The first Donegal Chamber Music Fesitval, which was held in Glenveagh and the Glebe Gallery from Saturday May 30th – Sunday June 1st, was a huge success.

A total of four concerts were held over the course of the Bank Holiday weekend.

The first and last concerts presented a variety of music from the classical repertoire spanning 5 Centuries, and each of the four concerts contained a piece by the contemporary composer Vincent Kennedy, who also conducts the Donegal Youth Orchestra.

Vincent gave illuminating introductions to his compositions – a bonus for the appreciative audience.

Guest artist during the Friday concert was flautist Sarah Murphy, who excelled in both solo and ensemble performances.

A surprising collaboration concluded the Saturday afternoon session in the auditorium of the Glenveagh Visitors Centre – well-known Gweedore sean-nós singer Dominic Mac Giolla Bhríde sang a selection from his repertoire to the accompaniment of the Donegal Chamber Orchestra.  These two very different worlds complemented each other in a wonderful way.

This whole weekend of music did not happen out of the blue. Seven years of dedicated teaching and musicianship on the part of Víctor Yélamo and his wife Orsolya have led up to this Festival in the beautiful setting of Glenveagh.

Victor and Orsolya came to live in Donegal as a result of the establishment here of a Local Music Education Partnership (under the auspices of the former V.E.C., now E.T.B), which provides instruments and instrumental tuition across the county. Not content with teaching and playing at an international level, Victor and Orsolya play regularly with the celebrated Concerto Malaga, ­they have created other ensembles in Donegal.

The Festival featured the Junior String Orchestra (which played in the courtyard of the Glebe Gallery in brilliant sunshine), the more advanced Donegal Chamber Orchestra and the fully professional Donegal Camerata String Quintet ­which brought the Festival to a joyous conclusion on the Sunday night. Thanks are due to the participants, the musicians, the audiences and all who facilitated the event.

This first Donegal Chamber Music Festival was promoted by the Donegal Chamber Music Society (DCMS), an umbrella organization created in 2009 with the aim of fostering an appreciation of classical music in County Donegal.

DCMS collaborates with other musical agencies, artists and workshops, and has been presenting regular monthly concerts in Letterkenny and elsewhere for the last three years. 

The next promoted event, in association with the Donegal Music Education Partnership, will be the Cello Meeting Ireland workshop, 19th-22nd June, in Stranorlar and Ballybofey.

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