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Birmingham Conservatoire to host Delius and Ireland celebration

22 May 2013

De-Wet Lee will peform John Ireland's Piano Concerto
De-Wet Lee will peform John Ireland's Piano Concerto

Birmingham Conservatoire will host a five-day festival during 17­­–21 June to showcase the work of Delius and Ireland, including performances of the complete solo piano works and piano concerto by John Ireland.

 Pianist and British music specialist Mark Bebbington, who has recorded the complete solo piano works of John Ireland for SOMM, and in many ways inspired the Festival as a piano tutor at the Conservatoire, will open the inaugural recital with two of Ireland’s most significant works; the Sonata and Rhapsody.

'It seems to me that the piano music of John Ireland is not only one of the most substantial, but also one of the most neglected legacies of any twentieth-century British composer', he explains.

'Ireland wrote for the piano throughout his life and from the outset, his natural kinship with the instrument is self-evident; whether drawing the last measure of tonal splendour from a masterpiece such as Sarnia, or evoking his beloved West Sussex countryside in his miniature Amberley Wild Brooks, Ireland's keyboard works are an unparalleled achievement in British pianism.

'John Ireland was alive to wider influences, as well – French Impressionism and the Expressionist works of Alban Berg, for example – but he evolved a bitter-sweet musical language that was all his own.  Above all, though, his piano writing conveys an undertow of wistful melancholy that lends these works a quite unique expressive intensity.'

There will be the opportunity to hear more about Ireland’s piano music when Bruce Phillips, Chairman of the John Ireland Charitable Trust, gives an informative lecture on 19 June in the Arena Foyer.    

Other pianists taking part include Katharine Lam, Duncan Honeybourne, John Thwaites, Victor Sangorgio, Yu-Fen Lin, and stalwart of the keyboard, Margaret Fingerhut, who will be performing Ireland's London Pieces. 

Tickets will be available on the door and full details of the programme can be found here


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