Leonard Elschenbroich cello and Alexei Grynyuk piano

Sonoro Quartet

Patrick Rafter violin and Fiachra Garvey piano

The Far Flung Trio

The Vanbrugh and Friends

The Piatti Quartet

Claudia Boyle soprano and Finghin Collins piano

2023-24 was a very satisfying season – filled with exciting music, well attended and thoroughly enjoyed by audiences.

Our opening concert saw the return of two internationally acclaimed soloists who had performed for Con Brio ten years ago, but on this occasion they played together – the great Ukrainian pianist Alexei Grynyuk and the outstanding German cellist Leonard Elschenbroich. They performed music by Franck, Brahms and Chopin.

Next up was our first concert from the very fine young musicians of the Sonoro Quartet who were founded only three years ago but have already achieved high international acclaim. Their violist is Seamus Hickey from Cork. Their programme embraced music by Beethoven, Shostakovich and also The Devil’s Dream, a most interesting composition by Derry composer Sean Doherty – it was an exciting fusion of classical and Irish traditional music.

Patrick Rafter (violin) from Kilkenny and Fiachra Garvey (piano) played a concert of works by Schumann, Ravel, Ysaÿe and Lekeu.
In January we had a very welcome return visit by the Far Flung Trio (Katherine Hunka violin, Dermot Dunne accordion, and Malachy Robinson double bass) performing an eclectic but very entertaining programme of music by Paganini, Piazzolla, Grieg, Verdi, Edith Piaf and George Gershwin.

Next were the Vanbrugh and Friends playing a Beethoven Quintet and a Brahms string sextet.

In March we had a return visit by the Piatti Quartet, led by Belfast born violinist Michael Traynor, performing music by Mendelssohn, E.J.Moeran, Charlotte Harding and to finish they gave a lovely rendition of the brilliant American Quartet by Anton Dvorak.

Our final concert of the season was a gala performance by the very popular Irish soprano Claudia Boyle, accompanied by Finghin Collins on piano. The programme included arias from opera, lieder, popular songs, music from stage shows and traditional Irish songs.



Clara-Jumi Kang violin and Sunwook Kim piano

The Marmen Quartet

The Degani Piano Trio

Michael McHale piano

The Callino Quartet

The Irish Chamber Orchestra with Kristian Bezuidenhout Director

2022-2023 saw old friends welcomed back including The Degani Piano Trio, The Callino String Quartet and the Irish Chamber Orchestra. The ICO brought our season to a wonderful conclusion in front of a capacity audience in Sligo’s Hawks Well Theatre with their director Kristian Bezuidenhout presenting Mozart concertos and works by Purcell and Gluck.

New visitors included an outstanding duo from Korea and Germany – Clara-Jumi Kang (violin) and Sunwook Kim (piano) and the excellent Marmen Quartet from Sweden, New Zealand, The Netherlands and Ireland. The talented young Cork cellist, Sinead O’Halloran, joined the Marmen in 2021. Their brilliant playing of Bartok and Beethoven had the audience enraptured. They also gave a delightful performance of Ian Wilson’s Rossiniana – a collage of famous Rossini themes written a few years ago for our founder Luisa McConville to celebrate Con Brio’s 20th anniversary.



The Lir Quartet

Christopher Marwood Cello

Finghin Collins Piano

The Vanbrugh & Michael McHale Piano

Cahal Masterson Piano

Amy Dickson Alto Saxophone

Simon Mulligan Piano

Sonoko Miriam Welde Violin

The Callino Quartet

Irish Baroque Orchestra with Alfredo Bernardini

With the lifting of the pandemic restrictions, 2021/2022 season saw the return of live music events much to the relief and enjoyment of artists and audiences alike.

Old friends were welcomed back – the Callino QuartetFinghin Collins, the Vanbrugh and Michael McHale. The Irish Baroque Orchestra with oboist and director Alfredo Bernardini provided a grand finale to the season.

New to Con Brio audiences, up and coming Irish pianist Cahal Masterson was warmly welcomed and applauded. This concert is part of Con Brio’s policy to encourage young Irish talent North and South. Also new to Con Brio was the exceptional saxophonist Amy Dickson with Simon Mulligan (piano) and Sonoko Miriam Welde (violin) and the Lir Quartet, one of Ireland’s most exciting young string quartets. They were joined by Christopher Marwood on cello for Schubert’s wonderful String quintet in C major.

