Renowned violinist and director, Carolin Widmann, led the Irish Chamber Orchestra (ICO) in a mesmerizing performance at Music for Wexford, presenting three masterpieces from the baroque, classical, and romantic periods.
The program commenced with Mozart’s timeless “Eine kleine Nachtmusik,” Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major, K.525. The ICO, under Widmann’s dynamic direction, showcased the enduring appeal of this beloved serenade, capturing the essence of Mozart’s genius.
Next on the program was J.S. Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, BWV 1041. Widmann’s interpretation brought out the brilliance of Bach’s work, revealing the intricate craftsmanship of one of the greatest concertos in the classical repertoire. The performance was a testament to Widmann’s virtuosity, navigating the concerto’s fantastic, magical melodies with skill and flair.
The evening reached its climax with Tchaikovsky’s “Souvenir de Florence,” Op. 70. Under Widmann’s baton, the ICO transported the audience to the streets of Florence, capturing Tchaikovsky’s adoration for the city. The sparkling rendition of this romantic masterpiece left the audience immersed in the love and joy that characterized Tchaikovsky’s connection to Florence.
The Irish Chamber Orchestra, hailed as Ireland’s most dynamic ensemble, showcased its versatility by seamlessly navigating the varied styles of Mozart, Bach, and Tchaikovsky. The orchestra’s commitment to pushing boundaries, from traditional repertoire to new commissions and collaborations with diverse artists, was evident throughout the performance.
A significant development for the ICO came in May 2022 when celebrated Austrian violinist Thomas Zehetmair was appointed Principal Conductor/Artistic Partner for a three-year term. Zehetmair’s enthusiasm and commitment complement the orchestra’s energy, led by the accomplished Katherine Hunka and comprising 22 outstanding musicians.
The ICO’s unique sound, honed over two decades of collaboration, has captivated audiences globally. The orchestra’s commitment to accessibility is reflected in its initiatives, such as the ground-breaking “Sing Out with Strings” (SOWS) project, providing primary school children in Limerick with the opportunity to learn music free of charge. Now in its fifteenth year, SOWS has been recognized as a model of social inclusion, fostering musical talent, life skills, and community engagement.
As the orchestra-in-residence at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, the ICO continues to enrich the cultural landscape. Supported by The Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíon, the ICO’s ambition to make music accessible to all resonates through its impactful performances and community-focused initiatives.