New Ross Piano Festival’s Fabulous Fourteenth Year

The New Ross Piano Festival returns to Co Wexford from September 25 – 29 and its programme is packed with pianists and other musicians from Ireland and around the world.

Barry Douglas, one of Ireland’s finest musical ambassadors, makes his debut at the festival with his Camerata Orchestra. He has established a major international solo career, performing worldwide with the most prestigious orchestras and conductors. This is since winning the Gold Medal at the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow, where he became the first non-Russian pianist to do so since Van Cliburn in 1958.

In addition to his solo career he has formed Camerata Ireland from the finest Irish musicians. The orchestra brings together these players to celebrate the wealth of musical talent from within the Emerald Isle.

Another special guest is charismatic Welsh pianist Gwilym Simcock. He has carved out a career as one of the most gifted pianists and imaginative composers on the European scene, moving effortlessly between jazz and classical music.  Simcock has frequently appeared on British television and radio, having presented Saturday Classics on BBC Radio 3. His debut LP Perception was also nominated for Best Album at the BBC Jazz Awards.

Festival favourites Phil Ware and his Trio will be returning this year. The UK-born Ware made the transition from blues to jazz in his early twenties. After moving to Ireland, he established himself as a major player on the scene and has been in demand from both Irish and international musicians. His career has taken him throughout Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East.

Matan Porat will be performing twice at the festival.  The innovative Israeli pianist and composer will play Brahms Ballades No 1 and 4 at Friday’s opening concert. Meanwhile, on Saturday his late-night solo recital titled LUX will feature music spanning 12 centuries, following the course of a day from dawn to nightfall.

Other international guest pianists include Maurizio Baglini, founder and artistic director of the Amiata Piano Festival in Italy; Sae Yoon Chon, the South Korean winner of the 2018 Dublin International Piano Competition; and Daria van den Bercken, the Dutch-Russian musician renowned for performing in extraordinary spaces (like hanging from a crane at a festival in Rio). It should be noted Bercken will be performing in New Ross in a more conventional setting, playing the Brandenburg Concerto No 5 alongside Camerata Ireland.

Artistic director of The New Ross Piano Festival, Finghin Collins, will also be performing throughout the five-day event. Meanwhile, in addition to the guest pianists’ concerts, there will be other special music events taking place across the town.

To see the full festival line-up and find out more information, visit

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