Five concerts featured pieces by Irish composers – John Kinsella, Siobhan Cleary, Linda Buckley, Ronan Guilfoyle and Eric Sweeney.



Anime Violin Trio – Dušica Mladenović, Mina Dekić & Marina Popović

The Esposito Quartet & Redmond O’Toole Guitar

The Degani Piano Trio & Barry McGovern Narrator

The Vanbrugh & Michael McHale Piano & Malachy Robinson Double Bass

Fiachra Garvey Piano

The Piatti Quartet

The Irish Chamber Orchestra

The 2019/20 season presented a programme strongly focused on Irish and Irish-based artists. This was a deliberate choice. Ireland is a small country with few performance venues devoted to classical music. This makes it difficult for the many talented Irish performers to procure regular performance gigs. It’s important to Con Brio to support our native talent and we encourage our audiences in Sligo to do the same. 

The season commenced in September with a concert by three Serbian violinists – the Anime Trio, followed by four concerts with Irish and Irish-based artists – the Esposito Quartet, the Degani Piano Trio with guest Barry McGovern, the Vanbrugh with Michael McHale and Malachy Robinson and for the fourth concert pianist Fiachra Garvey. The Covid-19 Pandemic lockdown sadly necessitated the cancellation of the remaining two concerts – the Piatti Quartet and the Irish Chamber Orchestra.



Irish Baroque Orchestra with Joanne Lunn Soprano

Marc Coppey Cello

Yury Revich Violin & Benedict Kloeckner Cello

Natalie Clein Cello, Julius Drake Piano & Claire Booth Soprano

RTE ConTempo Quartet

Barry Douglas Piano

Carducci Quartet & Julian Bliss Clarinet

For 2018/19 we had many great names in our programme including Peter Whelan, the wonder boy of Irish music. We were delighted that the outstanding French cellist Marc Coppey returned to play for Con Brio in October. We have a bit of bias towards cellists this season: Benedict Kloeckner is one of Germany’s most acclaimed young cellists and of course Natalie Clein has a huge following as a diva of the cello! Yury Revich (violin) joined Benedict Kloeckner for what was a breath-taking journey through some of the most exquisite pieces in the classical canon. As regards to the piano both Julius Drake and Barry Douglas have huge international careers in their respective fields. Last but not least our friends the ConTempo are one the best string quartets in Ireland today and we were delighted to host once again the Carducci with the amazing Julian Bliss.



Tine Thing Helseth Trumpet

Irish Chamber Orchestra

Katherine Hunka Violin & Finghin Collins Piano

RTE ConTempo Quartet

William Butt Cello, Lance Coburn Piano, Aoife Ni Bhriain Violin, Deirdre Moynihan Soprano & Lioba Petrie Cello

Alessandro Taverna Piano

The Far Flung Trio

Highlights from our 2017/18 season included probably Europe’s greatest exponent of classical trumpet – the talented and vivacious Tine Thing Helseth from Norway. We also presented a return visit by the acclaimed Italian pianist Alessandro Taverna. The Irish Baroque Orchestra with director Peter Whelan presented a rich and varied concert of music from the Baroque period. Finghin Collins (piano) and Katherine Hunka’s (violin) performance included a piece by Ian Wilson-a tribute to our former Music Advisor, who contributed so much to the development of Con Brio. The RTE ConTempo Quartet, the Dublin-based Salon music series, Kaleidoscope and the Far Flung Trio completed the remainder of the 2017/2018 series.



Lina Andonovska Flute, Alec O’Leary Guitar & Claudia Schwab Fiddle

Hugh Tinney Piano

Irish Baroque Orchestra

The Vanbrugh Quartet

The Piatti Quartet

Emmanuelle Betrand Cello & Pascal Amoyel Piano

Elizabeth Cooney, Mairead Hickey, Violins, Simon Aspell, Ruth Gibson, Violas & Guy Johnston, Brian O’Kane, Cellos

September 2016 saw Con Brio collaborate with The Model on Culture night. Kaleidoscope with musicians Lina AndonovskaShahob and Shayan Coobe and Redmond O’Toole presented its four musical happenings simultaneously in different locations in The Model encompassing a musical spectrum from J. S. Bach to classical Persian music.

