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Music Network presents
Philip Martin’s Avoca: A Celtic Journey

A new commission for massed harp ensemble to mark Music Network’s 30th anniversary

Music Network is delighted to present the premiere of a newly commissioned work for large-scale harp ensemble by the celebrated Irish composer Philip Martin to be performed on Sunday 20th November, 5.30pm in the Great Hall, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin 8. This is a free event with limited capacity, more details at

Former principal conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra David Brophy will conduct a large scale harp ensemble including Laoise Kelly, Anne-Marie O’Farrell, Gráinne Hambly, Dearbhail Finnegan, Tríona Marshall, Michelle Mulcahy, Deirdre Granville, Fiona Gryson, Áine Ní Dhubhgaill, Claire O’ Donnell, Eilís Lavelle and 40-50 professional and non-professional harpers.  The ensemble will be completed with traditional singer Liam O’Maonlai, Aoife Nic Athlaoich (cello) and Cuan Ó Seiradáin & Jacqueline McCarthy (French horns). In celebration of Music Network’s 30th anniversary year, this event is designed to acknowledge the richness of contemporary harp practice in Ireland.

“For centuries the harp has been closely linked with Irish identity and nationality, so given the year that’s in it, it seems only fitting that we celebrate our own anniversary with a large-scale harping event,” says Sharon Rollston, Music Network CEO.

This spectacular live performance follows in the tradition of the famous Belfast Harp Festival of 1792, when folk music collector Edward Bunting annotated dozens of traditional harp tunes, helping to preserve our ancient harping tradition. As a complementary second strand within this project, leading solo harpers will be filmed and recorded in a studio setting performing the entire first volume of the historic Bunting Collection, creating an audio-visual archive that both preserves these melodies, and through their interpretation, reflects the diversity of practice of today’s harpers.

The Philip Martin commission is one of three Music Network commissions this season, along with ‘Edges of Light’, a new collaboration between prodigiously talented dancer Colin Dunne, fiddler Tola Custy, harpist Maeve Gilchrist and uilleann piper David Power and a new commission by Anne Marie O’Farrell, continuing Music Network’s practice of commissioning and including contemporary Irish works in its touring programmes.

Music Network’s mission is to make live music available and accessible to as many people as possible, giving Irish audiences the chance to experience the very best in international chamber, jazz and traditional music in venues throughout Ireland at affordable prices .The Autumn 2016 season concludes with two very special concerts showcasing the otherworldly sounds of vocal ensemble Trio Mediæval and trumpeter Arve Henriksen. Details at

Music Network tours are funded by the Arts Council and presented in association with RTÉ lyric fm. Philip Martin’s Avoca: A Celtic Journey is presented with funding from the Arts Council’s DEIS & Traditional Arts Commissions Awards.

For further information

Permalink - Posted: October 27, 2016 at 3:03 pm