Programme announced for the 22nd West Cork Chamber Music Festival June 30th  – July 8th  2017

Tamsin Waley-Cohen

WEST Cork Music is delighted to announce a stellar line-up for the 2017 West Cork Chamber Music Festival, which runs from June 30th to July 8th in the beautiful town of Bantry.

The Doric Quartet from the UK, Pacifica Quartet from the USA, Pavel Haas Quartet from Czechoslovakia and Zaïde Quartet from France will join a host of soloists including British violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen, Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud, German violinist Viviane Hagner, Finnish pianist Joonas Ahonen, American violinist Miranda Cuckson, Irish violinist Mairéad Hickey, German-Canadian cellist Johanes Moser and many more.

A year on from Ireland’s 1916 commemorations, Finland will be celebrating the centenary of its independence: The West Cork Chamber Music Festival marks this centenary with Finnish composer Kalevi Aho’s Quintet for Piano and Winds performed by Finland’s Christoffer Sundqvist and Joonas Ahonen and others. Further centenaries are marked during the Festival: Violin Sonatas by Respighi, Debussy and Elgar, all composed in 1917. These will be performed by violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen and pianist Huw Watkins on Saturday July 1st.

The Festival has a reputation for programming contemporary work alongside more familiar music and 2017 will see the world premiere of a new commission by the young Irish composer, Sam Perkin. Irish premieres include the Pacifica Quartet’s performance of Julia Wolfe’s Splendid Hopes and Donnacha Dennehy’s The Weather of It, performed by The Doric Quartet. The Pacifica Quartet will also play contemporary composer Shulamit Ran’s Glitter, Shards, Doom, Memory – String Quartet No. 3, which was inspired by the short life, and art, of the painter Felix Nussbaum, who died at Auschwitz.

Cork percussionist Alex Petcu, who will be presenting workshops in Cork schools this spring, returns to Bantry to join a host of musicians performing David Bruce’s 2016 composition The Consolation of Rain in the Coffee Concert on Wednesday July 5th.

A rare treat is in store when the full set of Beethoven’s three piano trios, Opus 1, is played towards the end of the Festival. Number 1 is played on Wednesday, Number 2 a day later and number 3 on Friday. These pieces were first performed in 1793 in the house of Prince Lichnowsky, to whom they are dedicated. Violinist Viviane Hagner will be joined by pianist Barry Douglas and cellist Johannes Moser for these memorable concerts.

Throughout the Festival, RTÉ lyric fm broadcaster Evelyn Grant will be talking to a selection of musicians in the popular morning talks which take place in the Brick Oven restaurant. 

Ireland’s only Violin and Bow Makers Exhibition will also be held in the Old Cinema and there will be two talks by renowned makers, Conor Russell and Michiel de Hoog, during the Festival. 

This year sees the Festival expanding into other venues in the region through its Festival Fringe. Short performances by some of the Festival musicians including Mairéad Hickey, Ensemble Dagda and Voice Trio will take place throughout the week in a selection of unusual and interesting locations. General booking opens on 21st March. The complete Festival programme is available online at