History and politics are not the only forums to attract Americans to New Ross in Co Wexford this September. Following the Kennedy Summer School and before the new Eugene O’Neill weekend, this year’s Piano Festival line-up features the highly acclaimed American pianist of Irish extraction, Anne-Marie McDermott who makes her Irish debut at the opening concert on Friday 28th September in St. Mary’s Church at 8 pm. Hailed as “ one of the great  American pianists of her generation” Anne Marie will  perform in three main concerts and give a Masterclass to up and coming young pianists on Saturday 29th September.

Also making her Irish debut is the amazing Romanian pianist Alexandra Dariescu who along with Anne Marie and festival artistic director Finghin Collins will be joined by Bulgarian violinist Svetlin Roussev and French cellist Marc Coppey for performances of three piano trios across the weekend. The noon coffee concerts on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th feature two young pianists, French pianist Francois Dumont, already a prizewinner of many piano competitions and Cuban pianist Marcos Madrigal, who lives in Italy.

The Jazz Day on Thursday 27th features renowned Swedish jazz pianist Lars Jansson while Israeli pianist David Greilsammer will perform his fascinating late night concert, Labyrinth. Ireland is represented by Finghin Collins, young Waterford pianist Billy O’Brien and Phil Ware and his jazz trio.

The Piano Festival is unique in its focus, and it has caught the imagination of the UK music magazine, The Pianist, which has named it as one of the top ten music festivals to visit in Europe this year.

The festival’s concerts take place predominantly in St Mary’s Church, a Church of Ireland church built in the footprint of the nave of the original Norman building founded by the famous William Marshal, the Norman knight who built the town of New Ross as a port for his exports and imports. The remaining walls of that ancient building, flood-lit at night, form an impressive background to the church.   It has a wonderful acoustic, remarked upon by all who attend.

“It is an improbable location for a piano festival but, my word, it’s a good one. Snuggled in the south-east corner of Ireland, an easy 30-minute drive from Waterford Airport [landing, baggage collection, passport control and hire car all done in 10 minutes], New Ross lies by the side of the River Barrow.

 “Here is a wonderful example of how a little inspiration and a large amount of collective enthusiasm can go a very long way.”

 “Last year in September was my second visit to the small, picturesque town of New Ross in County Wexford, Ireland. Pianofiles cannot ask for much more than a festival across four full days. What is more, the acoustic in St Mary’s Church, the main concert venue, rivals many of the great chamber-music acoustics available”.


See further information on this year’s artistes and the full festival programme on


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