Reviews of the New Ross Piano Festival

Jeremy Hill, writing in the New Ross Echo, opined that “this piano festival now ranks in quality and imaginative organisation and programming with any other event of its like around the world. Its uniquely personal atmosphere is engendered by the superb location and acoustic quality of St. Mary’s Church. A dedicated volunteer and amateur committee deserves the sweetest smelling bouquet of bright and colourful flowers for they present an unequalled opportunity for music lovers to engage with the genius of world class piano playing.

REVIEWS FOR THE 2016 NEW ROSS PIANO FESTIVAL


Pat O’Kelly, Sunday Independent

The 11th New Ross Piano Festival offers an eclectic choice of programmes in the agreeable acoustic of St Mary’s Church. In two back-to-back events, I catch all of this year’s musicians. In Bach’s 1st Partita, artistic director Finghin Collins brings a carefree air to the dancing Courante as it slips merrily along. His Sarabande is stately but never stodgy while hopping Minuets precede the vitality of his final Gigue.
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Liam Murphy, Munster Express
The eleventh New Ross Piano Festival continued to attract audiences and quality musicians to enjoy three days of wonderful music in times that are still difficult for the arts. The concerts are well put together, and I for one am glad that the ‘new music’ content of the new compositions to celebrate the Ros Tapestry is completed.
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REVIEWS FOR THE 2015 NEW ROSS PIANO FESTIVAL

Reviewed by Michael Dervan, Irish Times
The Ros Tapestry, a community project that was developed by more than 150 volunteers, is a celebration of the history of New Ross, a latter-day Bayeux for the southeast of Ireland. The Ros Tapestry Suite, commissioned by the New Ross Piano Festival, is not just a musical celebration of the tapestry and the events remembered in its 15 panels, but is also a cross-section of composition in Ireland in the second decade of the 21st century.
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Reviewed by Pat O’Kelly, Irish Independent
Celebrating its 10th anniversary in St Mary’s Church, the New Ross Piano Festival continues its established pattern of programme diversity and eclectic virtuosi mix.
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Reviewed by Jeremy Hill, Echo Newspapers
Once upon a time all roads led to Rome; but not so this past weekend in Barrowside New Ross whose steep and narrow medieval streets led unerringly to the platform of the town’s 10th Piano Festival. They have done so for a decade now and over those years they’ve played their part in a masterclass of musical experience. New York might have Carnegie Hall and London the Wigmore, but New Ross has St. Mary’s Church, standing contentedly on the site of Norman knight William Marshall’s earlier 13th century ecclesiastical building, and erected before the days of acoustic engineering. St. Mary’s interior resonates with a sound unequalled by its competitors to the delight of composer, musician and audience alike.
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Reviewed by Liam Murphy, Munster Express
Finghin Collins got the 10th New Ross Piano Festival off to a splendid start at the Parish Church with a Beethoven Concerto with the RTE Concert Orchestra. The audience loved the lyrical, and expansive work where the piano was gentle in the Largo and the orchestra had the majestic sweep of an autumnal breeze. There was a pleasing almost dreamlike feeling ending in a triumphant orchestral flourish.
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Hungarian Gramofon Review of the 2015 festival  http://revizoronline.com/hu/cikk/5767/new-ross-piano-festival-irorszag/

REVIEWS FOR THE 2014 NEW ROSS PIANO FESTIVAL

Reviewed by Michael Dungan, Irish Times
If you’re a festival director performing in your own festival, you’re like a player-manager in football: the sole aim of your team selection has to be winning. You can’t fear being upstaged by the players you select. What you can do – what Kenny Dalglish did in Liverpool, for example, and what pianist and artistic director Finghin Collins did at his New Ross Piano Festival last weekend – is set the bar high with your own performance.
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Reviewed by Pat O’Kelly, Sunday Independent
Under astute artistic director Finghin Collins the 9th New Ross Piano Festival broadens its remit by inserting music for piano and winds in its programmes for the first time. In two festival events I hear Dublin-based Cassiopeia Winds, led by flautist Caitríona Ryan and joined by the ubiquitous Collins, in works from the French repertoire.
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Reviewed by Jeremy Hill, Echo Newspapers
The Ros Tapestry, seen by many as culturally related to the 11th century Bayeux Tapestry, became an important element of the recent New Ross Piano Festival. Defying the national pecuniary straights and reduced grant funding, the festival committee commissioned, from its own resources, five short compositions for piano by five Irish composers. Each piece was to be a response to an individual tapestry in the series of fifteen panels; the commissioners’ only restraint on the composers was a time limit of five minutes.
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Reviewed in German music magazine
PIANONEWS REVIEW Carsten Durer
Review in German music magazine [click to read]