The season concert series for the 2016–17 embraced music from the baroque to contemporary, all played by ensembles and soloists of the highest calibre. It included two string quartets – the outstanding young players of the Piatti Quartet from London, returning for the second time and the wonderful, ever popular Vanbrugh Quartet who were making their final tour before disbanding due to the imminent departure of one of their members. The programme also included performances by pianist Hugh Tinney, the Bertrand/Amoyel Duo (cello and piano) and closed with a concert by the Sextet comprising Elizabeth Cooney and Mairead Hickey (violins), Simon Aspell and Ruth Gibson (violas), Guy Johnston and Brian O’Kane (cellos).



Vanbrugh Quartet

Christopher Marwood Cello

Michael McHale Piano

Sylvia O’Brien Soprano

Far Flung Trio – Katherine Hunka Violin, Dermot Dunne Accordion and Malachy Robinson Double Bass

ConTempo Quartet 

Alex Petcu Colan Marimba

Trio di Parma

Chloe Hanslip Violin

Danny Driver Piano

Rachel Croash Soprano

Nadene Fiorentini Piano

The new season commenced with the Vanbrugh Quartet playing string quartets by Mozart, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky. Christopher Marwood was also back for the next concert – playing the cello to Michael McHale’s piano and Sylvia O’Brien (soprano) in a song recital embracing compositions of Previn, Massenet and Berlioz as well as instrumental pieces by Schubert, Sculthorpe and Hammond. The evening concluded with a fine rendition of Manuel de Falla’s Seven Spanish Songs, arranged for voice, cello and piano. Ian Wilson’s new experimental opera, the Last Siren was given in the Model on 6 December. The Far Flung Trio Katherine Hunka (violin), Dermot Dunne (accordion) and Malachy Robinson (double bass) – played music by Bach, Kreisler, Repnikov, Piazzolla, Erelli, Piaf and Liszt in a delightfully entertaining concert. The ConTempo Quartet were back in Sligo to play quartets by Schubert  and Haydn and Ney Rosario’s Concerto for Marimba and Strings with Alex Petcu Colan (marimba). In March the Trio di Parma performed Beethoven, Alkan and Saint-Saëns. Chloe Hanslip (violin) and Danny Driver (piano) gave a stylish performance of music by Beethoven, Prokofiev and Strauss. The season ended with a “Rising Stars” recital by Rachel Croash (soprano) accompanied by Nadene Fiorentini (piano). 



Caoimhin O Raghallaigh Fiddle

Alexei Grynyuk Violin

Leonard Elschenbroich Cello

Fidelio Trio – Darragh Morgan Violin, Mary Dullea Piano and Ashok Klouda Cello

Irish Chamber Orchestra with Várdai István Cello

Joanna McGregor Piano

Piatti Quartet with Michael Collins Clarinet

The Callino Quartet with Ailish Tynan Soprano

Our opening concert in 2014-2015 was a solo show by Caoimhin O Raghallaigh, the very talented Irish traditional fiddler who plays a 10 string Hardanger violin from Norway. Using his fiddle and a film projector Caoimhin presented his own unique and wonderful take on what makes Irish traditional music so beautiful. He also plays with The Gloaming. October’s concert saw the astoundingly talented Kiev born violinist Alexei Grynyuk in a spellbinding performance of Scarlatti, Chopin, Liszt and Mussorgsky. In November we had the brilliant young cellist Leonard Elschenbroich playing Bach, Hindemith, Piatti, Tavener and Lombardi. The Fidelio Trio, a London based piano trio is made up of two Irish musicians – Darragh Morgan (violin), Mary Dullea (piano) and Ashok Klouda (cello). They played a gorgeous concert of Saint-Saëns, Guilfoyle and Ravel. Next, we had the return of the Irish Chamber Orchestra with special guest cellist Várdai István and a programme of Shostakovich, a world premiere piece by Sam Perkin and Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A minor. Pianist Joanna McGregor is a household name and is a performer that Sligo audiences were thrilled to hear in a live recital of music by Bach, Shostakovich, Chopin, Piazzolla, as well as Gospel and blues music from the U.S. The Piatti Quartet performed in February with guest Michael Collins (clarinet) in a programme of Haydn, Wolf, Mozart and young English composer Joseph Phibbs whose family hail from Sligo. The Callino Quartet together with guest soprano Ailish Tynan performed quartets by Haydn and Brahms and Schoenberg’s Quartet No2 for string quartet and soprano.

