Contempo Quartet to perform at 55th Yeats International Summer School on 31st July 2014

Jan 08, 2014

The Mountain Ash in Connemara

Selected Poems by Joan McBreen featuring original music and arrangements by composer Glen Austin.

The Mountain Ash in Connemara audio CD will feature Contempo Quartet performing a collection of original classical music compositions and arrangements of traditional Irish airs for string quartet by composer Glen Austin. This music will be interspersed with selected poems by Joan McBreen. The original compositions and arrangements will be recorded by Contempo Quartet at Sun Street Studios, Tuam County Galway on February 17th, 18th and 19th 2014.

The Mountain Ash in Connemara audio CD will be launched at Listowel Writer's Week County Kerry at an evening concert at 6pm on Thursday May 29th, venue to be confirmed. Contempo String Quartet will premiere all the music composed and arranged by composer Glen Austin for The Mountain Ash in Connemara CD at this event.

The music from The Mountain Ash in Connemara will also be performed by Contempo Quartet at the Yeats Summer School, Sligo on July 31st at 1pm in the Methodist Church in Sligo town.

A third concert will also be given by Contempo String Quartet at Clifden Arts Week on Tuesday September 23rd 2014 at a lunchtime concert at 1pm in The Church of Ireland Clifden County Galway.


Galway Ensemble in Residence

ConTempo Quartet was founded in 195 at the "George Enescu" Music University in Bucharest, Romania.

Since then, ConTempo won a record of 14 International Awards (London, Berlin, Munich, Prague, Graz, Rome) and performed all over the world, in more than 1200 concerts (Carnegie Hall-NY, Wigmore Hall-London, Berliner Philarmoniker, Opera House-Tel-Aviv, Gedai Hall-Tokyo, Theatre Chatelet-Paris) in 46 countries, becoming one of the most celebrated young quartets in the world, today

They recorded for various CD labels including Universal, Sony, Quartz or Deutsche Schallplatten.

Between 1999 & 2002, ConTempo was appointed Quartet-in-Residence at the Royal Academy of Music in London. There, they were coaching under-graduate & post-graduate chamber music groups and had the opportunity to study with members of the renowned string quartets Amadeus, Alban Berg, Hagen, Emerson & Tokyo.

In 2003, after an International audition, ConTempo became "Galway Ensemble-in-Residence" on the West coast of Ireland, embarking on a unique project, which entered now into the 2nd decade, under the umbrella of Galway Music Residency, sponsored by the National University of Ireland Galway, the Arts Council of Ireland, Galway City and County Councils & Bank of Ireland.

This month, after winning an European Audition, ConTempo was announced as the new RTE Quartet in Residence of the Ireland's National broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ).

ConTempo had the great honor to perform in front of great personalities such as the Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, Prince Charles, EU Ministers, Hollywood stars & Nobel Prize winners.

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RTÉ announces Contempo Quartet as new Resident Quartet

30 November 2013: RTÉ announces Contempo Quartet as new Resident Quartet Following Successful Tender

Following a competitive tender process, RTÉ has announced the internationally acclaimed Contempo Quartet as the new RTÉ string quartet. Replacing the outgoing RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet, Contempo will provide chamber music services to RTÉ as the RTÉ Contempo Quartet for three years, starting in Spring 2014.

Speaking today Aodán Ó Dubhghaill, Interim Executive Director of RTÉ Orchestras, Quartet & Choirs, welcomed the announcement: “In 2011 RTÉ reaffirmed its commitment to chamber music, as well as its commitment to the provision of chamber music services from Cork and Munster. At that time we signalled our intention to tender for services. That tender is now complete, following a lengthy process that considered a range of requirements. I would like to pay tribute to the Vanbrugh Quartet, who have played as the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet for 27 years. Rightly acclaimed, they defined the standard for chamber music in Ireland and we wish them well in what will undoubtedly be their continued success.”

Mr Ó Dubhghaill welcomed the arrival of the RTÉ Contempo Quartet: “With this appointment we open another exciting chapter for chamber music in Ireland. With an exceptional background in performance and education, the RTÉ Contempo Quartet will maintain the chamber music and string quartet presence in Cork while also opening up a new and welcome presence in for RTÉ’s musical presence in Galway. I look forward to announcing their 2014 programme in the new year.”

The appointment sees RTÉ maintain its commitment to chamber music and the string quartet medium, in Cork and beyond. The RTÉ Contempo Quartet will seek to develop opportunities through a range of activities including concerts, broadcasts, recordings, educational and community workshops, multi-media, digital and social media initiatives at local and national levels.

