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Conor Mitchell unveils new classical work with Ulster Orchestra

Tuesday 9th February 2016 at 12pm 0 Comments Music & Opera

Award winning flautist Eimear McGeown is pictured with composer and recent recipient of the Arts Council's Major Individual Artist Award, Conor Mitchell ahead of the performance in Portadown later this month Image: Award winning flautist Eimear McGeown is pictured with composer and recent recipient of the Arts Council's Major Individual Artist Award, Conor Mitchell ahead of the performance in Portadown later this month

A new classical work by internationally acclaimed composer and musical dramatist, Conor Mitchell, will be unveiled later this month in a showcase performance featuring members of the Ulster Orchestra and South Ulster Community Band alongside award-winning flautist, Eimear McGeown.

Conor, who has recently been announced as one of three recipients of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s MIA (Major Individual Artist) Award 2016, the highest honour bestowed by the arts development agency, has created a flute concerto to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the City of Craigavon in 1965.  Entitled, ‘The Craigavon Variations 1965’, the piece will be performed in Portadown Town Hall on Saturday 20th February at the band’s annual concert. 

Discussing the new work Conor commented:

For me, what is exciting about this new piece is that there are three musics happening simultaneously.  The soloist, the band and the wind section of the orchestra all work together to create a sort of multi-levelled ‘wall of sound’.  It’s a risk because wind instruments will battle each other for space in the ear!  But, without a challenge, what’s the point?

This commission and concert is a brilliant example of different organisations talking to one another and, moreover, of music being ‘useful’ to the world it lives in.  It marks an occasion, is localised, and brings together musicians of all levels of excellence,  And- for me- the beauty here is that a new work is at the centre of it; new music – a new little idea – is the engine that drives the whole event, rehearsals and collaborations.  Both Eimear and myself began as children in this band and the current conductor is my brother, so bands like this, as well as being garden’s for one’s own musicianship, have a real sense of family and community.”

The collaboration between the South Ulster Community Band and the Ulster Orchestra has been supported by National Lottery Funding through the Arts Council’s Small Grants Programme. 

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council, commented:

“The Arts Council is delighted to support this performance and development of new work.  The collaboration between South Ulster Community Band with Ulster Orchestra has worked incredibly well. It is an outstanding example of what can be achieved through the Orchestra’s continuing outreach and engagement work which aims to take musical excellence right into the heart of communities across the region.  I would encourage everyone to go along and enjoy an evening of wonderful music.”

Tickets for the performance which takes place at Portadown Town Hall cost £10 (adult) and £5 (Under 12s), available at www.sucb.org


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