On May 1st, the Music in Drumcliffe festival opened with a special concert to commemorate the life and work of the late great John Ruddock. Con Brio jointly presented this concert with Music in Drumcliffe



Catherine Leonard Violin and Hugh Tinney Piano

Michael Collins Clarinet and Michael McHale Piano

Nikolay Khozyainov Piano

ConTempo Quartet

Alessandro Taverna Piano

Elizabeth Cooney Violin, Marc Coppey Cello and Finghin Collins Piano

Manus Noble Guitar

We commenced the 2013-2014 season with our longstanding friends and great musicians Catherine Leonard (violin) and Hugh Tinney (piano), giving their always polished performance of sonatas by Beethoven, Brahms and Fauré. Michael Collins (clarinet) joined Michael McHale (piano) in music by Brahms, Weber, Lutoslawski and Horowitz. Dublin International Piano Competition 2012 winner, Nikolay Khozyainov, played music from Haydn, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Liszt and Martin O’Leary. The ConTempo Quartet played Haydn, Beethoven, Wolf and Ian Wilson. Alessandro Taverna, renowned pianist from Venice, gave a recital of works by Mendelssohn, Ravel, Liszt, Debussy and Stravinsky. A stellar piano trio – Elizabeth Cooney (violin), Marc Coppey (cello) and Finghin Collins (piano) – gave a great performance of works by Haydn, Shostakovich and Dvořák. We completed the season with a guitar recital in Markree Castle by Manus Noble.



Academy Chamber Ensemble

Linda Lee Soprano

Vanbrugh Quartet

Míċeál O’Rourke Piano

Stephen Ackert Narrator

Maxim Rysanov Viola and Katya Apekishiva Piano

Nicolai Demidenko Piano

Redmond O’Toole Guitar

Once again, this season commenced with the Irish Chamber Orchestra who played works by Philip Glass, Schubert, Linda Buckley and Dvořák. Next, the Academy Chamber Ensemble (6 musicians from the Royal Irish Academy) gave a concert of music by Beethoven, Mozart and Piazzola. Soprano Linda Lee, winner of the prestigious Belvedere competition in Vienna, gave a wonderful rendition of Schubert’s beautiful “Shepherd on the Rock -Der Hirt auf dem Felsen” and some stunning songs by Reynaldo Hahn and Hamilton Harty’s Sea Wrack. The Vanbrugh Quartet played a concert of works by Mozart, Schubert and a new commission from Con Brio by Deirdre McKay – Mr Shah Stares to the Heavens. Míċeál O’Rourke returned to give a piano recital of works by Debussy and Mussorgsky. Stephen Ackert, head of music at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC narrated the music programme and projected slides of artwork from the NGA and other celebrated art collections. Maxim Rysanov (viola) and Katya Apekishiva (piano) presented a concert of works by Bach, Schubert, Debussy, Ravel, Fauré and Dubugnon. Nicolai Demidenko is a world-renowned concert pianist. He came to Sligo in April to give a riveting performance of major works by Schubert and Beethoven. Redmond O’Toole gave his usual wonderful guitar performance with works by Scarlatti, Bach, Giulani and Tarrega at Markree Castle.

John Allen gave two talks in our winter lecture series – on the operas of Verdi and Wagner.



Irish Chamber Orchestra with Martin Hayes Fiddle and Dennis Cahill Guitar

The Cappa Ensemble – Bartosz Woroch Violin, Adam Newman Viola, Brian O’Kane Cello and Michael McHale Piano

