The European premiere of Madison’s Descent, by Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, will be the the opening event of this year’s Junction Festival on Friday, July 5th. The performance, which will be conducted by the highly esteemed Irish conductor Fergus Sheil, will take place in St Mary’s Church in Irishtown at 8.30pm and will be recorded by Lyric FM for broadcast in the autumn.
Festival Director David Teevan said he was delighted to include this show in the programme for 2013. “It is a real coup for the town to get the European premiere of a major work by Ó Súilleabháin”. He also noted that it was due to the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of the local singers in the Festival Choir that the the organisation had been able to take on this project, and he added that there were still some places available to singers who wished to join the choir and be part of this big occasion.
This will be the first appearance by the Clonmel man Ó Súilleabháin - who holds the chair of Music at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick - at the annual Junction Festival. Since moving to Limerick from Cork, where he worked for many years, he has performed and recorded regularly with the Irish Chamber Orchestra. He is much in demand internationally, having recently performed in Brussels for the launch of the Irish EU presidency and at the prestigious Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow earlier this year.
Ó Súilleabháin will be joined by the world renowned Irish saxophonist Kenneth Edge, a soprano soloist and The Carolan Chamber Orchestra, a 14-piece string and horn chamber orchestra. This exciting line-up of visiting artists with be performing with the Clonmel Junction Festival Choir.
The Festival Choir was first assembled in 2010 for a one-off choral project with a visiting French Choir Mistress Marie Laure Fochet. Such was the success of this project and the enthusiasm of the choristers that the Festival engaged Viennese conductor Elizabeth Attl in 2011 and 2012 to work with the choir. The choir has grown in confidence, as each year they have successfully performed a more complex and challenging repertoire. Ongoing development work with the choir is being supported by the VEC adult education office, with projects for 2014 and 2015 already in the pipeline.
Madison’s Descent is inspired by a story written by an American artist Page Allen that explores the journey a soul must make to its birth. The story is told in the style of a fairytale, giving it a universal quality. It tells of who we are and who we may yet be. It is a story of poignant parting from the love that embraced us in the very beginning, of the courage of the solo traveller and of the irresistible force that draws us home to life.
Recruitment for the choir is now open. Micheal Ó Súilleabháin is looking for up to 30 choristers and anyone with some choral singing experience is welcome to apply. There is a fee of €50 per person, which includes sheet music. Rehearsals will take place in late May, throughout June and early July. There is more information on the project and an application form on Junction Festival’s website: www.junctionfestival.com or from the office at 052-6129339.
This show is being jointly sponsored by Clonmel Credit Union and Jim Gilligan and Company Chartered Accountants. Tickets are now on sale on line at the Festival website www.junctionfestival.com. Tickets cost €22/€18, while children under 15 will be admitted free.