Music Network - 30 Years of Making Live Music Happen

24 August 2016

Music Network - 30 Years of Making Live Music Happen

Special events planned to mark 30th anniversary


For the past 30 years Music Network has travelled our highways and byways, bringing world class acts to towns and villages all over Ireland, to audiences that might otherwise never have experienced them.  To celebrate Music Network’s 30th anniversary year, a number of special events and commissions are planned in addition to its Autumn tours, bringing diverse and vibrant performances to audiences across Ireland.

For Culture Night, Music Network is delighted present a very special concert in collaboration with long standing media partner, RTÉ lyric fm. Join presenters Ellen Cranitch and Carl Corcoran and a stunning line-up of artists from the worlds of jazz, trad, classical and contemporary music on The Purple Vespertine live from RTÉ Studio 1.   Featuring an eclectic range of music including jazz from the Julien Colarossi Quartet, harpist Laoise Kelly, cellists William Butt and Christopher Ellis performing Haydn and Barrière, traditional group Ulaid with vocalist Gráinne Holland and the Norwegian trad/folk ensemble, the Gjermund Larsen Trio.

Sunday 20th November sees the premiere of a Music Network-commissioned work for large-scale harp ensemble—truly a sight to behold—by the celebrated Irish composer Philip Martin.  “For centuries the harp has been closely linked with Irish identity and nationality, so given the year that’s in it, it seems only fitting that we celebrate our own anniversary with a large-scale harping event,” says Sharon Rollston, Music Network CEO. Former principal conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra David Brophy will lead the large scale harp ensemble of some 40–60 professional and non-professional players. This spectacular live performance follows in the tradition of the famous Belfast Harp Festival of 1792, when folk music collector Edward Bunting annotated dozens of traditional harp tunes, helping to preserve our ancient harping tradition. The harpers will be joined by a professional ensemble of 11 harpers, 2 French hornists, a cellist and traditional singer Liam Ó Maonlaí. Tunes from the Bunting Collection will be featured during the work. The visual spectacle, combined with the stunning sound of a large scale harp ensemble guarantees an unforgettable experience!

The Philip Martin commission is one of three commissions this season, along with ‘Edges of Light’, a new collaboration between prodigiously talented dancer Colin Dunne, fiddler Tola Custy, harpist Maeve Gilchrist and uilleann piper David Power as well as a new commission by Anne Marie O’Farrell to be performed by Belgian harpist Anneleen Lenaerts and Greek clarinettist Dionysis Grammenos during their Music Network tour. These new commissions continue Music Network's practice of commissioning and including contemporary Irish works in its touring programmes.

Speaking about the anniversary Sharon Rollston says, “The list of musicians we’ve promoted over the years, both international and home grown, is a roll call too long to recount here that conjures up many unforgettable evenings of music in their company. Supporting musicians though our development programmes, work that’s inherently under the radar, has been a constant and we take great pride in seeing the careers of many of those we have worked with over the years flourish”.

She continues, “The establishment of our subsidiary company Music Generation has radically improved access to music education, and is fostering the practitioners and patrons of the future in a music development landscape already vastly different to 1986. The passion and commitment of our partner promoters never ceases to inspire, and it remains our great privilege to work with them in developing audiences and making live music happen.”

Music Network’s mission is to make live music available and accessible to as many people as possible, and the Autumn 2016 season provides an opportunity to see some of the world’s foremost musicians throughout the country at affordable prices. The season features a new collaboration between dancer Colin Dunne, fiddler Tola Custy, harpist Maeve Gilchrist and uilleann piper David Power performing ‘Edges of Light’, a new Music Network commission; the impassioned tones and sparkling fingerwork of delightful French pianist Nathalia Milstein, the first ever female winner of the Dublin International Piano Competition in 2015; Jools Holland faves Hot Club of Cowtown; the exquisite pairing of Belgian harpist Anneleen Lenaerts and Greek clarinettist Dionysis Grammenos performing a new commission by Anne Marie O’Farrell; and two very special concerts showcasing the otherworldly sounds of vocal ensemble Trio Mediæval and trumpeter Arve Henriksen.

Music Network tours are funded by the Arts Council and presented in association with RTÉ lyric fm. Tickets for all regional concerts are available from individual venues around the country.  Single tickets for Dublin concerts are available from €15 and can be purchased by calling Music Network on (01) 475 0224 or booking online at