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The Ficino Quartet

Autumn String Quartet Series

The Ficino Quartet

Autumn String Quartet Series

Ailbhe McDonagh is becoming one of our most prolific and popular composers and as cellist of the wonderful Ficino Quartet, she presents her newly commissioned second string quartet on this tour. Osvaldo Golijov’s hauntingly beautiful Tenebrae reflects both the brutality of human conflict and the parallel perspective of the earth’s serene progress through space. The concert, and this autumn series of string quartet concerts, ends with Brahms’ glorious masterpiece, his A minor quartet Op.51 No.2

FICINO QUARTET

Elaine Clark, violin
Hugh Murray, violin
Nathan Sherman, viola
Ailbhe McDonagh, cello

PROGRAMME

Osvaldo Golijov – Tenebrae [2000]
Ailbhe McDonagh – 
Quartet No.2 The Lore Quartet † [2023]
Brahms 
– Quartet in A minor Op.51/2 [1876]
† Commissioned by the National String Quartet Foundation with funds from the Arts Council of Ireland

About the Ficino Quartet

Formed in 2013, the Ficino Ensemble has been committed to exploring the vast chamber music repertoire and presenting thoughtfully programmed concerts. The group regularly perform as a string quartet, and the addition of winds and percussion gives the possibility of playing large-scale chamber works. The members share a dedicated approach to contemporary music and have premiered many works. In 2019 they collaborated with several composers of the Irish Composers Collective, where the musicians worked on pieces with the composers and premiered several new works for flute, harp and viola. Ficino Ensemble was recently joined by the Con Tempo String Quartet in a performance of works by Brahms, Mendelssohn and Enescu as part of the Dublin Enescu Festival. In 2018 they performed a concert with Olwen Fouéré as part of MusicTown in Dublin, which included a performance of Thomas Ades’ Four Quarters and Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 132. The group have recorded two acclaimed albums, Winter and Folk Songs. Ficino Ensemble takes the name from Marsilio Ficino, the Renaissance philosopher who regarded music as a “contemplation of the divine”. ficinoensemble.com

Elaine Clark, violin
Born in Aberdeen, Elaine Clark studied with David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where she won several awards and prizes. After graduating with a First Class Honors Degree, she continued her studies with Viktor Liberman at the Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands. In 1996, she was appointed Co-Leader of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and has performed many concerti, including those of Berg, Brahms (Double Concerto), Bach, Tchaikovsky, and Mozart (Fifth Violin Concerto, as soloist and director) with various orchestras in Scotland and England. Since joining the RTÉ NSO, she has been a regular soloist with the orchestra, most recently in performances of Prokofiev Concerto No. 1, Tippet’s Triple concerto as well as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, for which she was soloist and director.

As a member of the contemporary music group, Concorde, Elaine has specialised in contemporary violin repertoire, giving many Irish and world premieres and working closely with many distinguished composers. Elaine can be heard performing on Concorde’s most recent CD, Reflections, and also What Was, the recently launched CD by Judith Ring. Elaine is very much in demand as a chamber musician and has performed numerous concerts around Ireland with the Clarion Horn Trio. In 2007, she was invited to guest-lead the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for a series of concerts and since then, has also guest-led the Ulster Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Hugh Murray, violin
Hugh is a graduate of MTU Cork School of Music where he studied with Ruxandra Colan-Petcu. He currently lives and works in Dublin as a member of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. He has also enjoyed appearances with the John Wilson Orchestra at festivals, the BBC Proms, and their UK tour. Recent orchestral work includes Sinfonia of London and Irish National Opera. Hugh has also been heard as the violinist on the UK touring shows Les Misérables and Book of Mormon.

Chamber music appearances include Strauss Metamorphosen at the St. Endellion Festival, Cornwall, Brahms Horn Trio at the Juilliard School, New York, and premiering Ronan Guilfoyle’s new work ‘Allies’ alongside jazz musicians David Liebman and Richie Beirach at the National Concert Hall, Dublin.

