The programme ranges from popular classics to little known pieces performed by an international list of musicians. It has become one of the leading chamber music events in Europe, attracting local, national and international audiences alike.
It’s big, regularly featuring more than 100 performers, some already well known, others just starting their careers, from four continents, performing in dozens of events. There is music for every taste and performed in almost every chamber combination.
There are afternoon and evening concerts each day with Coffee concerts and late night concerts on many days and a diverse programme of master classes, workshops and more running alongside the performances.
The evening concerts are held in the library of Bantry House, overlooking the beautiful Italian gardens. This amazing venue adds enormously to the sense of occasion.
The winners of a competition for young Irish composers will have their work played in a masterclass setting before being premiered during the festival.
A violin and bowmaking exhibition runs throughout the week, with an opportunity not just to see the work of renowned instrument makers but to play their instrument and hear them them played by musicians at festival events.
Among the highlights is in 2017 is the return to Cork of young British violinist,Tamsin Waley-Cohen, who will be joined by pianist, Huw Watkins, for Respighi’s hauntingly beautiful Violin Sonata in B minor and Elgar’s more melancholy Violin Sonata in E minor, and by pianist Julius Drake, and cellist Camille Thomas to perform Dvořák’s powerful Piano Trio.
Festival favourite, soprano Claire Booth is back this year too, with an unaccompanied performance of Jonathan Dove’s Arial, and for a concert in Bantry House, where she will be joined by pianist Christopher Glynn for a performance of Berg’s Seven Early Songs.