It’s all new at the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra

                             RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra announces its

2013–2014 season

A Season of Orchestral Tales & Legends

Ireland’s national symphony orchestra, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, today (Tuesday 14 May) unveils plans for its new season at a free lunchtime concert under Principal Conductor Alan Buribayev at the National Concert Hall, broadcast live on RTÉ lyric fm.

With in excess of 50 concerts between September 2013 and May 2014 the series will welcome over 50 international conductors, soloists and singers to Ireland and will profile some 20 Irish soloists and conductors. Six world premieres will be heard throughout the season including three new RTÉ commissions.

2013–2014 sees a range of Main Season and Beyond the Season concerts at the National Concert Hall – including Late Night concerts, educational concerts and concerts focusing on new music, concerts in celebration of Culture Night and RTÉ Big Music Week – as well as performances around Ireland in Castlebar, Cork, Kilkenny, Limerick, Navan, Tullamore and Waterford.

Many of the works in the Main Season have been inspired by stories, tales and legends ranging from fairytale depictions (Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Suite and Ravel’s Mother Goose) to characters in music (Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kijé, Khachaturian’s Gayane, Copland’s Billy The Kid and Britten’s Saint Nicolas) and from storytelling themes (Mussorgsky A Night on the Bare Mountain and Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique) to the influence of Shakespeare on classical music (Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tchaikovsky’s Hamlet and Berlioz’s King Lear).

Speaking about the new season, the orchestra’s Principal Conductor Alan Buribayev says: ‘I look forward to celebrating with you some of the greatest stories ever told in classical music in the season ahead.  Prokofiev is one of my most favourite composers and his film music for Lieutenant Kijé which we will perform on 4 April is full of orchestral colour and narrative.    It’s important and very fulfilling for me to work with Irish artists and I am particularly looking forward to collaborating with singers such as Anna Devin in Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and Celine Byrne in the Four Last Songs as well as premiering a new work by Ed Bennett to open our season.’   In the new season, Alan Buribayev will continue his Prokofiev complete symphony cycle and will conduct symphonies by Beethoven, Brahms and Dvorak.

Outstanding Artists

The new season will feature major international artists including the widely travelled Swedish cellist Torléif Thedeen (20 September); a return visit by the outstanding young Finnish pianist Antti Siirala performing Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 (8 November); the flamboyant Portuguese pianist, and a previous winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition, Artur Pizarro (22 November); the outstanding Dutch cellist Pieter Wispelwey (29 November); the young Bostonian violinist Stefan Jackiw (31 January) and a welcome return by the ever-popular Russian pianist Nikolai Demidenko, performing Liszt’s Piano Concert No.1.   Three internationally acclaimed British tenors make appearances with the orchestra this season: John Mark Ainsley (Britten’s St Nicolas, 29 November), James Gilchrist (Bach’s Easter and Ascension Oratorios, 18 April) and Kim Begley (Hiawatha’s Wedding, 16 May).

Irish artists include the young Belfast-born pianist Michael McHale performing the Gershwin Piano Concerto in F (10 January); Miriam Murphy, soprano, and Imelda Drumm, mezzo-soprano in Verdi’s Requiem (27 September); Cork-born soprano Cara O’Sullivan in the New Year Gala concerts in Dublin and, in 2014, also in Cork; the Dublin-born soprano, Anna Devin performing Barber’s Knoxville with Principal Conductor Alan Buribayev (4 April); Sarah Power, soprano and Paula Murrihy, mezzo-soprano in Bach’s Easter and Ascension Oratorios (Good Friday concert, 18 April); and rising star Claudia Boyle whose international career sees her working with artists including Joseph Calleja, Ricardo Muti and James Conlon, with Regina Nathan and Cara O’Sullivan in, for the third year running, The Three Sopranos Christmas Gala in association with the John Murray Show on RTÉ Radio 1.

Conductors include Alan Buribayev, now in his fourth season as Principal Conductor, conducting eight concerts; the young American conductor Jayce Ogren, described recently by the New York Times as ‘pulsing, sensitive, and brilliant’; the Japanese-American conductor Eugene Tzigane, described by the Berlin Morning Post as ‘a poised orchestral leader with fluent, elegant movement’; the outstanding pioneer of new music, David Atherton; the highly regarded choral specialist David Hill; and the early music conductor, Roy Goodman.   The ever popular Barry Douglas also features in the season as pianist and conductor.

New Initiatives
The Main Season features some new ventures such as the Taster Concert on 6 September, featuring highlights from the new season and Inside the Music, a Sunday matinee on 3 November delving deep into the scores of two contrasting works (Beethoven Fifth Symphony and Hindemith’s Violin Concerto), presented by the internationally acclaimed musicologist and broadcaster Stephen Johnson. Younger audiences and their parents will have an opportunity to venture into the world of orchestral music with a first-time focus on family film favourites by presenter Paul Rissmann on 24 May. Soundings, the regular free pre-concert talks at 7pm, will focus mainly on visiting soloists and conductors with some variation in format along the way, for example, Barry Douglas exploring the score of Benjamin Britten’s Piano Concerto from the stage of the National Concert on 4 October as part of RTÉ Big Music Week which runs from Monday 30 September until Sunday 6 October.

Big on Britten
The orchestra will mark the centenary of one of the most iconic and distinctive composers of the 20th Century, Benjamin Britten, in a mini-season of concerts in October and November, including his masterpiece of orchestration, the Four Sea Interludes from his opera Peter Grimes on 18 October and his deliciously eclectic portrait of Saint Nicolas, with the RTE Philharmonic Choir and the outstanding tenor John Mark Ainsley, on 29 November.

