Donegal Chamber Musical Festival 2015

Our friends at the Donegal Chamber Music Society are holding their second Donegal Chamber Musical Festival next week in the beautiful surrounds of Glenveagh National Park. With only 70 to 80 tickets available for the performances in the castle we highly recommend advance booking and you can so so exclusively via An Grianán’s box office.

The festival takes place from Friday 29th May to Sunday 7th of June. The combination of fine music and Glenveagh’s idyllic lake, garden and mountain setting is always a memorable experience. Seven concerts are planned for this Festival, which is held in association with Donegal Music Education Partnership (Donegal ETB), the Regional Cultural Centre & The Glebe Gallery.

Featuring a varied programme of events from orchestral to choral music, music and poetry, students concerts, classical music and Irish Gaelic songs, the DONEGAL CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL is an unmissable event for music lovers in the North West.

Well established local artists such as the Donegal Chamber Orchestra, Szabó-Yélamo String Duo, Dominic Mac Giolla Bhride, Denise Blake, the Conwal Singers and the Donegal Camerata will be performing in this year’s Festival as well as young players like flautist Amy Gillen from Bridgetown, Laghy and violinist Sarah Ponsonby from Letterkenny and the DMEP`s Junior & Intermediate String Orchestras.

The Donegal Chamber Music Society continues to promote contemporary music-making in Ireland; Letterkenny-born composer Derek Ball will be the featured composer of this year’s Festival.

By Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium (Glenveagh National Park  Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Abobve: The Donegal Chamber Music Festival takes place in the idyllic surrounds of  Glenveagh National Park. Image by Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium (Glenveagh National Park Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Seven concerts will be presented over two weekends in different locations around Glenveagh. Five of them take place at Glenveagh and the other two between the Glebe Gallery and the Regional Cultural Centre. This year’s Festival also includes a Summer Music Camp for Strings based at the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny.

Friday 29th May 8pm, Auditorium of the Visitor Centre, Glenveagh Castle [booking essential]

The opening concert features the Donegal Chamber Orchestra with guest flautist Amy Gillen (ESB Feis Ceoil prize-winners 2014) and music from the Baroque age to the present. The programme will celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Russian composer Alexander Glazunov with his Variations for Strings Op. 97. Also included is music by Boyce, Delius, Mascagni, Vivaldi and Derek Ball’s ‘Monster of the Forest’.

Saturday 30th May 12.30pm in The Glebe Gallery [free]

A free Family concert follows in the nearby Glebe Gallery (beside Lough Gartan) at 12.30pm, given by the Junior Strings and the Intermediate Orchestras of the Donegal Music Education Partnership, with young violinist Sarah Ponsonby as soloist in Derek Ball’s Miniature Violin Concertos. Works by Gluck, Haydn, Grieg and music from the Disney movies will complete this lunchtime recital.

Sunday 31st May at 8pm, Drawing Room, Glenveagh Castle [booking essential]

Franz Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 51 “The Seven Last Words of Christ”. Haydn’s masterpiece will be performed in the Castle by the Donegal Camerata String Quartet. Celebrated local poet Denise Blake will read poems by Mark Strand between the movements of this wonderful music by Haydn, known as the ‘Father of the string quartet’.

Bank Holiday Monday 1st June at 6.30pm, Auditorium of the Visitor Centre [booking essential]

A Recital by acclaimed Gaoth Dobhair seán-nós singer and composer Dominic Mac Giolla Bhríde, who will perform alongside Donegal Camerata for an evening that includes both Classical Music and traditional Irish songs. This recital takes place in the Auditorium of the Visitor Centre at Glenveagh.

Friday 5th of June at 8pm, RCC Letterkenny [free]

Music Education.

The second weekend of the Festival starts with the Donegal Music Education Partnership’s Chamber Music for Strings Programme at the Regional Cultural Centre. The course is led by the Szabó-Yélamo String Duo. This wife-and-husband ensemble is well known to music lovers across the North West and has a strong relationship with Letterkenny’s cultural venue. A Students’ Concert by participants of this course will take place on Friday 5th June in the RCC, Letterkenny at 8pm. This concert is free: voluntary donations will be welcome.

The festival returns to Glenveagh Castle for the last two events . Glenveagh’s intimate drawing-room has limited seating accommodation, and concert guests have to be conveyed to the Castle by minibus from the Visitors Centre; patrons are advised to book early!  See below for booking details.

Saturday 6th June 8pm, Drawing Room, Glenveagh Castle [booking essential]

This is the day for Choral Music Lovers. The Festival presents “Songs for a Summer Evening” with the Conwal Singers conducted by Karen Patton. This four-part chamber choir, based in Letterkenny, will offer a programme including music by Saint-Saens, Delibes, Bob Chilcott, Janequin and Derek Ball’s Five Tagore Songs.

Sunday 7th June at 6.30pm. Drawing Room, Glenveagh Castle [booking essential]

“Serenades at the Castle” is the title of this year Festival’s closing concert. The Donegal Camerata String Quintet will perform a programme that includes Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’(in its original instrumentation for string quintet), Derek Ball’s Brian Rae’s Berceuse, Piazzolla’s Oblivion and Liber tango as well as Barber’s Adagio, among other pieces.

The 2nd Donegal Chamber Music Festival at Glenveagh National Park runs from Friday May 29th – Sunday June 7th.

Tickets can be booked at An Grianán Theatre Box Office: 074 9120777 or online at www.angrianan.ticketsolve. com You can collect your tickets at An Grianán in advance but don’t worry if you can’t. We will send the tickets to Glenveagh on the day for collection at the venue.

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