Maria McGarry Piano

Alan Smale’s Degani Quartet with Cara O’Sullivan Soprano

ConTempo String Quartet

Irish Youth Chamber Choir 

RTE National Symphony Orchestra with Gautier Capucon Cello

Michael O’Toole Guitar

The Irish Chamber Orchestra together with Irish traditional musicians Martin Hayes (fiddle) and Dennis Cahill (guitar), opened the 2011-2012 season in a delightful programme that merged the classical with the traditional. Martin is a truly astonishing talent, his mastery of the violin, his acknowledgement of the past and his shaping of the future have made him a formidable ground breaking performer. The concert included music by Grieg and Ginastera – in the classical mould, an arrangement of Moore’s Last Rose of Summer and modern compositions in the traditional style by Dave Flynn. The Cappa Ensemble, comprising Bartosz Woroch (violin), Adam Newman (viola), Brian O’Kane (cello) and Michael McHale (piano) played an evening of Bach, Liszt, Bax, Ian Wilson and Mozart. The very talented young Mayo pianist – Maria McGarry – played a concert of music by Bach, Granados and Robert Schumann. The late Cork born soprano Cara O’Sullivan performed with Alan Smale’s Degani Quartet (violin, viola, cello and oboe) in a magical concert, which included oboe quartets by Mozart, Gatti and Haydn, a string trio by Schubert and songs by Gounod, Bellini and Ravel. The ConTempo String Quartet gave a concert of Haydn, Schubert’s Death and the Maiden and the world premiere of a new work by Deirdre McKay. The newly formed Irish Youth Chamber Choir gave a glorious concert in the Hawk’s Well under artistic director Greg Beardsell. It included contemporary compositions by Lukaszewski, James McMillan, Eric Whitacre, and Greg Scanlon. The highlight of our concert year was the performance of the RTE National Symphony Orchestra under Paul McCreesh playing Elgar’s Cello Concerto with soloist internationally acclaimed Gautier Capucon and Beethoven Symphony No.6 in F (Pastoral) in the Knocknarea Arena of Sligo Institute of Technology. The season concluded with a guitar recital by Michael O’Toole.

John Allen gave a lecture to compliment his “Divo’s” lecture of last year with a talk on “Opera Divas”.



Irish Chamber Orchestra

Orquesta de Cuerdas Españolas

Finghin Collins Piano

The Irish Baroque Orchestra

The Carducci Quartet

Trio di Parma

Elizabeth Cooney Violin and Elisaveta Blumina Piano

Hugh Tinney Piano

This season opened in September with a visit by the Irish Chamber Orchestra. Directed by Katherine Hunka, the orchestra played a largely Italian programme of music by Rossini, Vivaldi and Puccini in addition to Hugo Wolf and Elaine Agnew. The Orquesta de Cuerdas Españolas played a programme of Spanish and Italian music together with a new composition by Ian Wilson – An t-Iarthar (the West). The following concert was a piano recital by Finghin Collins. The Irish Baroque Orchestra played a varied programme of music from the Baroque era. The Carducci Quartet (from London) played a concert of quartets by Mozart, Brian Boydell and Felix Mendelssohn. The wonderful Trio di Parma returned in February to play works by Busoni, Robert Schumann and Schubert. Elizabeth Cooney (violin) and Elisaveta Blumina (piano) from St. Petersburg played works by Mozart, Seabourne, Ravel, Silvestrov and Prokofiev. The concert season concluded with a visit by Irish pianist Hugh Tinney to play music by Debussy, Chopin, Murail and Ravel.

John Allen gave a winter lecture on “Divos”, playing and contrasting the performances of the leading tenors of the current era.



Amanda Cook Guitar

Vanbrugh Quartet

Catherine Leonard Violin and Hugh Tinney Piano

Tasmin Little Violin

Ensemble Avalon – Michael McHale Piano, Ioanna Petcu-Colan Violin and Gerald Peregrine Cello

Katherine Hunka Violin with Dermot Dunne Accordion

Míċeál O’Rourke Piano

Most of our concerts this year were relocated to Sligo Methodist Church due to unavailability of the Model, which was undergoing further rebuilding and expansion. Amanda Cook (from the UK) opened the season with a guitar recital in Markree Castle. The Vanbrugh Quartet played a concert with works by Haydn, Rimsky Korsakov, Borodin and Tchaikovsky. Catherine Leonard (violin) and Hugh Tinney (piano) gave a concert of works by Beethoven, Debussy and Deirdre McKay. Tasmin Little (violin) played an evening of works by Bach, Bartók, Ysaÿe and Patterson. Ensemble Avalon, a new piano trio comprising Michael McHale (piano), Ioanna Petcu-Colan (violin) and Gerald Peregrine (cello), gave a ravishing concert of works by Haydn, Pärt (including the famous “Spiegel im Spiegel”), Fauré and Shostakovich. Katherine Hunka (violin) with Dermot Dunne (accordion) gave an entertaining innovative performance of works by Tartini, Scarlatti, Stravinsky, Paganini, de Falla, Guilfoyle and Piazzola. Míċeál O’Rourke returned to Sligo to end our season with a terrific all Chopin evening.

