King House

Military Road
Boyle, Ireland
F52 HN50

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Classics & Premieres with Peter Regan, pianist & composers Bianca Gannon, Peter Leavy and Fiona Linnane

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The 2023 Commission marks the third in a series of music commissions by Roscommon County Council, in celebration of the grand piano at King House. Three composers were commissioned to write a 6-minute piano solo each which responds to a literary text with a local theme.  Roscommon pianist, Peter Regan, described as a “major talent” will premiere these new works as part of a concert at this year’s BAF. Other works being performed as part of this concert are:
Liszt, Sonetti del Petrarca Nos. 47, 104 and 123
Chopin, Ballade No. 4 in F minor
Chopin, Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brilliante


Fiona Linnane: Mrs Cousins (née Gillespie) Event and Prelude

Born in Boyle, County Roscommon in 1878, Margaret Cousins (née Gillespie) was an Irish-Indian activist and musician. Weaving together texts and musical themes from her dual autobiography ‘We Two Together’ (written with her husband James Cousins in 1952) this work tracks a musical journey from Boyle to an historic moment in Madanapalle. The first movement, drawing on the Indian National Anthem Jana Gana Mana, marks the occasion when Cousins committed the anthem to Western Notation for the first time, following a chance meeting with its composer, Rabindranath.  The prelude which follows serves as a retrospective of her fascinating life up to that point.

Fiona is a composer, based in the West of Ireland, specialising in opera & vocal music and Director of Limerick New Music Ensemble.

Peter Leavy: The Last Flame.
The piece was inspired by an eye-witness account of the fire that destroyed Rockingham House in 1957. This dramatic testimony was written by Boyle historian and watchmaker, Richard McGee (1930-2016), and was published in the Moylurg Writers second local history collection, Boyle, Vol. 2 (1993, Moylurg Writers). While The Last Flame is far from a moment-to-moment musical retelling of the text, its shifting mood does follow the overall three-part structure of the writing. A veiled reference to the Westminster Chimes in the form of a ubiquitous four note motif pays homage to the craft of the author himself.

Peter is a Mayo-born, Dublin-based composer-pianist, Head of Piano at the Leeson Park School of Music and a tutor at Maynooth University. Peter is interested in the expressive possibilities of material and structures imported from the musical past, into the musical present. The give-and-take between whimsy and compositional forethought, and the possibility of larger-scale structures emerging organically from the tiniest of gestures are other areas of interest.
Bianca Gannon: Loch Cé
Bianca will create a bespoke work responding to the mythology and landscape of Lough Key, where she holidayed as a child. The solo piano work Loch Cé will take its inspiration from the section on Lough Key from Lady Gregory’s book Gods and Fighting MenLoch Cé, a rhythmic, nostalgic and lush programmatic solo piano work, brings the listener on the thrilling mythological journey of the druid Cé in the creation story of local landmark Lough Key.
Bianca is an Indonesian music specialist whose compositions have been performed by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble and loadbang. Awarded the Pythia Prize, Percy Grainger Award and BAN BAM Commission, she has toured internationally performing piano and percussion simultaneously.

The commission is funded by the Arts Office of Roscommon County Council together with the Arts Council of Ireland, in collaboration with Boyle Arts Festival and in association with the Contemporary Music Centre.