Fri 19 May 2023
1:00pm | €16/13 | Promo codes can be applied at checkout
Fri 19 May 2023
1:00pm | €16/13 | Promo codes can be applied at checkout

“These programmes combine beloved works by some of the Romantic era’s greatest pianist-composers with stories of romance and heartbreak, from Romeo and Juliet to the Greek myth of Hero and Leander, from love song arrangements by Clara and Robert Schumann to more contemporary takes on love and loss.

As I turn 40 this year, I have also included music that has played an important part in my musical life, from my childhood through to the present day, and composers with whom I have a special connection. For the final concert in the series I’m thrilled to welcome to the Triskel stage some of my colleagues from the MTU Cork School of Music Keyboard Department for a celebration of some of the most iconic music written for piano duet.”Michael McHale

Photo: Leon Garald


Music by Schubert, Sholdice, Schumann and Liszt

Liszt’s Second Ballade charts the tale of Hero and Leander, one of the great love stories from Greek mythology. We also hear love song arrangements by one of the great Romantic lieder composers, Franz Schubert, the husband and wife team of Robert and Clara Schumann and the Paris-born Augusta Holmès, whose father hailed from Youghal in County Cork, as well as some beautiful and entrancing music by 21st century composers Garrett Sholdice, Philip Hammond and Missy Mazzoli.

Franz Schubert: Impromptu in A flat op.90 no.4

Franz Schubert (arr. Sholdice): Des Dischers Liebesglück (first performance)

Garrett Sholdice: Und weinen, und lächen (first performance)

Three love songs arranged for solo piano:
Augusta Holmès (arr. McHale): Evocation d’Amour
Clara Schumann (arr. McHale): Sie Liebten Sich Beide op.13 no.2
Robert Schumann (arr. Liszt): Liebeslied S.566 “Widmung”

Philip Hammond: …this hour of quiet…
Missy Mazzoli: Heartbreaker
Franz Liszt: Ballade No.2 S.171


Belfast-born Michael McHale has established himself as one of Ireland’s leading pianists and has developed a busy international career as a solo recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician.

He has performed as a soloist with the Minnesota, Hallé, Moscow Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, City of London Sinfonia, London Mozart Players and all five of the major Irish orchestras, and performed at the Tanglewood and Tokyo Spring Festivals, Wigmore Hall, London, Berlin Konzerthaus, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Lincoln Center, New York, Symphony Hall, Boston and Pesti Vigadó in Budapest.

Michael’s début solo album The Irish Piano was released in 2012 by RTÉ lyric fm and selected as ‘CD of the Week’ by the critic Norman Lebrecht. More recent solo releases include Schubert: Four Impromptus on Ergodos, and recordings as soloist with the BBC Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, RTÉ National Symphony and London Symphony Orchestras. His discography of over twenty-five albums includes releases on Delos, Nimbus Alliance, Champs Hill, and eight duo recital albums on Chandos with Michael Collins. The début album of the McGill/McHale Trio Portraits on Cedille featuring special narrations by Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali was released in 2017 and immediately entered the Top 25 US Billboard Classical Chart. Recent releases include an album for BIS featuring trios by Mozart, Schumann, Bruch and Stravinsky and a solo album of Beethoven Sonatas, Moonlight.

Winner of the Terence Judd/Hallé Award in 2009, Michael was also awarded the Brennan and Field Prizes at the 2006 AXA Dublin International Piano Competition, the 2005 Camerata Ireland/Accenture Award, and in 2016 a Major Individual Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. He studied at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Cambridge University and the Royal Academy of Music, and his teachers and mentors include John O’Conor, Christopher Elton, Ronan O’Hora and Barry Douglas.

A commitment to new music has seen Michael give first performances and recordings of music by composers including Valentin Silvestrov, Valerie Coleman, John Tavener, Arvo Pärt, Tyshawn Sorey, Chris Rogerson, Abbie Betinis, Bill Whelan, Siobhán Cleary, Edward Gregson, Jennifer Walshe, Luke Bedford and Linda Buckley, as well as concerto world premières by Irish composers Garrett Sholdice (with Gábor Takács-Nagy and the Irish Chamber Orchestra), Andrew Synnott (with Gavin Maloney and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra) and Philip Hammond (with Nicholas Collon and the Ulster Orchestra for BBC Radio 3).

Michael’s regular chamber music partners include Sir James Galway, Patricia Rozario, Dame Felicity Lott, Camerata Pacifica, the Vanbrugh and the McGill/McHale Trio, and as a founding member alongside Michael Collins and Isabelle van Keulen, the Wigmore Soloists.

In 2017 Michael was invited to become a Patron of the Ulster Youth Orchestra, and in 2018 he was appointed as a lecturer in piano at the MTU Cork School of Music in Ireland, in addition to which he regularly gives masterclasses and adjudicates competitions in the USA, Ireland and the UK.

“…Bravura playing in the music of Franz Liszt drew extended ovations at pianist Michael McHale’s recital… He handled with gusto and skill the powerfully climbing themes and the thunderous climaxes…” Daniel Ginsberg, Washington Post

“…McHale was a wonderfully incisive soloist… this was exactly the sort of headlong, exciting adventure that Prokofiev intended it to be…” Michael Dervan, The Irish Times

Michael McHale – “The Romantic Piano” Recital Series

The Romantic Piano: Romeo and Juliet, 1pm – Friday 12 May
The Romantic Piano: Love Songs, 1pm – Friday 19 May
The Romantic Piano: Moonlight, 1pm – Saturday 27 May
The Romantic Piano: Flights of Fantasy (for four hands) in association with MTU Cork School of Music , 1pm – Fri 9 June

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