Ian Wilson continued his music lecture series with five informative talks.



London Irish Camerata

Redmond O’Toole Guitar

Ensemble Chameleon with Aisling Casey Oboe

Trio di Parma

David Grimal Violin, Anne Gastinel Cello and Philip Cassard Piano

François-Frédéric Guy Piano

RTE National Symphony Orchestra with Bernd Glemser Piano

The London Irish Camerata, comprising Irish musicians working in London, opened this year’s programme playing Mozart, Piazzolla and Tchaikovsky. The very talented guitarist Redmond O’Toole who plays his instrument in the manner of a cello gave an exciting concert in Markree Castle, of works by Scarlatti, Bach, Albeniz, Torroba, Rodrigo and Brouwer. Ensemble Chameleon with Aisling Casey (oboe) paid a visit from the Netherlands to play works by R. Strauss, Britten and Ian Wilson. The Italian Trio di Parma played a concert of works for piano trio by Haydn, Schumann and Schubert. The French piano trio of David Grimal (violin), Anne Gastinel (cello) and Philip Cassard (piano) played trios and sonatas by Debussy, Mendelssohn, Tanguy and Ravel. The Vogler Quartet returned with works by Haydn, Schulhoff and Beethoven. The internationally renowned French pianist François-Frédéric Guy played a lovely concert of sonatas by Schubert, Stockhausen and Beethoven. The crowning glory of our year was the visit of the RTE National Symphony Orchestra under Gerhard Markson and pianist Bernd Glemser. They performed symphonies by Haydn (No 94), Brahms (No 4) and Liszt’s Piano Concerto No 1 in E Flat Major.

Our lecture series this year included lectures by Ian Wilson on Masterworks and by John Allen on Puccini.



Irish Chamber Orchestra

Anika Vavić Piano

Vanbrugh Quartet

Finghin Collins Piano and Guy Johnston Cello

Pascal Rogé Piano

Vogler Quartet

Mairéad Buicke Soprano and Seung-Wook Seong Baritone

This season opened with a gala concert by the Irish Chamber Orchestra. The programme included Arvo Pärt, Vivaldi, Sammartini and Bruch. Viennese pianist Anika Vavić played Haydn, Chopin and Prokofiev. The Vanbrugh Quartet played music by Schubert and Steve Reich. Finghin Collins (piano) and Guy Johnston (cello) gave us an evening of Debussy, Brahms, Beethoven, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich. The great French pianist Pascal Rogé gave a wonderful introduction to all the major French composers for piano. The Vogler Quartet played a programme of Mozart, Beethoven and Blacher. The final event of the season saw young Irish soprano Mairéad Buicke give an opera and song recital with Korean baritone Seung-Wook Seong.

Our winter series of musical talks saw John Allen compare some of the greatest operatic singers of today with those of years gone by. And Ian Wilson introduced some great instrumentalists, past and present.



Callino Quartet

Matthew Schellhorn Piano

Oslo Quartet with Vebjorn Anvik Piano

Opera Theatre Company

Kammerspiel Piano Trio

Vogler Quartet with Eugene Mursky Piano

Finghin Collins Piano

The Callino Quartet opened our 2006-2007 season with a polished performance of quartets by Haydn, Shostakovich, and Mendelssohn. Matthew Schellhorn gave a Chopin recital in October. The Oslo Quartet with Vebjorn Anvik (piano) performed Beethoven Op.131 and Robert Schumann Piano Quintet in E Flat Major. In November Con Brio partnered with Opera Theatre Company in presenting Humperdink’s Hansel and Gretel. The Kammerspiel Piano Trio performed trios by Ian Wilson, Mendelssohn and Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess Suite. In January the Vogler Quartet were joined by the exceptionally talented pianist Eugene Mursky from Tashkent in a programme of music by Haydn, Schnittke and Brahms. Finghin Collins rounded off the season with a recital of works by Handel, Haydn, Gerhard, Mompou and Liszt.

Our popular winter lecture series continued with four talks by Ian Wilson and three talks on opera by John Allen.



