PURPOSE AND HISTORY OF THE FESTIVAL
Purpose of the Festival:
1. promoting high quality classical music, old and new
2. giving enjoyment to locals and tourist
3. providing a stage for artists, established as well as aspiring ones, especially from the Cork School of Music
The Festival of Classical Music was started in 1980 by Michael Sokolov-Grant with the help of Angela Eborall in the historic St. Barrahane’s Church, Castletownshend, Co. Cork with the purpose of providing music on summer evenings, and has taken place annually ever since.
The Church was built in 1826, on land donated by the Townshend family.
From street level to the door it has 52 steps, one for each Sunday of the year. The seating capacity is around 200.The Church has three wonderful stained glass windows by the renowned Irish artist Harry Clarke (1889 – 1931).
The writer Edith Somerville, who played the organ for seventy years, is buried in the graveyard alongside her cousin Violet Martin, with whom she formed the literary partnership of “Somerville & Ross”, writing such works as The Irish RM.
Many distinguished musicians have played at the Festival over the years, including:
David Agnew, Anúna, Benjamin Apple, The Carducci Quartet, Kenneth Edge, The Callino Quartet, Finghin Collins, The Contempo Quartet, Elizabeth Cooney, The Crawford Piano Trio, Thérèse Fahy, John Finucane, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Gerard Gillen, Evelyn Grant, Camilla Griesel, Ivan Ilic, The Irish Guitar Quartet, Brigid Knowles, Catherine Leonard, Philip Martin, Mel Mercier, Natalia Milstein, The Máirtίn O’Connor Trio, John O’Conor, Geraldine O’Grady, Micheál O’Suilleabhain, Cara O’Sullivan, Redmond O’Toole, Gerald Peregrine, Ioana Petcu-Colan, Alex Petcu, Maurice Seezer, Peter Sweeney, Hugh Tinney, The RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet…
Students from the Cork School of Music who have also played a significant role in developing the concerts include:
Aoife Burke, Elizabeth Cooney, Sophie Creaner, Ed Creedon, Cian Ducrot, Eoin Ducrot, Jonathan Freeman-Atwood, Brendan Garde, Elaine Kelly, Christine Kenny, David Kenny, Catherine Leonard, Tríona Milne, Siún Milne, Hugh Murray, Tom O Drisceoil, Conor Palliser, Caoimhe De Paor, Ioana Petcu-Colan, Nicky Sweeney…