One of Ireland’s leading chamber music festivals, now in its 48th year, Great Music in Irish Houses 2018 runs from 12-17 June with yet another impressive line-up, bringing nine events in different venues across the Greater Dublin area.

Tenor Robin Tritschler returns, accompanied by the Sacconi Quartet, to perform the Irish premiere of Jonathan Dove’s song-cycle In Damascus (2016). Setting words by the poet Ali Safar, directly responding to the crisis in Syria, this intensely-moving work has already found many admirers. Festival-goers will have the opportunity to hear this piece performed by the quartet for which it was written, and sung by one of our finest recitalists.

The award-winning young Scottish guitarist Sean Shibe makes his first visit to Dublin with two recitals. Reflecting his radical take on the classical guitar repertoire, he opens with a Bach/Dowland/Britten recital at Rathfarnham Castle and follows this with softLOUD, a programme for electric guitar created for the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Given in Waterways Ireland’s Docklands Office (the ‘Box on the Docks’) in Grand Canal Dock, softLOUD mixes lute repertoire from the Scottish Renaissance with music by Peter Maxwell Davies, Steve Reich, and James MacMillan, alongside Shibe’s own multi-track arrangement of LAD by Julia Wolfe, originally composed for nine bagpipes.

Other highlights of the festival include a welcome return visit by Irish clarinettist Carol McGonnell, first playing Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet with the Modigliani Quartet, and then in a programme of contemporary works for solo clarinet, including Ann Cleare’s Eyam. This performance forms part of the festival’s ‘Dublin Musical Saunter’ on the closing day, to be followed by appearances by soprano Anna Devin (accompanied by Dearbhla Collins) and, celebrating his 60th birthday, pianist Hugh Tinney.

Great Music in Irish Houses 2018 runs 12-17 June. For full programme details and booking information, see www.greatmusicinirishhouses.com

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