Musical meditations on suffering, loss and redemption - ‘Inspiring Bach’ presented by Music Network

03 January 2019



Musical meditations on suffering, loss and redemption - 'Inspiring Bach' with Claire Duff (Baroque violin) and Benjamin Alard (harpsichord) presented by Music Network 16th – 22nd February 2019

“All the excitement of a high-wire act” – The Irish Times [on Duff]

“Alard’s playing is a delight with striking agogic expressive power” – Gramophone

“Stylish solo violin playing” – Gramophone [on Duff]

“He brings both decorum and brilliance to the Italian Variations” – BBC Music Magazine [on Alard]


Irish violinist Claire Duff and French harpsichordist Benjamin Alard have come together in a new Music Network collaboration to rediscover the music of one of the most significant composers of all time in a programme entitled "Inspiring Bach".  Join them from 16th – 22nd February as they remind us why Bach's music continues to inspire and move audiences worldwide over 250 years after his death.

Irish violinist Claire Duff’s playing has been described as “full of fire, flair and brilliance". For this tour, she is joined for the very first time by the dazzling young French harpsichordist Benjamin Alard as they dive deep into Bach’s powerful musical meditations on suffering, loss – and redemption. There’s never been a better time to rediscover the aching beauty of the ultimate composer.

Both are renowned for their performances of baroque repertoire, in particular Bach. Duff is leader of the Irish Baroque Orchestra and performs throughout Europe as a soloist and ensemble player. She has led Florilegium, I Fagiolini, English Touring Opera and The Kings Consort, and co-led the Academy of Ancient Music and The English Concert.

As a recitalist on both harpsichord and organ, Benjamin Alard has performed in festivals and venues around the world. A member of baroque orchestra La Petite Bande, he also performs chamber music with violinist François Fernandez and in a harpsichord duo with Élisabeth Joyé. Organist at Saint-Louis-en-l’Île in Paris, he oversees an annual series of keyboard concerts dedicated to the music of J.S. Bach.

Audiences will hear a new work by Irish composer Jane O’Leary on this tour. Fantasia (homage to J.S. Bach), commissioned by Music Network, offers a contemporary reflection on the resonances of Bach. Commenting on the work Jane says,

“‘Fantasia’ was a form often used by Bach, described as ‘the play of imaginative invention’; the term implies freedom, unpredictability, an element of surprise.  As the music flows, moving forward and reaching upward, it takes some twists and turns, and a resonance from the past filters through”.

Music Network tours are funded by the Arts Council and presented in association with RTÉ lyric fm. Single tickets for the Dublin concert at St. Finian’s range from €10 - €20 (plus booking fees), or enjoy both classical concerts this season for €25 - €35 with a classical bundle by calling Music Network on (01) 475 0224 or booking online at Tickets for all regional concerts are available from individual promoters around the country. 


Archangelo Corelli (1653-1713), Sonata No. 5 in G Minor
J.S. Bach (1685-1750), Adagio in G Major, BWV 968
J.S. Bach (1685-1750), Fugue in B Minor, BWV 579 on a theme by Corelli
J.S. Bach (1685-1750), Sonata for violin and basso continuo in G Major, BWV 1021
J.S. Bach (1685-1750), Sonata No. 4 in C Minor for violin and harpsichord, BWV 1017
J.S. Bach (1685-1750), “Italian concerto”, BWV 971
Jane O’Leary (b. 1946), Fantasia (homage to J.S. Bach) for Baroque violin and harpsichord, New Music Network Commission
J.S. Bach (1685-1750), Sonata No. 6 in G Major for violin and harpsichord, BWV 1019



Claire Duff, Baroque violin

Benjamin Alard, harpsichord

On Tour 16th – 22nd February 2019

  • Saturday 16th February, 8pm, St. Finian’s Church, Dublin 2, €20 / €15 / €10, 01-4750224 /, promoted by Music Network
  • Sunday 17th February, 8pm, Birr Theatre & Arts Centre, €18 / €16 / €10 (under 13), 057-9122911 /
  • Tuesday 19th February, 8pm, Station House Theatre, Clifden, €15 / €12 (on the door), 095-21699 (info only), promoted by Clifden Arts Society
  • Wednesday 20th February, 8pm, Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire, €20 / €18 / €10, 01-2312929 /
  • Thursday 21st February, 7.30pm, The Large Room, City Hall, Waterford, €17 / €15 (conc.) / €5 (students) on the door, promoted by Waterford Music
  • Friday 22nd February, 8pm, St. John’s Theatre & Arts Centre, Listowel, €15 / €12, 068-22566



For further information/images, please contact:

Aisling Halligan, PR & Marketing Officer, Music Network: (01) 475 0224 or