Anna Dennis soprano
Jonas Nordberg lute
Liam Byrne viola da gamba
Travel from the musical landscapes of the Jacobean English drawing room to the sumptuous salons of Venice. Where music, poetry and song intertwine and the warm tones of lute and viola da gamba blend with the enchanting sound of the soprano voice.
The internationally renowned trio of Anna Dennis (soprano), Jonas Nordberg (lute) and Liam Byrne (viola da gamba) perform together for the first time in Ireland to present a truly intimate and captivating musical experience.
Join us for an exquisite programme of early music including works by Dowland, Monteverdi and Purcell this November.
Recently awarded Best Singer at the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2023 Awards, Anna Dennis is one of the UK’s leading sopranos, especially noted for her work in modern and baroque repertoire. Described by the Times as a “delectable soprano and a serene, ever-sentient presence”, Anna studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and from there has brought extraordinary technique, musicianship and versatility to operatic and concert stages worldwide.
Operatic appearances have included Handel’s Theodora at the Göttingen Handel Festspiele, Katie Mitchell’s New Dark Age at the Royal Opera House, Mozart’s Idomeneo at Birmingham Opera Company, Damon Albarn’s Dr Dee at the English National Opera, Gluck’s Paride Ed Elena at Nuremberg Opera house and roles in all three Monteverdi operas during John Eliot Gardiner’s world tour of the trilogy. She recently created the title role of Violet in Tom Coult’s debut opera, premiered at the Aldeburgh festival.
In concert, she has sung with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Maxim Emelyanychev and Peter Whelan, Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Orquestra Gulbenkian, les Violons du Roy, Britten Sinfonia and Sinfonietta Riga. She has sung Britten’s War Requiem at the Berlin Philharmonie and Thomas Ades’ Life Story, accompanied by the composer, at New York’s White Light Festival. Her BBC Proms appearances include performances with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
This season she has performed Antony Burgess’ setting of TS Eliot’s The Wasteland with Benedict Cumberbatch and Britten Sinfonia at the Charleston Festival, Bach’s Mein Herze Schwimmt im Blut with Kristian Bezuidenhout in Riga and Haydn’s Creation with Paul McCreesh and Gabrieli. Future plans include Britten song cycles in Snape Maltings’ centenary weekend celebration, Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the Dunedin Consort, Haydn’s Jahreszeiten with Düsseldorfer Sinfoniker under Adam Fischer and Handel’s Judas Maccabeus with AKAMUS at the Berlin Philharmonie.
Her recordings include Elena Langer’s Landscape with Three People on Harmonia Mundi, the Grammy-nominated Kastalsky Requiem with Orchestra of St. Luke’s under Leonard Slatkin, Handel’s Theodora with Laurence Cummings and the upcoming release of Handel’s Amadigi di Gayla with Early Opera Company under Christian Curnyn.
Lutenist Jonas Nordberg, a graduate of the Mozarteum University Salzburg and the Royal College of Music Stockholm, is much in demand as a soloist, chamber musician and guest instrumentalist with large scale ensembles. His concert schedule to date has seen him perform in over 25 countries.
A highly regarded chamber musician, successful duos include with soprano Ruby Hughes, focusing on music from the Elizabethan Era and Italian monody, and with viol player Liam Byrne exploring the music of Marin Marais in addition to contemporary music for theorbo/viol & electronics. He regularly performs with leading ensembles such as Concerto Köln, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Concerto Copenhagen, Orfeo 55, Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble, London Handel Orchestra, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Aurora Orchestra, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and many other period instrument chamber groups. He also works extensively with Swedish chamber ensemble Operabyrån, co-creating chamber operas and semi-staged performances featuring forgotten female composers.
Recent festival appearances include Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus, Greenwich Early Music Festival, and Stockholm Early Music Festival, and he has performed in such prestigious venues as BAM New York, Royal Opera House, King’s Place, Helsinki City Theatre, Grand Théatre Luxembourg, Mozarteum Salzburg, Malmö Opera, Kioi Hall Tokyo, Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre and Stockholm Concert Hall.
As a recording artist, 2015 saw his solo debut album Music by de Visée, Weiss & Dufaut for Eudora Records released to critical acclaim worldwide and in 2017 Heroines of love and loss (BIS Records) received a Diapason d’Or award. Also, on BIS records, Jonas’ album Intavolatura di Chitarone was selected as Gramophone Editor’s Choice and 2022 saw the successful release of Lessons – a gorgeous collection of solo lute works by John Dowland.
Jonas has collaborated extensively with choreographer Kenneth Kvarnström, which has resulted in the presentation of six remarkable, large-scale stage works in recent years. A meeting between baroque music and contemporary dance, in their most performed work sofa(r) Nordberg and Kvarnström teamed up for a critically acclaimed duet combining elements of dance, baroque music for lute and theorbo, electronic music and speech in a dark world exploring death. This also marked Jonas’ debut as a dancer.
Liam Byrne spends most of his time playing either very old or very new music on the viola da gamba. An obsession with the instrument’s most obscure 16th and 17th-century repertoire is a recurring theme in his work, whether in devising baroque performance installations for the Victoria & Albert Museum, or in collaboration with the Appalachian fiddler Cleek Schrey, or creating new electronic works with Icelandic composer Valgeir Sigurðsson.
Over the years, he has worked closely with a wide variety of exceptional musicians, from Damon Albarn to Emma Kirkby, and is a frequent guest of new music ensembles Stargaze, the London Contemporary Orchestra and Crash Ensemble. With a background in Historical Performance and degrees from Indiana and Oxford Universities, Liam has played and recorded with many of Europe’s leading Early Music ensembles, including the Huelgas Ensemble, Dunedin Consort, The Sixteen, i Fagiolini, and the viol consorts Phantasm, Concordia, and most notably Fretwork, with whom he toured and recorded extensively for several years.
Liam’s solo performances frequently combine old viol music with new works written for him by composers such as David Lang, Nico Muhly and Edmund Finnis. His membership in the Icelandic record label and artist collective Bedroom Community has led to the release of two massive studio-based works: Donnacha Dennehy’s 40-minute long Tessellatum for multi-tracked viol and viola (with Nadia Sirota), and Valgeir Sigurðsson’s Dissonance, a 23-minute deconstruction and explosion of a Mozart string quartet using many layers of Liam’s improvisation.
Liam is regularly commissioned to create new work. Past highlights include collaborating with Nico Muhly on a sound installation for the National Gallery’s Soundscapes exhibition and being commissioned by Dulwich Picture Gallery to make an immersive work in their Mausoleum, in response to two 17th-century paintings by Gerrit Dou. Liam was also commissioned by the Victoria & Albert Museum to create a site-specific sound installation for their new Courtyard Gallery, which resulted in the 8-hour-long piece Partials, an exploration of the space’s resonance derived entirely from upper partial harmonics played on the viol.