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David Brophy makes his final appearance as Principal Conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra

RTÉ Concert Orchestra
13 December 2013

David Brophy makes his final appearance as Principal Conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra this Monday, 16 December when he conducts the RTÉ CO and guests in Mooney Tunes at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.

 Over the past seven years, David Brophy has distinguished himself in his concert, radio, television and recording work with the RTÉ CO, earning particular acclaim for his eclectic range, his vibrant approach and his great gifts as a communicator.

 Just some of the highlights of his tenure give an idea of the scale of Brophy’s accomplishments with the orchestra. He has conducted concerts with classical superstars including pianist Lang Lang, violinist Nicola Benedetti and soprano Danielle de Niese. He conducted the final concert in the RTÉ Living Music Festival in the presence of the most famous living composer Arvo Pärt, who joined Brophy and the RTÉ CO on stage at the end for the prolonged standing ovation. He conducted the first Irish performance of the Concerto for Group and Orchestra by Jon Lord, founder-member of Deep Purple, who said after the concert that he would crawl over broken glass to work with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra again.

A notable strand of his work with the RTÉ CO has been the collaborations with top Irish acts including Altan, Paul Brady, Duke Special, Julie Feeney, Martin Hayes, Lúnasa, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Declan O’Rourke and Sharon Shannon. He conducted the RTÉ CO in the world premieres of Bill Whelan’s Symphonic Suite from Riverdance and David Flynn’s Aontacht (Unity): A Concerto for Traditional Irish Musician and Orchestra, the latter commissioned by RTÉ especially for Martin Hayes and the RTÉ CO. He also conducted the Irish premiere of Shaun Davey’s song cycle Voices from the Merry Cemetery.

Brophy featured in the award-winning film documentary Ballymun Lullaby and TV series Instrumental, and conducted the RTÉ CO in RTÉ TV specials with Altan, Tommy Fleming and Sharon Shannon. He can be seen again in this year’s Carols from the Castle on RTÉ TV, to be broadcast at 6.15pm on Christmas Eve on RTÉ One and repeated 2.30pm on Christmas Day on RTÉ Two.

He conducted the orchestra in numerous radio broadcasts for RTÉ Big Music Week. Other highly successful collaborations with RTÉ radio colleagues have included the Sunday Miscellany Live concerts and of course the Mooney Tunes listeners’ choice concerts in association with the Mooney Show, of which Monday’s concert is the seventh in the series.

Many Irish concert-goers will have enjoyed Brophy and the RTÉ CO in action in evenings of popular film music and choral favourites. He took the podium for the RTÉ CO’s hugely popular appearance at Electric Picnic and again in the Big Top for this year’s Galway Arts Festival. He recently conducted the RTÉ CO in Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in the orchestra’s first collaboration with Ballet Ireland.

 A lot of the projects David Brophy and the RTÉ CO have worked on together have brought people in contact with an orchestra for the first time, and the obvious impact of that experience is a striking endorsement of the value and power of live orchestral music. Brophy shares the RTÉ CO’s freshness of approach, engagement with audiences and excitement in exploring new possibilities and contexts for orchestral music. While the formal relationship as Principal Conductor is coming to its end, David Brophy’s association with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the wider RTÉ organisation is sure to continue.

Paying tribute to Brophy’s achievements, RTÉ CO General Manager Anthony Long said: ‘I would like to express our appreciation to David for his enthusiasm and passion for the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and our audiences over the last seven years. His marvellous abilities as a communicator and his musical prowess have played a large part in making the orchestra what it is today. We look forward to welcoming him back as a guest in the future and wish him well.’

David Brophy said: ‘I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the truly wonderful musicians of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra for a memorable seven years as their Principal Conductor. I have always viewed our country as fortunate in enjoying the uniquely varied musical riches afforded by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and I thank RTÉ and all connected with the orchestra for extending that same good fortune to me over the past seven years. As the orchestra embarks on its 66th, year I wish its members, its many associates and my successor, John Wilson, continued success in the years ahead.’