St. Barrahane's Church Festival of Music and Concerts

St. Barrahane's Church of Ireland


(8km from Skibbereen)

Co. Cork, P81 AH51


+353 86 226 4797 (Jacqueline Weij)

Vanbrugh and Friends in Baltimore

March 24, 2024

3:00 pm


Organised in collaboration with the National String Quartet Foundation
The concert is supported by the Arts Council, Cork County Council and RTE Lyric FM

Venue: St. Matthew's Church, Baltimore, P81 YC80, 3pm

Tickets €15
Online, at the door, at Thornhill Electrical Skibbereen or text/call 086 226 4797


Keith Pascoe, violin
Marja Gaynor, violin
Simon Aspell, viola
Ed Creedon, viola
Christopher Marwood, cello
Maria O’Connor, cello


Beethoven       String Quintet in E flat major Op.4 [1795]
Brahms             String Sextet in G major Op.36 [1865]

The Vanbrugh and their guests present two fine and highly contrasted works from the extended chamber music repertoire. Beethoven’s early string quintet Op.4 is his own re-working of his wind octet written in Vienna in 1793 where there was great demand for light-hearted wind band music. The arrangement for strings offers an attractive and elegant lightness of touch. In contrast, Brahms’ extraordinary G major sextet is the work of a composer at the peak of his powers, its mood ranging from the restrained beauty of the opening bars to the boisterous party music in the scherzo and the relaxed playfulness of the finale. The 32-year-old composer wrote it in idyllic surroundings near Baden-Baden, Germany and it was premiered in Boston, Massachusetts in 1866.

The Vanbrugh has evolved from the work of the Vanbrugh Quartet which was based in Cork as RTE’s Resident Quartet from 1986 to 2013 and as Artists-in-Residence at University College, Cork from 1990 until the retirement of violinist Gregory Ellis in 2017. Over three decades the quartet gave close to three thousand concerts, presenting the chamber music repertoire to audiences throughout Ireland, Europe, the Americas, and the Far East. Commercial recordings include more than thirty CDs of repertoire ranging from the complete Beethoven quartets to many contemporary Irish works. In 2016 the group was presented with the National Concert Hall’s Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of their contribution to music in Ireland.
Keith Pascoe, Simon Aspell, and Christopher Marwood continue to perform together as the nucleus of the Vanbrugh and are joined by guest artists for performances of a wide range of chamber music repertoire.

Keith Pascoe, violin
Keith Pascoe was invited to join the Vanbrugh Quartet in 1998 whilst still a London-based musician. He studied violin, piano, chamber music, and conducting at the Royal College of Music under Jaroslav Vanecek, Eileen Reynolds, Aeolian and Amadeus Quartets, and Norman Del Mar. In 1985 he founded the Britten Quartet who became EMI exclusive artists having previously made numerous recordings with other labels, touring the world for ten years. After the Britten Quartet disbanded, it wasn’t long before he heard Ireland’s call…
In Cork he hit the ground running with a hectic national and international schedule, touring for nearly twenty years with the Vanbrugh Quartet. In quieter times he was inspired to take further studies including research into the music of Luigi Boccherini. Several of his critical editions have been published, and he is lecturer in chamber music and violin at TU Dublin.
His solo violin work includes performing cycles of the complete Mozart and Beethoven Sonatas on a tour of Ireland supported by the Arts Council. And as director-violinist of Evlana, an Irish contemporary music group, he continues to work with living Irish composers. As conductor of the Cork Fleischmann Symphony Orchestra for many years, he has conducted and played concertos on numerous occasions.
The renaissance of the Vanbrugh has brought him further inspiration and refocus, opening new possibilities in repertoire, collaborations and artistic challenges.

Marja Gaynor, violin
Originally from Finland, Marja Gaynor is a Cork-based violinist and viola player. She specialises in Baroque music and is a member of Irish Baroque Orchestra and Camerata Kilkenny, recording and touring with both groups regularly. She has also performed with Irish Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Marsyas, Dunedin Consort, London Handel Players, King's Consort and Helsinki Baroque Orchestra. Marja is known as a versatile musician at home in many different styles, a fluent improviser, as well as arranger and curator. Her string arranging credits include Oscar-winning song "Falling Slowly" from the movie Once, and Marja is also a long time member of the cult band Interference. Upcoming projects include chamber music tours with Solas Quartet and The Vanbrugh and performing and arranging as a trio with uilleann piper David Power and flamenco guitarist John Walsh. She teaches violin and chamber music in MTU Cork School of Music.

Simon Aspell, viola
A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, London, Simon Aspell is one of Ireland’s leading viola players. Aside of his work with Vanbrugh Quartet, Simon has also had a successful career as an orchestral principal, guesting with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, as well as appearing as soloist and recitalist throughout Ireland and the UK. A frequent guest with numerous ensembles, Simon has also joined his colleagues at the RIAM’s chamber group ACE (Academy Chamber Ensemble), performing regularly throughout Ireland. Simon teaches viola and chamber music at MTU Cork School of Music and at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, in Dublin.

Ed Creedon, viola
Ed Creedon enjoys a varied career as a viola player, performing chamber music, in recitals and as an orchestral musician. Recent performances include the National Concert Hall Chamber Music Gathering, tours throughout Ireland with the Lir String Quartet, tours to Finland, France and India with Camerata Ireland as well as solo performances with Camerata Ireland and Barry Douglas.
Chamber music highlights include performances with the Vanbrugh Quartet, as well as appearances with the Ficino Ensemble in Dublin, the Piatti Quartet in the U.K., at the Ortús Festival in Cork, and repeat invitations to the Clandeboye Festival in Belfast and the Killaloe Festival of Chamber Music. For four consecutive summers he took part in the West Cork Chamber Music Festival’s Young Musicians Programme.
Ed comes from Cork and studied with Constantin Zanidache and Simon Aspell at the Cork School of Music.

Christopher Marwood, cello
Christopher Marwood graduated from Cambridge University in 1983 and went on to study at London’s Royal Academy of Music and Conservatorium Maastricht. Cello teachers included Florence Hooton, David Strange, Ralph Kirshbaum, William Pleeth and Radu Aldulescu. His chamber music mentor for several years was Emmanuel Hurwitz.
As cellist of the Vanbrugh Quartet for 32 years, Christopher Marwood enjoyed a busy career performing throughout Ireland and touring worldwide. He co-founded the West Cork Chamber Music Festival in 1996 and remains director of the Festival’s masterclass programme. He is director of the National String Quartet Foundation, planning and raising funds for more than fifty concerts annually. He teaches at MTU Cork School of Music and at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and continues to perform both as soloist and as chamber musician. His recent CD of works by Boris Tchaikovsky was nominated for the 2019 International Classical Music Awards.

Maria O’Connor, cello
Cellist Maria O’Connor holds both a B.Mus and an MA from the MTU Cork School of Music. She was a prize winner in numerous competitions including Feis Ceoil, Feis Maitiu and the CSM Concerto and Chamber Music Competition. During her studies she was a guest soloist with the CSM Symphony Orchestra, and performed on many occasions with the Chiral Quartet. Maria has performed in numerous venues and festivals at home and abroad including the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Killaloe Music Festival, the Music in Drumcliffe festival and in the RDS Rising Stars recital series, the Jeuneusses Musicales Festival and at Guildhall, London. She enjoys a diverse career as a chamber musician, orchestral player and teacher. She is currently principal cellist with the Irish Memory Orchestra and has toured with them in both Ireland and abroad. As a freelance cellist she also plays with Cello Ireland, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the Kerry Scotia Ensemble.