RTE National Symphony Orchestra with Olivier Charlier Violin

Carol McGonnell Clarinet, Catherine Leonard Violin and Finghin Collins Piano

Pražák Quartet

Aron Quartet 

ConTempo Quartet

Míċeál O’Rourke Piano

National Chamber Choir 

Highlight of this year was Con Brio’s presentation in Sligo Institute of Technology of the RTE National Symphony Orchestra under conductor Alexander Anissimov with violinist Olivier Charlier. The concert included Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony. Carol McGonnell (clarinet), Catherine Leonard (violin) and Finghin Collins (piano) played an unusual but very attractive programme of music by Bartók, Milhaud, Kevin Volans and Robert Schumann. The Pražák Quartet from Prague played the Haydn Ryder quartet, Mozart K575 and Smetana’s autobiographical quartet “From my Life”. The Aron Quartet from Austria played works by Haydn, Brahms and Korngold. The ConTempo Quartet, Galway Music Residency’s Ensemble in Residence since 2003, performed their first concert for Con Brio with a programme of Mozart, Wilson and Beethoven. Míċeál O’Rourke, another pianist with a Sligo connection-his wife hails from Co. Sligo, gave a piano recital which included works by Haydn, Schubert, Prokofiev and Chopin. The National Chamber Choir under direction of the great Celso Antunes gave a terrific recital in St. Columba’s Church Drumcliffe.  

As part of our celebration of the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth Ian Fox, the leading music critic, gave an illustrated lecture on the Mozart – Da Ponte operas.



Catherine Leonard Violin and Hugh Tinney Piano

Vogler Quartet with Michael Collins Clarinet

John O’Conor Piano

The Trio Eisenstadt

Catherine Leonard Violin, Guy Johnston Cello and Charles Owen Piano

Hugh Tinney Piano

Ailish Tynan Soprano

Deborah Kelleher Piano

We opened this season with the violin and piano duo of Catherine Leonard and Hugh Tinney playing works of Beethoven, Debussy, Deirdre McKay, Tchaikovsky and Elgar. This was followed by the Vogler Quartet with Michael Collins (clarinet) and featured works by Weber, Mozart and the  Dvořák Quartet in F Major. A Beethoven recital was played by leading Irish pianist John O’Conor. The Trio Eisenstadt played Haydn, Wilson and Schubert. Catherine Leonard (violin) returned in February with leading UK soloists Guy Johnston (cello) and Charles Owen (piano) to play a concert that highlighted Beethoven and Brahms. Hugh Tinney gave a piano recital of works by Beethoven. The season was rounded off by Ailish Tynan (soprano), recent winner of the Rosenblatt recital prize in the BBC Singer of the World competition. She gave a most enjoyable recital of operatic arias and song accompanied by Deborah Kelleher(piano).

The Con Brio lecture Series comprised eight talks by Ian Wilson on best loved masterworks and four talks on the Enjoyment of Opera by John Allen. 



Vogler Quartet

Ben Dwyer Guitar

The Drawing Room Opera Company

Maria McGarry Piano

Jan Vogler Cello

Finghin Collins Piano and Malachy Robinson Double bass

Joachim Trio

This was a truly ground-breaking season which opened with a Sligo staging of Hamelin, a new opera by our musical director Ian Wilson. This is a gripping, mysterious work that explores the fate of the town of Hamelin and its one remaining child after the Pied Piper has left. The Vogler Quartet, with guest Ben Dwyer (guitar) played works by Bach, Brouwer, Dwyer and Schubert. The Drawing Room Opera Company performed opera arias and ensembles by Mozart, Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti and Gounod. The Vogler Quartet, still on their Sligo Residency played a further concert of music by Schubert, Bartók and Tchaikovsky. 2004 opened with a piano recital by the very talented young Maria McGarry from Mayo which included works by Debussy, Messiaen, Liszt and Schumann, together with the world premiere of Suantraí by Siobhan Cleary. The season continued with two further concerts from the Vogler Quartet – the first with guest Jan Vogler (cello) and the second with Finghin Collins (piano) and Malachy Robinson (double bass). The season finale featured the Joachim Trio from London playing Haydn, Wilson, Beethoven and Bartók.