Nathan Sherman, viola
Nathan Sherman is a viola player who enjoys a versatile career. He was immediately attracted to the darker sonorities of the viola from a young age and chose to explore the instrument and its repertoire further at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, the Royal Academy of Music and the Escuela Superior de Musica Catalunya in Barcelona. Nathan is especially interested in contemporary music, where the viola has its richest and most diverse repertoire. He has premiered many works for viola, and has played and recorded with Crash Ensemble, Kirkos, and Evlana, and recently released a critically acclaimed album of new music for viola and percussion Totemic on Ergodos Records. He regularly performs in the historical performance groups Irish Baroque Orchestra, Camerata Kilkenny and Ensemble Marsyas, and with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra and Ulster Orchestra. Nathan is Artistic Director of Ficino Ensemble, and runs a community-based orchestra called the Offbeat Ensemble which raises money for music education projects for children.

Ailbhe McDonagh, cello

Irish cellist Ailbhe McDonagh performs throughout Ireland and internationally as a soloist and chamber musician. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY, and the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin, Ireland, she studied with world-renowned cellists Steven Doane, Nora Gilleese, Aisling Drury-Byrne and William Butt. McDonagh gave her debut recital with celebrated Irish pianist John O’Conor at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland. Over the last ten years, she has performed throughout Europe, Asia and the USA and has appeared as a concerto soloist numerous times all over Ireland and abroad. Performances include concerts at Carnegie Hall, the Yale Norfolk Festival, Schleswig Holstein Music Festival, Great Irish Houses Festival, for the Irish President at Aras an Uachtarain and on Irish national television and radio. She has recently formed a new duo, The McDonagh Sisters, with pianist Orla McDonagh. Keenly interested in contemporary music, McDonagh collaborates with several composers and other artists worldwide, most recently recording a CD of contemporary music for Bridge Records in New York. A composer and arranger in her own right, she has had several piano compositions published for the RIAM Local Centre Examinations. McDonagh joined the cello faculty of the RIAM in 2010. Upcoming engagements include performances with her new piano trio The Belisama Trio and a tour of Ireland with her classical/traditional crossover group, Trio Elatha, along with other solo recitals. McDonagh’s debut CD called It’s a Cello Thing was released on 27 April 2012 and was named “CD of the Week” on RTÉ Lyric FM.

Autumn String Quartet Series 2023

The National String Quartet Foundation brings another series of string quartets to Triskel, this year welcoming the Carducci, Esposito, Piatti and Ficino Quartets to Cork.

Supported by the Arts Council, RTÉ Lyric FM and Cork City Council.

See all events »

Sat 9 Dec 2023
13:00
€17/14

Ailbhe McDonagh is becoming one of our most prolific and popular composers and as cellist of the wonderful Ficino Quartet, she presents her newly commissioned second string quartet on this tour. Osvaldo Golijov’s hauntingly beautiful Tenebrae reflects both the brutality of human conflict and the parallel perspective of the earth’s serene progress through space. The concert, and this autumn series of string quartet concerts, ends with Brahms’ glorious masterpiece, his A minor quartet Op.51 No.2

FICINO QUARTET

Elaine Clark, violin
Hugh Murray, violin
Nathan Sherman, viola
Ailbhe McDonagh, cello

PROGRAMME

Osvaldo Golijov – Tenebrae [2000]
Ailbhe McDonagh – 
Quartet No.2 The Lore Quartet † [2023]
Brahms 
– Quartet in A minor Op.51/2 [1876]
† Commissioned by the National String Quartet Foundation with funds from the Arts Council of Ireland

About the Ficino Quartet

Formed in 2013, the Ficino Ensemble has been committed to exploring the vast chamber music repertoire and presenting thoughtfully programmed concerts. The group regularly perform as a string quartet, and the addition of winds and percussion gives the possibility of playing large-scale chamber works. The members share a dedicated approach to contemporary music and have premiered many works. In 2019 they collaborated with several composers of the Irish Composers Collective, where the musicians worked on pieces with the composers and premiered several new works for flute, harp and viola. Ficino Ensemble was recently joined by the Con Tempo String Quartet in a performance of works by Brahms, Mendelssohn and Enescu as part of the Dublin Enescu Festival. In 2018 they performed a concert with Olwen Fouéré as part of MusicTown in Dublin, which included a performance of Thomas Ades’ Four Quarters and Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 132. The group have recorded two acclaimed albums, Winter and Folk Songs. Ficino Ensemble takes the name from Marsilio Ficino, the Renaissance philosopher who regarded music as a “contemplation of the divine”. ficinoensemble.com

Elaine Clark, violin
Born in Aberdeen, Elaine Clark studied with David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where she won several awards and prizes. After graduating with a First Class Honors Degree, she continued her studies with Viktor Liberman at the Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands. In 1996, she was appointed Co-Leader of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and has performed many concerti, including those of Berg, Brahms (Double Concerto), Bach, Tchaikovsky, and Mozart (Fifth Violin Concerto, as soloist and director) with various orchestras in Scotland and England. Since joining the RTÉ NSO, she has been a regular soloist with the orchestra, most recently in performances of Prokofiev Concerto No. 1, Tippet’s Triple concerto as well as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, for which she was soloist and director.

