25 Mar 2021
An international festival of outstanding cello music and sensory delight is tuning up in Galway in the West of Ireland, ready to stream worldwide from 25 – 31 March.
Cellissimo – Music for the Senses, presented online by Music for Galway and Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, is bringing major classical music figures together to celebrate of the resonant sounds of the instrument loved the world over for its similarity to the human voice.
The seven-day festival, re-imagined as part of Galway 2020, will present both free and tiered ticketed events, with Mischa Maisky, Marc Coppey, Adrian Brendel, Tatjana Vassiljeva, and Natalie Haas among the top international artists set to perform.
In addition to the concerts, music-lovers will have the option of purchasing unique add-on ‘sensory delights’ connected to specific events. These include the likes of Irish farmhouse cheeses, Connemara ale and lager, and even scent parcels made from foraged ingredients that capture the unique aromas of the West of Ireland.
Majestic Kylemore Abbey in Connemara will be the backdrop for a cracking opening night of well-loved classics on 25 March. Featuring the Irish Chamber Orchestra, directed by French cellist par excellence Marc Coppey, the programme will include Vivaldi's toe-tapping double cello concerto, for which Marc will be joined by his former student, the Dublin cellist Christopher Ellis.
The night includes a world premiere of ‘Fragments’ by Riverdance composer Bill Whelan. Performed by cellist Naomi Berrill, this will feature the first outing of the Galway Cello, specially crafted for the festival by distinguished luthier Kuros Torkzadeh from timbers grown in County Galway.
Portumna Castle, County Galway
Seventeenth-century Irish splendour will be to the fore on the Sunday evening (28 March) concert, which comes from Portumna Castle on the shores of Lough Derg. Beforehand, audiences can take part in a guided online tour of the castle and its history before settling down to watch the ConTempo Quartet and cellist Christopher Marwood performing Mozart and Schubert.
Further highlights of a busy week include a series of performances on Music for Galway’s YouTube channel, a talk on the making of the Galway Cello, a student showcase concert, a Beethoven 250 Marathon and a children's show taking place on the weekend before the main festival opens.
Cellissimo – Music for the Senses comes to a spectacular finale on 31 March with an intimate concert by one of the world’s most sought-after cellists. For this extraordinary event, viewers will be able to take their senses for a stroll through the Galway region by availing of the Cellissimo Scent Kit.
As a preamble there will be two special events – a talk on Mstislav Rostropovich, the most famous cellist of the twentieth century, and a not-to-be-missed screening of The Cellist, telling the story of American cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. Then Latvian-born Israeli cellist Mischa Maisky will be joined by his daughter, the pianist Lily Maisky, to play works by Beethoven, Mozart, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Britten and Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla.
The full programme and tickets for each event are available at musicforgalway.ie/cellissimo. All performances will be available to access and purchase until 4 April, when they will come off-line at 7.30pm Irish time.
The Galway Cello Lineup
Mischa Maisky photo by Hideki Shiozawa
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