Saturday 21 April 2018

My cultural life: artistic director Ciara Higgins

Ciara Higgins, artistic director of the Great Music in Irish Houses Festival.
Ciara Higgins, artistic director of the Great Music in Irish Houses Festival.
Couple Under an Umbrella
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
TV: Mad Men

Ciara Higgins is artistic director of the Great Music in Irish Houses Festival, which runs from June 7 to 12. The 2016 event boasts a line-up of celebrated artists, both international and home-grown, who will perform in a variety of intimate, iconic and non-traditional concert venues over the six days. Ciara is also concerts manager at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. A former student of the RIAM where her teachers were Doris Keogh (flute) and Patricia Herbert and Gillian Smith (piano), she is an honours music education graduate of Trinity College.

Music: Schubert's Quintet in C major

I do have a special place in my heart for Schubert's extraordinary String Quintet, which will be performed by the Carducci Quartet and Guy Johnston at the National Botanic Gardens on June 7 as part of the Great Music in Irish Houses Festival. The sublime slow movement is of another world and never fails to deeply move me. With the year that is in it, the music of David Bowie and Prince is featuring a lot on my iPod playlist.

Art: Couple Under An Umbrella

Couple Under an Umbrella

I have been lucky enough to spend numerous summers in Paris, where I have seen so many incredible exhibitions over the years, in addition to iconic works from the collections. However, one work that has stayed with me is Ron Mueck's stunning, large-scale and hyper-realistic sculpture Couple Under An Umbrella, which I saw at his solo exhibition at the Fondation Cartier. Mueck captures the most beautiful of intimate relationships in this very real, sensuous and sensitive work of art.

Film: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Almost any film by the genius that is Tim Burton. However, if I must pick one, the enchantingly bonkers Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with the perfectly cast Johnny Depp and the delightful David Kelly. The magical Mr Burton is also on my dream dinner-party guest list. I hope one day to "persuade" him to take on a remake of The Wizard of Oz with Depp as both The Scarecrow and The Wizard of Oz and the fabulous Helena Bonham Carter as The Wicked Witch of the West. Call me, Mr Burton!

Book: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The utterly beautiful The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominque Bauby, the former-editor-in-chief of French Elle who suffered a crippling stroke that left him with locked-in syndrome. He wrote this incredible book with the help of assistants using a method known as the Silent Alphabet - which involved blinking his eyelid to depict the letters of words, one by one. It took him 200,000 blinks to complete it. Truly inspirational.

TV: Mad Men

TV: Mad Men

Mad Men and it's a toss-up as to why. The divine Jon Hamm and the equally divine costumes by Janie Bryant, which I hugely covet. Needless to say, the brilliant, complex characters played by a stellar cast are further reasons that it is top of my TV list. I miss this show SO much.

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