As a member of the contemporary music group, Concorde, Elaine has specialised in contemporary violin repertoire, giving many Irish and world premieres and working closely with many distinguished composers. Elaine can be heard performing on Concorde’s most recent CD, Reflections, and also What Was, the recently launched CD by Judith Ring. Elaine is very much in demand as a chamber musician and has performed numerous concerts around Ireland with the Clarion Horn Trio. In 2007, she was invited to guest-lead the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for a series of concerts and since then, has also guest-led the Ulster Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Hugh Murray, violin
Hugh is a graduate of MTU Cork School of Music where he studied with Ruxandra Colan-Petcu. He currently lives and works in Dublin as a member of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. He has also enjoyed appearances with the John Wilson Orchestra at festivals, the BBC Proms, and their UK tour. Recent orchestral work includes Sinfonia of London and Irish National Opera. Hugh has also been heard as the violinist on the UK touring shows Les Misérables and Book of Mormon.

Chamber music appearances include Strauss Metamorphosen at the St. Endellion Festival, Cornwall, Brahms Horn Trio at the Juilliard School, New York, and premiering Ronan Guilfoyle’s new work ‘Allies’ alongside jazz musicians David Liebman and Richie Beirach at the National Concert Hall, Dublin.

Nathan Sherman, viola
Nathan Sherman is a viola player who enjoys a versatile career. He was immediately attracted to the darker sonorities of the viola from a young age and chose to explore the instrument and its repertoire further at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, the Royal Academy of Music and the Escuela Superior de Musica Catalunya in Barcelona. Nathan is especially interested in contemporary music, where the viola has its richest and most diverse repertoire. He has premiered many works for viola, and has played and recorded with Crash Ensemble, Kirkos, and Evlana, and recently released a critically acclaimed album of new music for viola and percussion Totemic on Ergodos Records. He regularly performs in the historical performance groups Irish Baroque Orchestra, Camerata Kilkenny and Ensemble Marsyas, and with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra and Ulster Orchestra. Nathan is Artistic Director of Ficino Ensemble, and runs a community-based orchestra called the Offbeat Ensemble which raises money for music education projects for children.

Ailbhe McDonagh, cello

Irish cellist Ailbhe McDonagh performs throughout Ireland and internationally as a soloist and chamber musician. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY, and the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin, Ireland, she studied with world-renowned cellists Steven Doane, Nora Gilleese, Aisling Drury-Byrne and William Butt. McDonagh gave her debut recital with celebrated Irish pianist John O’Conor at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland. Over the last ten years, she has performed throughout Europe, Asia and the USA and has appeared as a concerto soloist numerous times all over Ireland and abroad. Performances include concerts at Carnegie Hall, the Yale Norfolk Festival, Schleswig Holstein Music Festival, Great Irish Houses Festival, for the Irish President at Aras an Uachtarain and on Irish national television and radio. She has recently formed a new duo, The McDonagh Sisters, with pianist Orla McDonagh. Keenly interested in contemporary music, McDonagh collaborates with several composers and other artists worldwide, most recently recording a CD of contemporary music for Bridge Records in New York. A composer and arranger in her own right, she has had several piano compositions published for the RIAM Local Centre Examinations. McDonagh joined the cello faculty of the RIAM in 2010. Upcoming engagements include performances with her new piano trio The Belisama Trio and a tour of Ireland with her classical/traditional crossover group, Trio Elatha, along with other solo recitals. McDonagh’s debut CD called It’s a Cello Thing was released on 27 April 2012 and was named “CD of the Week” on RTÉ Lyric FM.

Autumn String Quartet Series 2023

The National String Quartet Foundation brings another series of string quartets to Triskel, this year welcoming the Carducci, Esposito, Piatti and Ficino Quartets to Cork.

Supported by the Arts Council, RTÉ Lyric FM and Cork City Council.

See all events »