Vogler Quartet with Joachim Rower

Catherine Leonard Violin and Hugh Tinney Piano

The Strands Ensemble with Nicola Cleary Violin and Annette Cleary Cello

François-Frédéric Guy Piano

“The Garden Consort”

Simon Dinnigan Guitar

This season opened with two concerts by the Vogler Quartet, playing quartets by Haydn, Stravinsky and Schubert and a string quintet by Mozart with guest musician Joachim Rower. Catherine Leonard (violin) and pianist Hugh Tinney played music by Ian Wilson, Fauré, and Beethoven. The Strands Ensemble including Nicola Cleary (violin) and Annette Cleary (cello) gave a concert of works by Brahms, Kodály, Mendelssohn and Stephen Gardner. The Vogler Quartet returned in February 2003 to play Haydn, Bartók and Mendelssohn. The great French pianist François-Frédéric Guy gave a recital of music by Beethoven and Liszt. We then had “The Garden Consort”, a grouping of four singers from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden who presented arias and songs by Verdi, Bizet, Puccini, Mozart and Strauss. The season concluded with a guitar recital by the brilliant English classical guitarist Simon Dinnigan. Regretfully not long afterwards Simon’s career was cut short by a hand injury.



Vogler Quartet

Ib Haussmann Clarinet

Colette McGahon Mezzo and Paul McNamara Tenor accompanied by Grainne Dunne Piano

John Feeley Classical Guitar

John O’Conor Piano with Eyal Kless Violin

Ronan Guilfoyle Acoustic bass guitar, Conor Guilfoyle Drums and Michael Buckley Saxaphone

The collaboration between Con Brio and the Vogler Quartet continued this season with three concerts. The first with music of three centuries-Haydn, Smetana and Shostakovich, the second an evening of Schubert and Schostakovich. For the third concert, the quartet was joined by clarinetist Ib Haussmann. We welcomed back Colette McGahon (mezzo) and Paul McNamara (tenor) accompanied by Grainne Dunne (piano) for an evening of wonderful music and humour. John Feeley, Ireland’s foremost classical guitarist, presented a programme that included Giuliani, Haydn and Scarlatti. One of Ireland’s most respected pianists, John O’Conor, played an all-Beethoven programme with violinist Eyal Kless. The season closed with a concert of jazz from Ronan Guilfoyle (acoustic bass guitar), Conor Guilfoyle (drums) and Michael Buckley (saxaphone).

Composer Ian Wilson’s 12 lecture music appreciation course-Music through the Centuries-was well supported. John Allen’s talk was an overview of the great tenors of the 20th century.



Louis Stewart

Vogler Quartet

Barry Douglas Piano

Ben Dwyer Guitar

Louis Stewart (1944- 2016) was without doubt Ireland’s foremost jazz musician. Con Brio are proud to have featured King Louis and his quartet playing concerts in Sligo in 1999 and 2000 – this one took place in the Factory Performance Space. With an audience of perhaps twice the venue’s capacity, the listeners were so enthralled that the concert ran for nearly three hours – an evening never to be forgotten!

The Vogler Quartet gave four concerts for us this year – coinciding with their Sligo residency and the foundation of the Music in Drumcliffe Chamber Music Festival which ran from 2000 to 2022. We hosted a Music Network Celebrity Concert from Barry Douglas, the world-renowned pianist from Belfast who also happens to have very strong family connections to Sligo. The highlight of this concert was a complete performance of the J. S. Bach Goldberg Variations. It was our first concert in The Model where we have since held many of our live music events. Our final concert of the year was a guitar recital by the very talented Ben Dwyer.



Applehill Chamber Players

Robin Tritschler Tenor with Dearbhla Collins Piano

Vogler and Vanbrugh Quartets

Louis Stewart 

Paul McNamara Tenor with Colette McGahon Mezzo

Ben Dwyer Guitar

The Applehill Chamber Players from New Hampshire U.S.A. were the highlight of our first full season, performing Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite and Schubert’s wonderful Trout Quintet. Robin Tritschler (tenor) came to Sligo at the very beginning of his career, already showing the talent for which he is now internationally renowned. Accompanied by Dearbhla Collins on piano Robin gave a fine concert of classical international song. The Vogler and Vanbrugh Quartets came together in St. John’s Cathedral to give an unforgettable performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s Octet. Louis Stewart and his quartet played a memorable jazz concert in the foyer of the Business Innovation Centre at Sligo Institute of Technology. Paul McNamara (tenor) with Colette McGahon (mezzo) gave an intimate concert called “Tell the Truth about Love” to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day in the Yeats Memorial Building. Composer and guitarist Ben Dwyer ended the season with a recital also in the Yeats Building