sees the culmination of this series and appropriately a young Northern Irish-born pianist tops the bill.

Michael McHale’s decision to pursue the path of concert pianism came relatively late in comparison to some of his performing contemporaries whose future was marked out for them while “still in short trousers” by attending one of the specialist music schools in the UK.

Michael chose a less direct route to get where he now is but he is none the worse for that musically. His recent appearances on the concert platform and on disc have deservedly earned him acclaim and international recognition: “a smart, restrained and fastidious display” (Washington) ... “a magician who glides across the keys” (Berlin) ... “an elegant sensibility, and bright even fingered articulation that was instantly engaging” (London). High praise indeed.

Michael is soloist in Cesar Franck’s Symphonic Variations at tonight’s concert in the Ulster Hall, Belfast which begins at 7.45pm.

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