Classical stars bound for festival with bright future

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The director of the Walled City Festival, which is bringing Sir James Galway and the Kronos Quartet to Derry in a couple of weeks’ time, says he hopes this year’s event will give a major boost to the festival’s profile - and be another stepping stone towards 2013.

Pianist Dr Cathal Breslin, who’s playing at promotional events in Belfast today and Foyleside in Derry tomorrow, says it’s vital that people in the North West and further afield are aware of the quality of the concerts that are on the way.

He told the Journal; “This really is a programme to be proud of - you’re talking world class. It’s a fantastic achievement for a festival which is still relatively new on the scene to attract the likes of Sir James Galway, the violinist Ye-Eun Choi, tipped to be a major star, the Kronos Quartet, the Gould Piano Trio, Jonathan Lemalu and more. These are all names to conjure with in the world of classical music and we’re getting the chance to hear them in the city.”

The Walled City Festival is expected to be the talk of Belfast today when Cathal takes a grand piano into the Translink station in the city centre.

Here in Derry there’s a chance to catch him in action in Foyleside tomorrow as he continues his efforts to let the world know about the festival.

Cathal said; “Part of the reason we’re able to attract top names to the Walled City Festival is because they’re buying in to what we’re trying to do here - bring the best of classical music to a city which is emerging from a troubled past, and give opportunities to young people here.”

There’s a whole series of masterclasses, workshops and lectures during the Festival, featuring many of the visiting artistes, including Jonathan Lemalu, the Gould Piano Trio, the Houston Winds and others.

One of the festival highlights will certainly be the visit of Sir James Galway and his wife Lady Jeanne to play the Forum on Sunday August 8th at 8pm. They’ll be accompanied by Michael McHale on piano. Sir James, who’s originally from Belfast, has been regarded for many years as one of the world’s greatest flautists and is one of the best-known classical musicians, nicknamed ‘The Man with the Golden Flute’. He has sold more than 30 million albums and appeared on television and in leading concert halls across the globe.

Another much-anticipated appearance at the festival is that of the Kronos Quartet, who will be playing WTC 9/11, a new work by the Pulitzer Prize winning composer Steve Reich based on the attacks on the World Trade. The quartet plays in the Great Hall in Magee on Saturday 30th July at 8pm.