Belfast Telegraph

Video: Vive La France at the 16th Clandeboye Festival

This year’s Clandeboye Festival, 11-19 August, was a celebration of all things French and featured a feast of French artists and composers alongside other international, world-class musicians from US, Chile, Russia, England, Scotland and Ireland.

Set within the picturesque surroundings of Clandeboye Estate and Courtyard, the festival also provided opportunities for young, exceptionally talented musicians from the island of Ireland, to study with a mentor in the Academy and take part in showcase concerts.  Often these young musicians go on to have professional careers with festival organizers, Camerata Ireland.

Barry Douglas, international renowned Irish pianist and Artistic Director of the Clandeboye Festival and Camerata Ireland, said, “It is very exciting to be welcoming artists from the US/Chile, Russia, England, Scotland and Ireland and this year three leading French musicians.  Extended over two weekends we will have evening concerts, afternoon concerts and lunchtime one-hour concerts, concentrating on the music of French composers, and our guest quartet, The Ortús Festival Quartet, will be playing Fauré, Ravel and Debussy.  Each of our concerts will feature more French music including works by Saint-Saëns, Messiaen, Franck, Gounod and Poulenc. Once again we have Celtic Orbit with a new set of tunes from these islands and Brittany that I have arranged for Scottish musicians, Catriona McKay and Chris Stout and the wonderful local flautist Eimear McGeown. Eimear is also our soloist at the Closing Gala with Camerata Ireland.   Finally, and not least, I am delighted to welcome the Ulster Orchestra Ensemble who will play a very special programme of music and words associated with Seamus Heaney with musicians led by Ioana Pectu-Colan and narrated by writer Glenn Patterson.”

The Clandeboye Festival is also a homecoming of the all-Ireland chamber orchestra, Camerata Ireland. Since last year’s festival, Camerata has enjoyed great success at home and abroad including tours in China and leading festivals in the South of France.  The Clandeboye Festival is a great chance for music lovers to hear an orchestra of some of the finest musicians in Ireland, many of whom came through our Academy at Clandeboye.

Clandeboye Festival is supported by principal funder, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Randox Health, Ards and North Down Borough Council, the Clandeboye Estate and Courtyard, Winemark, Moonlighting and the Belfast Telegraph.

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said, “The Arts Council is delighted to support the Clandeboye Festival through National Lottery funding.  This Festival continues to offer audiences world-class, international artists alongside an impeccably curated programme of classical music.  It also showcases our most exceptional young musicians, providing them with vital mentorship opportunities.”

Randox founder and Managing Director Dr Peter FitzGerald, added, “Camerata Ireland is one of our finest exports and we are very proud of our relationship with the orchestra and the internationally-renowned Barry Douglas. Combining the finest musical talent from across this island, Camerata Ireland thrills and inspires audiences around the world. For the last 15 years Barry has brought something particularly special to the Clandeboye Festival, and 2017 is no exception with three of France’s leading musicians attending, and a performance of new work associated with the arresting poetry of Seamus Heaney. As a company that places significant value on the development of young students and graduates, we also look forward to the young musicians’ concert which can be a significant step in their early careers.”

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