In 1970, the seeds for what is now Ireland’s oldest chamber music festival were sown and grew from the Festival in Great Irish Houses to the now internationally recognised, Dublin International Chamber Music Festival (Great Music in Irish Houses). The ambition and dedication of its passionate founder, David Laing, brought to Ireland some of the world’s leading exponents of the chamber music genre in its first year, including John Williams, the Amadeus Quartet and the Tortelier family.
Since then, great music, great musicians and great buildings have been at the heart of DICMF whose mission is to share exciting and engaging chamber music experiences in and from performance spaces of distinction, cultivating audience appreciation and deepening understanding. It has deservingly earned an international reputation of attracting and engaging artists of the highest calibre to perform in a variety of Ireland’s most notable buildings – spaces that would not normally resonate with chamber music. Historic Irish houses are juxtaposed with some of the country’s iconic, modern buildings and the diversity of Irish architectural and interior design. Whatever the stage, access to high quality chamber music experiences for audiences is at the heart of DICMF’s activities.
This unique annual summer event, held in intimate non-traditional concert venues, has welcomed such luminaries as Vladimir Ashlenazy, Ute Lemper, Mischa Maisky and Pinchas Zukerman. Others who graced the salons of some of Ireland’s historic houses over the years include the Labèque Sisters, Frederica Von Stade, Janet Baker, Angela Hewitt, Krystian Zimerman, Richard Goode, Stephen Isserlis, Michael Collins and Guy Johnston. More recent visitors to this ever-developing summer attraction have been Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Sean Shibe and the Belcea, Casals, Doric, Heath, Pavel Haas and Ébène Quartets.
Irish artists have always been prominent at the Festival, amongst them, Patricia Bardon, Ailish Tynan, Tara Erraught, Robin Tritschler, John O’Conor, Hugh Tinney, Finghin Collins, Barry Douglas, Carol McGonnell and the Irish Chamber Orchestra. In addition, the Festival has also been at the vanguard in affording younger Irish musicians, aiming for international careers themselves, an important platform.
Inevitably, the Festival has grown, allowing for a more diverse platform. The Festival is not entirely a stay-at-home event either, having travelled to Paris and Brighton for performance partnerships abroad. It has also proudly commissioned new music from several Irish and international composers in recent years, including ambitious and highly-acclaimed works by David Fennessy, Gráinne Mulvey and Ian Wilson, and a co-commission with the East Neuk Festival and Wigmore Hall by the Welsh composer/pianist Huw Watkins for his long-time collaborator, Colin Currie and himself.
The Festival’s international reputation for creative programming, the espousal of international artists and promotion of Irish musicians, place the Festival strongly in Ireland’s musical landscape and underpin it as a much-loved annual event in Ireland.
Linda O’Shea Farren (Chair)
Sheila de Courcy
Marketing & Administration