The Smith Quartet with Gerard McChrystal

The Smith Quartet with Gerard McChrystal

Contemporary Classical Tour Ian Humphries, violin, Darragh Morgan, violin, Nic Pendlebury, viola, Deirdre Cooper, cello, Gerard McChrystal, saxophone

Tour Dates

The Smith Quartet, regarded as Britain's answer to the Kronos, join forces with saxophonist Gerard McChrystal this April in a Music Network tour entitled, Hunting Gathering. The programme of contemporary classical music includes the première performance of a new work by Donnacha Dennehy - specially commissioned by Music Network for The Smith Quartet and funded under the Arts Council’s Commission award scheme - as well as other works by contemporary Irish composers, and Debussy, Ravel and Nyman. Music Network tours provide a wonderful opportunity to see some of the world’s foremost music ensembles at affordable prices in venues around Ireland and are presented in association with The Irish Times and RTÉ lyric fm.  Music Network is funded by the Arts Council. Further information from (01) 671 9429 or

For almost twenty years, the Smith Quartet has been a leading light of the contemporary music scene: over one hundred new works have been written for the ensemble by a veritable who’s who of composers including Kevin Volans, Django Bates, Michael Nyman and Stephen Montague. The Smiths have also worked closely with Steve Reich, most notably on his work Different Trains, used by the BBC for its Emmy award-winning film marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Their quest to boldly go where no string quartet has been before has led to many innovations, such as the use of live electronics and collaborations with dancers and artists from other musical genres, including the pop group Pulp.

Ian Humphries (violin) has appeared as soloist and leader with the Michael Nyman Band, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Musici, was a prizewinner in the 1983 Sascha Lassersson Competition, and has recently appeared as soloist at the RTE 2008 Living Music Festival. Darragh Morgan (violin) has performed concertos with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the RTE Concert Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra, KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and appeared as Guest Leader of Ensemble Modern, Les Siecles, Musik Fabrik & Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. He records regularly for NMC Records. Nic Pendlebury (viola) was principal viola in the Bonn Chamber Orchestra and regularly performed with the chamber group, Ensemble Koln. He is Head of Strings at Trinity College of Music, London where he conducts several of the college’s ensembles and orchestras. Nic enjoys a busy career as a freelance violist and conductor and has worked with many of the London based chamber orchestras and ensembles. He was also co-artistic director of the Isleworth festival. Deirdre Cooper (cello), as well as playing with The Smiths, also has a very active orchestral life and in the past year has lead the cellos for the Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the New Queens Hall Orchestra and others.

Derry-born saxophonist Gerard McChrystal has also spread the gospel of new music, touring as far afield as Azerbaijan, Indonesia and the Caribbean while premiering the work of composers such as Sir Harrison Birtwhistle, Sir Malcolm Arnold, John Taverner, James MacMillan and Michael Kamen. He has recently recorded CDs with guitarist Craig Ogden (who toured with Music Network in 2004) and a concerto with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.


Chick Corea                            Children’s Songs

Ravel                                       Piece en forme de Habanera

Kevin Volans                          Hunting Gathering 

Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin           Óiche Nollaig 


Ciarán Farrell                          The Pilgrim’s Return (for performances in the Republic of Ireland)

Greg Caffrey                           Lapse (for performances in Northern Ireland)

Debussy                                  Syrinx 

Donnacha Dennehy                Stamp (to avoid erotic thoughts) Commissioned by Music Network

Michael Nyman                       If & Why

On Tour: Wednesday 9 April Tipperary (Tipperary Excel Centre, 8.00 p.m.); Thursday 10 April Cork (Curtis Auditorium, Cork School of Music, 8.00 p.m.); Friday 11 April Navan (Solstice Arts Centre, 8.00 p.m.); Saturday 12 April Bray (Mermaid Arts Centre, 8.00 p.m.); Sunday 13 April Moate (Tuar Ard Arts Centre, 8.30 p.m.) Tuesday 15 April Dublin (Coach House, Dublin Castle, 8.00 p.m.) Wednesday 16 April Belfast (Harty Room, Music Building, Queen's University, 8.00 p.m.) Thursday 17 April Omagh (Strule Arts Centre, 8.00 p.m.) Friday 18 April Downpatrick (Down Arts Centre, 8.00 p.m.) Saturday 19 April Portstewart (Flowerfield Arts Centre, 8.00 p.m.)

"More evenings like this and having spare tickets for an evening of modern pieces might become a social asset. "

- The Independent