REVIEWS FOR THE 2013 NEW ROSS PIANO FESTIVAL

Reviewed by Jeremy Hill, Wexford Echo
Behind the vision of New Ross Piano Festival’s artistic director, Finghin Collins, lies an instinct for access and inclusion; and so it was that seven years old Jane Sutton played the first notes of this year’s festival weekend with precocious aplomb, her Dvorak melody stirring the embers of fire to come from the professionals. Lily Hayes and Clare Spollen stood out among the 24 other young musicians from the South East at the opening event which gave them all a taste of a Steinway concert grand piano and the valuable experience of performing live before an audience.
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Reviewed by Pat O’Kelly, Irish Independent
The Russian slant on this year’s New Ross Piano Festival comes more from the visiting artists than the composers represented although Rakhmaninov, Shostakovich and Boris Tchaikovsky (unrelated to Piotr Il’yich) dominate the events I attend. However, artistic director Finghin Collins’ astute programme planning means hearing the Russian visitors, each at different stages in their careers, as well as Collins himself, in back-to-back recitals.
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Reviewed by Liam Murphy, The Munster Express
Due to a very busy weekend programme of arts, music and musical theatre I was only able to attend one day of the excellent New Ross Piano Festival. Artistic Director, Finghin Collins and his dedicated committee have established this festival firmly in the Irish calendar, and the performers have brought a wonderful international quality to the event. I know these are difficult times, but soon this niche festival will have to expand on its four days of events, and perhaps consider moving the St. Michael’s Theatre. There needs to be consolidation, and I am sure St. Michael’s could do with the business.
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Reviewed by Hans-Dieter Grünefeld, www.pianonews.de
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REVIEWS FOR THE 2012 NEW ROSS PIANO FESTIVAL

Reviewed by Francesco Burns for ClassicalSource.com
Last year in September was my second visit to the small, picturesque town of New Ross in County Wexford, Ireland. Pianofiles cannot ask for much more than a festival across four full days. What is more, the acoustic in St Mary’s Church, the main concert venue, rivals many of the great chamber-music acoustics available. 2011’s series was a highly enjoyable spotlight on works for two pianos. Last year, the first evening concert was given by Irish jazz pianist Fergus Sheil. His delicate and sensitive touch served the succession of standards beautifully, full of carefully voiced chords and intimate improvisations.
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REVIEWS FOR THE 2011 NEW ROSS PIANO FESTIVAL

Reviewed by Jeremy Hill, New Ross Echo
The history of music in New Ross is due another glowing page after the recent Piano Festival weekend at St. Mary’s Church where audiences were treated to work by eighteen composers from 18thC Amadeus Mozart to 21stC Stephen Gardner. As a prelude to the main event, the 2011 New Ross Piano Festival began with a young players’ concert – 20 budding pianists from the south-east aged from 11 to 18. The concert platform is a lonely place even for the professional soloist but these young musicians relished the chance to play a concert grand before an audience.
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Review from Kimon Daltas, INTERNATIONAL PIANO REVIEW, January/February 2012
New Ross is a small port town in County Wexford. It’s easy to get to, whether by ferry to Rosslare or flight to Waterford; yet you’d be hard-pressed to think of New Ross as a destination in itself. Except, that is, in a long weekend towards the end of September, when the New Ross Piano Festival brings a volley of top-notch concerts to the serendipitously generous acoustic of St Mary’s Church.
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BBC Music Magazine, July 2011
Everything stops for the piano in New Ross, – even the traffic…
This quiet town in County Wexford is certainly an out-of-the-way venue for a major piano festival. The nearest airport, Waterford, is so small that you can easily absently-mindedly wander through passport control without knowing you have done so until you see the provincial station-style sandwich bar on the other side. Then you have to either get a taxi, or – better option – hire a car to reach New Ross itself.
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REVIEWS FOR THE 2010 NEW ROSS PIANO FESTIVAL

Reviewed by Chloe Cutts, International Piano
The brochure for the 2010 New Ross Piano Festival offers the reader a quote from a Medieval poem in which the poet, describing the building of the walls of New Ross, makes the observation: ‘and every stranger finds a welcome and is received with great joy’. Eight hundred years later, the line could be describing present day New Ross, and even more so the New Ross Piano Festival, a boutique festival founded by a group of music enthusiasts living in the port town of New Ross in southeast Ireland, who had met at various musical events in neighbouring towns and decided to launch something similar in their own.
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Review by Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone, December 2010
It is an improbable location for a piano festival but, my word, it’s a good one. Snuggled in the south-east corner of Ireland, an easy 30-minute drive from Waterford Airport [landing, baggage collection, passport control and hire car all done in 10 minutes], New Ross lies by the side of the River Barrow. It’s all “a bit shook”, as the locals say.
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Reviewed by Chloe Cutts, Classical Music
Here is a wonderful example of how a little inspiration and a large amount of collective enthusiasm can go a very long way.
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REVIEWS FOR THE 2009 NEW ROSS PIANO FESTIVAL

Reviewed by Pat O’Kelly, Irish Independent
Now in its fourth season, the four-day New Ross Piano Festival, with Finghin Collins as Artistic Director, displays innovative planning both in content and artistic flexibility.
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Reviewed by Jeremy Hill, Wexford Echo
When they buried General John Moore, one time captor of Wexford in 1798, at Corunna in 1809 there was only silence… ‘not a drum was heard, not a funeral note’… and in St. Mary’s Church, New Ross last Friday not a cough was heard, not a snuffled-up sneeze, as Finghin Collins opened this year’s piano festival with Bach’s Partita No.2.
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Reviewed by Dick O’Riordan, Sunday Business Post
St. Mary’s Church sits on a steep hill looking over the grey rooftops and winding streets of New Ross and beyond to the wide Barrow river. It was from here that John F Kennedy’s forebears departed for the New World.
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25 to 28 September 2014