Musician's mission to encourage a new generation
A Dublin-born clarinettist is hoping to inspire the next generation of musicians at this year's French-themed Clandeboye Festival, where she will perform a moving piece by World War 2 prisoner of war and renowned composer Olivier Messiaen.
Jessie Grimes will take to the stage this evening to perform Messiaen's stirring Quartet for the End of Time, written in POW camp Stalag VIII-A and first performed to an audience of prisoners and guards in 1941.
Jessie said she is "delighted" to perform the piece, and to return to the County Down festival, in Bangor - which she once attended as a student - in the roles of performer and teacher.
"For me, the Quartet for the End of Time is the central point of the festival. It's a huge seminal work in classical music and one of the most profound pieces of music ever written," she told the Belfast Telegraph. "Despite being written in a POW camp after a guard had slipped Messiaen some sheets for music, it is about humanity and joy.
"It is rarely played in Northern Ireland, and it is a privilege to play in the Messiaen quartet with pianist Florent Boffard, Marc Coppey on cello and Dmitry Sitkovetsky on the violin."
Jessie, who is principal clarinet at Wexford Festival Opera Orchestra and guests with the BBC and RTE Orchestras, Royal Opera House and Camerata Ireland, is also encouraging eager students to follow in her footsteps. "As well as recitals on Monday and Tuesday, I will be judging the students' concert - I really hope that seeing me perform will inspire them to keep working," she explained.
"It has been 10 years since I was a student and I think I can speak to them on a slightly different level. Clandeboye is really important, it gives young musicians a whole other arena. Usually I give a seminar on surviving the professional world as a musician and the skills needed in today's classical music world."
She added: "Our generation need to be flexible, to be soloists, chamber musicians and orchestral musicians. On Wednesday I will be flying to Helsinki to play a show from memory, sing and act at the same time. You need to be a jack of all trades to be a 21st century musician."