New Horizons
New music by Irish composers Rhona Clarke, Marion Ingoldsby, Seán Clancy and Brian Irvine, and the composers they admire, features in the Horizons series of free lunchtime concerts in January and February.   Presented by RTÉ lyric fm’s Bernard Clark, the concerts will feature a world premiere each week including two new RTÉ commissions. The new concert format will include an ‘insight segment’ where audiences are introduced to the new works with the composer on stage talking through some excerpts from the work.   All concerts will be preceded by the Composer in Conversation talks, presented in association with the Contemporary Music Centre. The Tuesday concerts will be broadcast on RTÉ lyric fm’s Nova on Sunday evenings at 8pm.

New Collaborations
The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra is delighted to join forces with Ireland’s national theatre for two matinee performances at the Abbey Theatre celebrating Shakespeare through words and music on 15 December.  In March, the orchestra welcomes the ground- breaking composer Harrison Birtwistle to the stage of the National Concert Hall in association with Trinity College Dublin’s Music Composition Centre as part of the New Music Dublin festival.   Following on from the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra’s focus on Raymond Deane earlier this year in which the orchestra performed three works including Ripieno, Deane’s largest orchestral work, to mark his 60th birthday, the new season will see a collaboration with Wide Open Music, The Arts Council and the National Concert Hall in the world premiere of his concert-staged opera The Alma Fetish on 17 September.

RTÉ Philharmonic Choir
Following on from highly acclaimed performances in the 2012–2013 Season, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra looks forward to further collaborations with the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir under the direction of Mark Hindley.   Verdi’s Requiem (27 September) marks the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth and a welcome return to Dublin for the Belfast-born conductor Kenneth Montgomery.   Bach’s Easter and Ascension Oratorios on Good Friday will see the choir and orchestra work with the acclaimed period music director, Roy Goodman, and the season’s storytelling theme is reflected in The Song of Hiawatha by the 19th Century Anglo/African composer, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.   The work was one of the most popular choral works of its time following its premiere performance which was conducted by the Dublin-born composer and Professor of Music, Charles Villiers Stanford.   The concert opens with the European premiere of a newly discovered work by Stanford, Song of the Soul, composed a century ago for the Norfolk Festival in Connecticut.

Early Evening and Late Night Events
Surrounding the season concerts are a series of music and speech events. Pipeworks, in collaboration with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the National Concert Hall, continues its popular run of free organ concerts at the new time of 6.45pm (with the exception of Culture Night on 20 September which starts at 6.10pm) and reflects the season theme of storytelling in music through five compelling concerts.   Soundings, the free pre-concert talk series, continues at 7pm before most Main Season concerts and four Late Night concerts (free with evening concert tickets) feature outstanding soloists in 20-30 minute recitals after the 8pm concerts: the Dutch cellist Peter Wispelwey and pianists Barry Douglas, Joanna MacGregor and Nicolai Demidenko.

Out and About
It is important for the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra to perform throughout the island of Ireland and highlights in the new season will include a tour with the Scottish/Italian violin star Nicola Benedetti in December (Tullamore, Castlebar, Kilkenny and Navan), a March tour with the highly acclaimed Swedish trumpeter and conductor Håkan Hardenberger (Limerick, Waterfront and Dublin) and a New Year performance in Cork on 3 January.

New Leader
This season is the inaugural season for the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra’s new Leader, Helena Wood.   The orchestra is delighted to welcome Helena to this important role and looks forward to developing its artistic strengths in the years ahead with an artist and leader who brings considerable international experience and artistic prowess to the role.

Radio broadcasts
Main Season, Horizons and other selected concerts will be broadcast on RTÉ lyric fm.

Price and Value

Tickets from €10: Ticket prices for Main Season orchestral concerts (excluding New Year’s Day), once again start at €10 with five price options available. Student stand-by tickets are €5 (subject to availability) and discounts (subject to availability) are available for senior citizens, students and the unwaged.

Free events: Early Evening concerts and pre concert talks continue to be free to all and Late Night concerts are free to main concert attendees. 100 free tickets will again be available this season for the main evening concert on Culture Night on Friday 20 September.

Discounts and savings: Savings are available for those who buy 3–12 concerts with discounted Main Season concert package deals starting at €28.50 and savings of up to €253 available on the Full Main Season package of 24 concerts.

Booking: Priority booking for current subscribers is now open. Full public booking opens on Saturday 18 May. Full details on www.rte.ie/nso

The Story Begins…
Speaking ahead of the season launch, Declan McGovern, General Manager, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra says: ‘I look forward, on behalf of the musicians and staff of the orchestra to welcoming our concert and radio audiences to our new season of classical concerts, insight events, family programmes, ‘out and about’ concerts, world premieres, pre- and late-night concerts and new explorations!   Our Principal Conductor Alan Buribayev will display his versatility across a broad palette of music this season including Stravinsky’s Petrushka, an evening of Hungarian music, the continuation of his Prokofiev symphony cycle and Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs with the ever-popular Irish soprano Celine Byrne which brings the season to a close. I am delighted to welcome our new orchestral Leader, Helena Wood, and look forward to the artistic strengths she will bring to the orchestra in the months and years ahead.  We are grateful for the support and collaborative spirit of our partners in the arts community and look forward to welcoming new and existing audiences to concerts in Dublin and throughout the country.  Special thanks to our loyal customers, particularly our Subscribers, for their valued support.  We hope that audiences will enjoy our orchestral journey over the year ahead as we ‘visit’ some 15 countries spanning three centuries of music, with some compelling orchestral tales and legends along the way.’

View season brochure online here