Friday 8 DECEMBER 2023
Presenting John Finucane, Jessie Grimes (clarinets) & Finghin Collins (piano)
Three leading Irish musicians with busy international careers come together for this concert of duos and trios including Schumann’s collection of fantasies which are full of humour, emotional intensity and not least, pianistic elegance. This will be Jessie Grimes and John Finucane’s debut at Drogheda Classical Music.
Felix Mendelssohn Concert Piece No. 2 in D minor, Op.114
Schumann Fantasiestücke, Op. 12
Poulenc Sonata for two clarinets
Joan Trimble The Pool Amongst the Rushes
Clarinettist John Finucane, who has been Principal Clarinet with Ireland’s RTE National Symphony Orchestra since 1995, has also had an active career as a soloist, chamber musician and conductor in Ireland and abroad. Described by Gramophone magazine as ‘an outstanding virtuoso’, on the release of his CD “Clarinet Variations,” he has worked with the Ulysses Ensemble, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Welsh National Opera, Opera North and Irish Film Orchestras. He has appeared regularly on radio and on television programmes, including RTE’s The Symphony Sessions and Britain’s The South Bank Show. He has a particular affinity to chamber music and has worked with many groups, including the Ysaye, the Navarra and the Vanbrugh Quartets.
John Finucane is also a conductor of note, having studied with Janus Furst and Albert Rosen amongst others, and has regularly conducted the highly regarded RTE Concert Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra and Opera Theatre Company. He was one of the founders of the Dublin Chamber Orchestra and has been the Musical Director of the Hibernian Orchestra for nearly thirty years. Despite his hugely busy life as a performing artist and conductor, John has found the time to join the faculty of the Royal Irish Academy of Music. His many tours have included China, as a soloist as well as with the National Chamber Ensemble of Ireland and Academy Chamber Ensemble performing to sell-out audiences. John recently finished conducting the music for a forthcoming film, Storm in the Stars – with music by Amelia Warner, arranged and orchestrated by Nathan Klein, and recorded in Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin. This follows conducting the music for a John Boorman film called “In My Country” in 2004.
He is a D’Addario Woodwinds Performing Artist.
London based Irish clarinettist Jessie Grimes has a varied and eclectic career. With a clarinet in hand she is equally at home giving a chamber music recital as improvising with toddlers. When the clarinet is in its case she makes do with a microphone, presenting family concerts for major orchestras across the UK and Ireland, and dabbling in radio and podcasts.
Alongside 2021 RPS Enterprise Award recipients the Jacquin Trio, she has won competitions including the Royal Overseas League and St Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Music Competitions. As a soloist she has performed at venues including the Purcell Room, St Martin in the Fields and St John’s Smith Square.
Jessie has always loved being part of a giant orchestral sound. She’s been principal clarinet of the Wexford Festival Opera Orchestra since 2014, trialled as co-principal clarinet with the RTE Concert Orchestra and has also enjoyed guesting with UK and Irish symphony, chamber, radio and session orchestras.
Passionate about sharing music, she teaches at the Royal College of Music Junior Department, has been a contributor to BBC Radio 3 and has presented live on BBC television. Over lockdown 2020 she launched Jessie’s Homemade Garden Jam, a live-streamed chamber music and gardening show which garnered thousands of views and some passionate and loyal fans both online and over the fence! In 2021 it won a prestigious RPS Trailblazer Award and was featured on Classic FM and in Grow Your Own Magazine.
She is keen to ensure music is available to everyone, and leads education projects for the City of London Sinfonia, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, and Sinfonia Viva among others. She is a core member of the award-winning London Rhymes project, writing songs with parents and toddlers in challenging circumstances. They were commissioned to compose and refresh the KS1 primary curriculum for Sing Up, have albums on Spotify/YouTube and a live touring show.
Jessie graduated with an MMus from the RCM in 2011 whilst living with Aisling Manning and learning the art of building triple decker sandwiches from her talented husband Philip. As well as garnering top sandwich skills, she was awarded the WCOM Silver Medal for Outstanding Musical Achievement as well as RCM Rising Star and Senior Woodwind Prizes.
One of Ireland’s most successful musicians, Finghin Collins was born in Dublin in 1977 and studied piano at the Royal Irish Academy of Music with John O’Conor and at the Geneva Conservatoire with Dominique Merlet. He took first prize at the Clara Haskil International Piano Competition in Switzerland in 1999. Since then he has continued to enjoy a flourishing international career that takes him all over Europe and the United States, as well to the Far East and Australia.
Collins has performed with many of the world’s finest orchestras and conductors. He has also given solo recitals in many of the world’s most prestigious halls and participates frequently in chamber music festivals with a variety of colleagues of international standing.
Finghin Collins is very active as a programmer, commissioner and concert presenter in Ireland, having been Artistic Director of the New Ross Piano Festival since its inception in 2006, and Artistic Director of Music for Galway since 2013. In March 2023 he was appointed Artistic Director of the Dublin International Piano Competition. He will chair the jury of the Clara Haskil International Piano Competition in Switzerland in 2023 and 2025.
In October 2017, the National University of Ireland conferred on him an honorary Degree of Doctor of Music, in recognition of his outstanding achievements.
Individual Concert Tickets are €20 (€18 conc.). Season Ticket €150 (applies to full price tickets only).
Tickets can be purchased on line at www.droghedaclassicalmusic.com