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One-off event to replace New Ross piano festival

World premiere with London postponed, work progressing on major tapestry project

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Director Finghin Collins

Director Finghin Collins

Director Finghin Collins

New Ross Piano Festival has been postponed until next year and in its place a one off event will be held to mark the occasion.

A meticulously planned programme of performances for the late September festival has been shelved.

Festival director Connie Tantrum said the decision was painstakingly taken arising from the festival's large scale and significant international element.

'The brochure with all the exciting programme detail was about to go to print when Covid-19 struck,' Ms Tantrum said.

'We plan to perform that programme, with the same artists as far as is possible, in 2021. There are still many uncertainties about the future, but we hope that the situation in late September will allow us to present a one-off special event to mark the date. We foresee making that announcement in late August. Many of our regular audience members have reacted very enthusiastically to that possibility and indicated a wish to attend such an event if it is possible.'

Ms Tantrum thanked the festival's financial backers during this difficult time, particularly the Arts Council, Wexford County Council and members of the festival's Friends Scheme.

The festival committee are preparing the printing of the third and final volume of the Ros Tapestry Suite, the commissioning of which took place between 2014 and 2016.

'The Ros Tapestry Suite is the most ambitious project undertaken by the New Ross Piano Festival since its inception in 2006. It is a suite of 15 piano pieces, each composed by a different Irish composer, all inspired by one of the panels of the Ros Tapestry.'

Based on the 15 large embroidered Ros Tapestry panels - which tell the tale in thread of the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century and the subsequent settling of the main towns of the southeast - there is a particular focus on New Ross and on St Mary's Church, where the piano festival takes place.

'The Suite is therefore the perfect musical marriage of two important cultural pillars of the town. They were premiered by an array of Irish and international pianists, five at a time, at the three piano festivals in September 2014, 2015 and 2016. The different ways in which the composers responded to this allotted task were most interesting. The composers were of all ages and came from all parts of Ireland. They all had their unique influences, reflexes and musical languages and this gave rise to a fascinating diversity of musical discourse. Volumes I and II have already been printed and a CD of the complete suite is also available from our website.'

The festival's artistic director Finghin Collins has been collaborating with the London Piano Festival is being progressed.

'We are sharing the commissioning of a new work from the renowned UK composer Sally Beamish, a work which will be performed at both festivals. The London Festival came into being because of the experience of two pianists who came to play at the New Ross Piano Festival and loved it so much that they set up their own highly successful event. The new commission was to have had its world premiere at this year's New Ross festival followed by a performance at the London Piano Festival which, alas, has also been cancelled. We hope you will hear past performances from the last 14 festivals on RTE Lyric FM over the coming months.'

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