Thank you to everyone who attended Wednesday night’s concert, an evening of beautiful music and poetry. Thanks to the Sacred Heart Church, to our sponsors, and to everyone who helped to facilitate the event in any way. Thanks in particular to Eric Sweeney and Mark Roper for their wonderful performance. Pictures of the event are now available in our gallery. We’re looking forward to our final concert for 2018 next week, featuring talented German organist, Sebastian Heindl. Further details soon to follow!

Eric Sweeney performing at the Sacred Heart Church

Mark Roper reading his poetry at the Sacred Heart Church

The collaboration between Limerick Pipe Organ Festival and St Mary’s Cathedral in the 850th anniversary celebrations of the cathedral continues, with the next event taking place on Wednesday 20th June at 8 pm in The Sacred Heart Church, The Crescent, Limerick. The featured performers are Eric Sweeney, Organist and Composer, and Mark Roper, Poet. Admission is by donation at the door. All donations go towards festival costs. Thank You.   

Eric Sweeney, who celebrates his 70th birthday this year, is Organist & Choir Master at Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford, former Head of the Music Department at Waterford IT, and a prolific composer.  He began organ lessons while still a choirboy at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin studying with the cathedral organist W.S. Greig. He later studied with Flor Peeters in Belgium and, with the aid of an Italian Government scholarship, with Fernando Germani in Rome. He has given recitals throughout Ireland, both North and South, as well as in England, Sweden, Italy, France, North America and Canada. His programmes reflect a special interest in contemporary music.

He has become well known also for his organ improvisations to silent movies which include The Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, and Nosferatu. He collaborated with the rock group 3epkano for an improvisation to the 1930′s classic film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari at the Kilkenny Arts Festival in August 2011.

Since 2012 he has been collaborating with poet Mark Roper and photographer Paddy Dwan in a series of concerts featuring their work. Mark and Eric also collaborated in a series of creative writing and composing workshops for secondary schools from 2012 to 2013 that culminated in a special concert of student work as part of Waterford New Music Week in February.

Eric and Mark first worked together when they were commissioned to write a work as part of Come the Sails to celebrate the Tall Ships Race in Waterford. Their work, for massed choirs and orchestra, was performed on June 30th 2010. Mark and Eric also collaborated on an opera, The Invader.

In addition to commissions from several important organisations and festivals, Eric’s music has represented Ireland at the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris on five occasions. His works have been broadcast on many European networks as well as in the USA and Canada. He will play a selection of his compositions on the night.

Award-winning poet Mark Roper will read from his latest collection Bindweed (Daedalus Press, 2017), hailed on the RTE website as “a very fine collection, surely one of the best poetry collections published this year.”  Mark Roper is an English-born poet now living near Piltown, in Co. Kilkenny. His first collection of poetry The Hen Ark (Peterloo 1990) won the 1992 Aldeburgh Prize for best first collection. He has published 6 collections since then. A Gather of Shadow (Dedalus 2012) won the Michael Hartnett Award in 2014 and was shortlisted for The Irish Times Poetry Now Award in 2013. The River Book: A Celebration of the Suir, a collaboration with photographer Paddy Dwan, was published, to much acclaim, in 2010. A second collaboration with Paddy Dwan, The Backstrand: Tramore’s Open Secret, was published in 2013. The pair are currently at work on a book about the Comeragh Mountains.

Mark is also an experienced Creative Writing teacher, and has run courses and workshops in many different settings, including schools, prisons, and senior citizen centres. From September 2002 to May 2003 he was writer-in-residence at Waterford Regional Hospital.

Organ and Poetry is a new venture for Limerick Pipe Organ Festival and as such we are really looking forward to the experience.  We hope you can join us to hear these two masters of their arts treat us to a selection of their best work.

Many thanks to everyone involved in making the Three Choirs Concert such a wonderful success! Thank you in particular to everyone who attended, to St. Mary’s Cathedral, and to the three choirs who provided such beautiful music: St. Canice’s Cathedral Choir, Kilkenny, Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Waterford, and our own St. Mary’s choir. Photos of the event will soon be posted in our gallery.

 

As part of the year-long 850th anniversary celebrations at St Mary’s Cathedral, we are delighted to be welcoming cathedral choirs from Waterford and Kilkenny for a special Three Choirs Concert on Saturday 19th May at 5pm. The main work in the programme is Mozart’s popular Coronation Mass. Mozart’s charming mass setting is full of good tunes and lively choral writing, and is an ideal piece for the combined choirs to be singing for this commemorative occasion.  The other main piece to be sung by the assembled forces is Handel’s rousing anthem Zadok the Priest.  The choirs – St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford and our own St Mary’s choir will each be singing a set of pieces on their own, so the programme will be nicely varied. It presents a rare opportunity to hear this kind of musical selection performed live right on our doorstep. Three cathedral choirs for the price of one if you like!

Tickets priced €10, with €8 concessions, are available from the cathedral website, www.saintmaryscathedral.ie, by phoning St Mary’s on 061 310293, or at the door. Please also see the website for more information on this concert and on the many other events throughout the year that have been organised in order to celebrate this significant anniversary of the foundation of St Mary’s Cathedral in 1168.

We hope to see you there!

 

LPOF is looking forward to the first concert of this year’s festival, in collaboration with St. Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick, and Limerick Sinfonia:

 

 

This concert will showcase wonderful local classical musicians, and is also a celebration by Limerick’s classical music community of the 850th anniversary of St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Limerick Sinfonia is a fairly new orchestra to the region in that it was founded in 2014, and gave its first concert as part of the Limerick City of Culture celebrations that year. The orchestra aims to give an opportunity to up and coming musicians from Limerick and the surrounding area, together with established local orchestral players, to take part in orchestral music making at a professional level. The orchestra has its origins in the Limerick School of Music, and two of its original founding ‘leading lights’, Stuart O’Sullivan and John Davis, are closely involved in this upcoming project – Stuart as piano soloist and John as conductor.

We are very grateful to the School’s Principal, David O’Connell and Deputy Principal Cecilia Madden for their support and encouragement in taking this project forward.

John and Stuart will be performing Beethoven’s 3rd Piano Concerto in C minor with the orchestra. In addition, John and the orchestra are performing Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture.

Given the strong and ever growing tradition of classical choral music and singing in Limerick, and the cathedral’s own choral tradition dating back many centuries, we were keen also to include a major choral work in the concert programme for 21st April.

We chose one of Haydn’s late great masses, written when he was in his mid-60’s – the Mass in Time of War (Paukenmesse). We are joined by a team of soloists who between them celebrate local, national and international acclaim. The chorus is made up of celebrated Limerick chamber choir Ancór and St Mary’s Cathedral Choir. We are very grateful to the members of Ancór, and their musical director Cecilia Madden for taking part in the project. Without their commitment and input the choral element of the programme could not have been put together so successfully.

This concert is part of a year-long series of diverse events – religious, musical, historical, and community – to celebrate the 850th anniversary of St. Mary’s Cathedral. These events are being devised and curated by St. Mary’s Cathedral’s new Dean, the Very Revd. Niall Sloane.

This concert has been made possible by the generous support from the Limerick City and County Council Festival and Events Scheme, and also the support of the Limerick School of Music, the cathedral itself and in association with the Limerick Pipe Organ Festival.

Essentially what we have here is some major musical masterpieces guaranteed to thrill and delight any listener, from beginners to cognoscenti!

This music by Beethoven and Haydn is full of energy, surprise and imagination, taking the interested and engaged listener on a wonderful journey, from music that is imposing and sombre to music brimming with effervescence and joy.

You will be very sorry if you miss this concert!