After two years of disrupted seasons and great uncertainty, we look forward to closing the 2022/23 season on a high. Following the Irish Chamber Orchestra’s last performance in Drogheda with Sheku Kanneh-Mason in 2019, they return with Kristian Bezuidenhout at the helm. Regarded as one of today’s most notable and exciting keyboard artists, this programme of contrasting Mozart Piano Concertos will be directed from the piano and guarantees a dazzling evening of music-making.
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 18 in B♭ major, K. 456
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K. 503
IRISH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
The Irish Chamber Orchestra is Ireland’s most dynamic ensemble. Mixing traditional repertoire with new commissions and collaborating with everyone from DJs to dance companies, the ICO pushes the boundaries of what a chamber orchestra can do. These days, you are as likely to find us at the Electric Picnic as Mozartfest, but wherever we perform, the ICO delivers world-class concerts feted for their energy and style. Each year, Ireland’s busiest chamber ensemble presents concert seasons in Limerick and Dublin, embarks on two national tours, and makes a series of prestigious international appearances supported by Culture Ireland. Our Artistic Committee works closely with our Artistic Partners to devise exciting, diverse, and innovative programmes, mixing standard repertoire with new work – often specially commissioned – from the best young Irish composers. This versatile approach enables us to appeal to music fans of every stripe while upholding the highest artistic standards. The driving force behind ICO’s last decade of success has been its Principal Conductor/Artistic Partner Jörg Widmann, a composer, conductor, and clarinettist whose irrepressible energy and pursuit of excellence has enabled the ICO to expand its horizons, attracting outstanding international performers such as Thomas Zehetmair, Henning Kraggerud, Florian Donderer, Brett Dean, Sheku Kanneh-Mason Tabea Zimmermann, Igor Levit, and Elisabeth Leonskaja. Throughout the past decade, the ICO has performed at leading concert halls and festivals across Europe, the U.S.A., and South America. The ICO released a series of acclaimed recordings on the prestigious Orfeo and Alpha Classics labels. The ICO was the first Irish Orchestra to complete a three-year residency at Heidelberger Frühling and is currently orchestra-in-residence at Kilkenny Arts Festival. In May 2022, celebrated Austrian Violinist Thomas Zehetmair was appointed Principal Conductor/Artistic Partner on a three-year tenure. Zehetmair’s enthusiasm and commitment is matched by the orchestra itself, led by the ebullient Katherine Hunka, and comprises of 22 outstanding musicians. The ICO’s special rapport, forged by over 20 years of playing – and sometimes singing! – together, creates the unique sound that has captivated audiences all over the world. The orchestra enjoys outstanding support. The enthusiasm and forward thinking of CEO Gerard Keenan has been instrumental in realising some of the ICO’s most exhilarating collaborations, while the board, chaired by Aibhlín McCrann, comprises members whose diverse professional expertise is matched by their determination to realise the orchestra’s vision. At the heart of this vision is the belief that music is for everyone. That is why the ICO has implemented an ambitious and far-reaching strategy that aims to take music out of the concert hall and into the local community, inspiring children to try music for themselves, and supporting them on their journey from first lesson to public performance. Our ground-breaking initiative, Sing Out with Strings (SOWS), offers primary school children in Limerick the chance to learn free music. Now in its eleventh year, the project has been hailed as a model of social inclusion, offering opportunities for young people, developing key life skills, and providing tangible long-term benefits for participants, their families, and the wider community. The success of SOWS has inspired us to set up a youth orchestra, the ICOYO, which provides aspiring musicians aged 12 to 18 with the support they need to grow. The ICO is taking all of this a step further, providing free music across our country and beyond with a new ground-breaking and freely available online teaching resource, Sing Out With Strings Online. However, it doesn’t stop there: the orchestra has made its home at the University of Limerick for over 20 years, and UL’s MA in Classical String Performance is run under the auspices of the ICO – providing a rigorous programme with close, “hands-on” contact to the orchestra, its visiting directors, soloists, and guests. The ICO is orchestra-in-residence at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick and is funded by The Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíon.
KRISTIAN BEZUIDENHOUT, PIANO
Kristian Bezuidenhout is one of today’s most notable and exciting keyboard artists, equally at home on the fortepiano, harpsichord, and modern piano. Born in South Africa in 1979, he began his studies in Australia, completed them at the Eastman School of Music, and now lives in London. After initial training as a pianist with Rebecca Penneys, he explored early keyboards, studying harpsichord with Arthur Haas, fortepiano with Malcolm Bilson, and continuo playing and performance practice with Paul O’Dette. Kristian first gained international recognition at the age of 21 after winning the prestigious first prize, and audience prize in the Bruges Fortepiano Competition.
Kristian is a regular guest with the world’s leading ensembles including the Freiburger Barockorchester, Les Arts Florissants, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Orchestre des Champs Elysées, Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, Chicago Symphony Orchestra & the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester; and has guest-directed (from the keyboard) the English Concert, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Tafelmusik, Collegium Vocale, Juilliard 415 and the Kammerakademie Potsdam, & Dunedin Consort (Bach St. Matthew Passion).
He has performed with celebrated artists including John Eliot Gardiner, Philippe Herreweghe, Bernhard Haitink, Daniel Harding, Frans Brüggen, Trevor Pinnock, Giovanni Antonini, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Isabelle Faust, Alina Ibragimova, Rachel Podger, Carolyn Sampson, Anne Sofie von Otter, Mark Padmore & Matthias Goerne.
Kristian’s rich and award-winning discography on Harmonia Mundi includes the complete keyboard music of Mozart (Diapason d’Or de L’année, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, & Caecilia Prize); the complete Piano Concertos of Beethoven with the Freiburger Barockorchester; Bach Violin Sonatas w. Isabelle Faust; Mozart Violin Sonatas with Petra Müllejans; Mendelssohn and Mozart Piano Concertos with the Freiburger Barockorchester (ECHO Klassik); Beethoven, & Mozart Lieder, and Schumann Dichterliebe with Mark Padmore (Edison Award). In 2013 he was nominated as Gramophone Magazine’s Artist of the Year. Upcoming releases include two discs of Mozart Piano Concertos with the Freiburger Barockorchester to be recorded in May 2021.
In the 20/21 season, Kristian appears as a soloist with Essener Philharmoniker/Richard Egarr, Les Arts Florissants/William Christie, Kammerorchester Basel/Giovanni Antonini, Orchestre National de France/Emmanuel Krivine and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra/Klaus Makela. His play-direct visits include Concerto Copenhagen, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Freiburger Barockorchester and English Concert. Kristian gives solo recitals, continues his close recital partnership with Anne Sofie von Otter and new collaborations with Voces 8 and Niek Baar.
Individual Concert Tickets are €20 (€18 conc.). Season Ticket €150 (applies to full price tickets only).