About Contempo Quartet

ConTempo String Quartet was formed in 1995 in Bucharest, Romania. Recognised as one of the world’s top string quartets, ConTempo has won a record of 14 international prizes and performed more that 1,000 concerts all over the world in venues including Carnegie Hall NY, Wigmore Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields and St John's Smith Square in London, The Philharmonie in Berlin, Max-Joseph-Saal in Munich, Théâtre Châtelet in Paris, The Opera House in Tel Aviv, Musée des Beaux Arts in Brussels, Geidai Hall in Tokyo, The Waterfront Hall in Belfast, Athenaeum Hall in Bucharest, National Concert Hall in Dublin and The King's Lynn Festival (where they performed Elgar's Introduction and Allegro for string quartet and orchestra with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra).

ConTempo recorded the Adagio from Beethoven's Opus 131 for Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks’ television drama Band of Brothers. They composed and performed the music for the Danish silent film The Abyss. The quartet also took part in the documentary Deutschland, Deutschland, an ORF & Sat3 production about Haydn's and Siegmund Nissel's lives.

In 1999 they took up a Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music where they taught chamber music classes and worked with some of the most famous quartets in the world: Amadeus, Alban Berg, Hagen, Tokyo and Emerson. Since 2003 they have been Quartet in Residence on the West Coast of Ireland embarking on a unique project, an annual ConTempo Summer Festival, with guest artists such as Emma Johnson, Martin Lovett, Bruno Giuranna, Hugh Tinney, John Feeley and Martin O'Connor.

Joan McBreen Biography

Joan McBreen is from Sligo. She divides her time between Tuam and Renvyle, County Galway. Her poetry collections are: The Wind Beyond the Wall (Story Line Press, 1990), A Walled Garden in Moylough (Story Line Press and Salmon Poetry, 1995), Winter in the Eye – New and Selected Poems (Salmon Poetry, 2003) and this collection, Heather Island (Salmon Poetry, 2009; reprinted 2013). She was awarded an MA from University College, Dublin in 1997. Her anthology The White Page / An Bhileog Bhán – Twentieth-Century Irish Women Poets was published by Salmon in 1999 and is in its third reprint. She also edited and compiled the anthology The Watchful Heart – A New Generation of Irish Poets – Poems and Essays (Salmon, 2009). In October 2013 Joan McBreen toured many universities in Alabama reading and lecturing under that auspices of the BACHE (Birmingham Alabama Consortium of Higher Education) Visiting Writer's Series.

Her poetry is published widely in Ireland and abroad and has been broadcast, anthologised and translated into many languages. Her CD The Long Light on the Land – Selected Poems, read to a background of traditional Irish airs and classical music, was produced by Ernest Lyons Productions, Castlebar, County Mayo in 2004. She has given readings and talks in many universities in the USA including Emory, Villanova, De Paul (Chicago), Cleveland, Lenoir Rhynne, N.C. and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. In 2010 she undertook a six week reading tour of Nebraska, Iowa and Alabama and in 2012 she read at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN and at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

Joan McBreen has been involved for many years with Irish literary festivals such as the Yeats International Summer School, Clifden Arts Week, Listowel Writers’ Week and the Cúirt International Festival of Literature, Galway. She is also a member of the Board of Poetry Ireland.

Glen Austin Biography

Glen Austin is an award winning classical music composer. He also writes and produces music in a variety of other genres and for various productions including Radio, DVD, and Theatre.

In 2010 Glen graduated from DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama with an Honours Degree in Classical Music Pedagogy and Performance, he also holds an Associate Diploma in Performance from London College of Music. Glen is currently an assistant lecturer in music composition and a PhD student at DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama.

Glen is the recipient of various awards for his compositions. Last year he won the IMRO String Orchestra Composition Competition at the 2013 National Feis Ceoil for his composition Through the Void for string orchestra. He was also awarded The Walter Beckett Cup for Original Song in The 2012 National Feis Ceoil competition for his original song Night’s Final Breath for Piano and Soprano.

Glen writes and produces music in a variety of styles including work for Radio, DVD, and Theatre. In 2010 he composed, produced, and recorded title and background music for My Mount Everest an independently produced Radio documentary by Rock finch Productions which was broadcast on Shannon Side and North Sound radio stations. In 2012 he composed, produced, and recorded original music for The Kids from Harbour Road (Lighthouse DVD 1) a German produced educational DVD series.

Glen’s music has been performed by many of Ireland’s leading musicians and ensembles at renowned venues both nationally and internationally. In 2013 Glen was commissioned by Flute Eire flute ensemble (Director Dr Julie Maisel) to compose a new piece for the ensemble. This composition Silverlight received its world premier at the American National Flute Association’s 2013 Annual Convention in New Orleans Louisiana. Also 2013 saw the world premier of his award winning song Night’s Final Breath and The Wait; both were performed by soprano Orla Colleton and pianist Fergal Warren at Castletown House Recital series.