Winter Chamber Festival with the Fidelio Trio

Interview and write-up: @EmerNestor

Photographs: @FMarshallPhoto

The Fidelio Trio are one of the most sought-after ensembles in the current chamber music scene. As vibrant contributors to the ever-evolving musical landscape of contemporary music, the trio's solid commitment to the performance of a diverse range of repertoire has attracted critical recognition. Acclaimed for their superb facility of sound and remarkable interpretative skills, this distinguished group of players enjoys the formidable talents of Darragh Morgan (violin), Adi Tal (cello) and Mary Dullea (piano). Having recently made their San Francisco debut, the London-based group of virtuosos have performed in venues such as Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, Purcell Room, London's South Bank, the London Royal Opera House, the National Concert Hall (Dublin), the Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre, and the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris. Their ecclectic catalogue of festival appearances includes City of London Cheltenham Music Festival, St Magnus International Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Vale of Glamorgan Festival, West Cork Music, Belfast Festival, Casa da Musica (Porto), Contemporaneamente Festival, Lodi and Palazzo Albrizzi (Venice), Symphony Space and SubCulture (New York City). The trio has recorded with labels such as Naxos, MN Records, Delphian Records, NMC Recordings, Convivium Records and the Contemporary Music Centre (Dublin).

Final Note chats with Darragh Morgan about the Fidelio's forthcoming Winter Chamber Festival at Belvedere House, their residency at St Patrick's College, Drumcondra (Dublin) and their plans for 2016.

Tell us about your three-year residency at St Patrick's College

Our time at St Patrick's was wonderfully creative, fruitful and productive. The music department staff are incredibly helpful and supportive, as is the wider college community. We really felt like we became a core part of the college fabric. It was fantastic to be involved in such a variety of musical activities over the course of three years: A number of significant world premieres by composers of notable international standing; the Lunchtime Concert Series at the college; performaces at The Helix and The Ark; and a great deal of outreach work with school children throughout North Dublin and the wider area. As part of our International Call for Scores we had many young composers travel huge distances to work with us from the UK, Europe, USA, South Africa and Japan. Our Winter Chamber Music Festival originiated at St Patrick's and due to its immense success, the President's Office of DCU [Dublin City University] has agreed to continue to fully support it this year. This is such an encouraging and positive step for a University to support the Arts in such a strong way despite the current financial climate.

What have you been up to since your residency ended in July?

There has been a lot of flying around the globe! We visited India for the first time in July and have just returned from our San Francisco debut last week. We have given lots of radio broadcasts this year, including a recent feature on BBC Radio 3's In Tune. This season we have a relationship with St John's Smith Square, London, where we are in residence presenting a three-concert series of French Repertoire. We are also looking forward to a residence at University of Birmingham this year with concerts and composer workshops.

Take us through the ethos behind the Winter Festival and your programming choices?

The theme of musical friendships features heavily in our festival ethos. In the past we have invited musical friends like soprano Patricia Rozario, whom I first worked with over 10 years ago when John Tavener wrote a huge work for us both with orchestra — The Hymn of Dawn. Last year we invited the wonderful oboist Nicholas Daniel — we first met in Aldeburgh way back in 1994! This year we will perform again with the amazing clarinetist Carol McGonnell (we have previously colaborated on a 7-date Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time, Music Network Tour). We are excited to welcome one of the most recorded French Horn soloists, Richard Watkins, whom we first met a few years ago recording contemporary Horn Trios together for NMC. Finally, we are also performing again with the wonderful flute soloist William Dowdall.

With regards to this year's programme, there is a strong French thread running through the programme, as not only are we performing these great trios often this season, including at St John's Smith Square, but we are also recording a number of them for Resonus Classics. It's always important for us to present new works (and repeat performances of new repertoire!) We premiered Benjamin Dwyer's new piano trio recently at Kings Place, London and now will present it for the first time in Ireland.

Why have you decided to hold the festival in Belvedere House?

John O' Flynn [Head of Music] showed me around the college a few years ago and as soon as I saw the Georgian Library in Belvedere House I instantly knew that this was where we needed our festival to be. It is undoubtedly a great 'kammermusik-room music' venue with intimate up-close audience active listening participation! The alcove shape of the window is also perfect for fitting in musicians and a grand piano!

What's in store for the ensemble for 2016?

2016 sees us return to Asia for a major tour that includes Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Macau and Malaysia. We will also be playing Beethoven's Triple Concerto a number of times next year and many concerts as usual throughout Ireland and the UK. We have an exciting range of commissions on the horizon, including new works from Joe Cutler, Luke Styles and a new collaboration with poet Sinéad Morrissey with new music by Piers Hellawell. We also have a number of forthcoming recording projects for Naxos, NMC and Resonus Classics.

For more information on the Winter Chamber Festival see: https://m.facebook.com/events/833080670144636/; http://www.eventbrite.ie/e/the-fidelio-trio-winter-chamber-music-festival-4-6-december-2015-tickets-19387583785

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