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A feast of chamber music in Russborough

West Wicklow Festival at Russborough House


The Benyounes Quartet

The Benyounes Quartet

The Benyounes Quartet


Ballyknockan farmer and concert pianist Fiachra Garvey hosted the second West Wicklow Festival, a feast of chamber music, at the Palladian Russborough House from Thursday to Sunday.

Things got under way with performances on the Thursday by Fiachra, clarinet virtuoso Julian Bliss and Philip Higham, principal cellist of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, with music from Beethoven, Debussy, Poulenc and Brahms.

On Friday Fiachra and the award-winning Benyounes Quartet presented music by Haydn, Debussy and Schumann. Two concerts took place on Saturday, one with Julian Bliss, Philip Higham and the Benyounes Quartet performing the music of Brahms and Schubert, with the second show featuring Philip Higham performing compositions by Bach.

There were some fun family-orientated activities on the Sunday, including the West Wicklow Music Trail through the parklands of Russborough and a free family concert.

The final concert of the festival saw renowned Irish baritone Gavan Ring and Fiachra Garvey perform music by Rossini, Verdi, Debussy, Quilter, Schubert, Chopin, Vaughan Williams and a selection of Irish songs in St Mary's Church.

The Ballymore Eustace Concert Band clarinet section were fortunate to get tickets to the sold out performance by world famous clarinettist Julian Bliss and couldn't contain their joy when Julian took some time out to meet the group after his concert. He seemed particularly taken by 11-year-old Jekabs Brants, a promising young clarinettist who hones his skills in Ballymore Eustace.

Ballymore Eustace Concert Band return to Russborough House on Saturday, June 30, at 2 p.m. to perform in the hippodrome as part of the Ninette de Valois International Dance Festival.