Ireland's Golden Age:  A Baroque performance of music  from 18th Century Ireland

Ireland's Golden Age: A Baroque performance of music from 18th Century Ireland

Date: 16th May 2013
Time: 7pm
Venue: Curtis Auditorium, MTU Cork School of Music









Ireland's Golden Age: A Baroque performance of music from 18th Century Ireland

Irish Baroque Orchestra directed by Monica Huggett

Featuring: Siobhan Armstrong (early Irish harp), Roisin O’Grady ( soprano)


Concert listing info:

15th May 2013, 7.30pm: Freemason’s Hall, Molesworth Street, Dublin

Tickets: 16eu (12eu concessions)


16th May 2013, 7.00pm: Curtis Auditorium, CIT Cork School of Music, Cork

Tickets: 15eu (10eu concessions)

Information and ticket purchase:

Online from or telephone the IBO at 01 - 5545 220 or book at the National Concert Hall Box Office, Tel 01-417 0000 (no booking fees)


Ireland's Golden Age

The early 18th century marked Ireland’s first Golden Age. As the second city in the British Isles, Dublin was a thriving , febrile hub of building , commerce, social activity and of course music. Attracted by the city’s wealth, composers from all over Europe converged on Dublin seeking inspiration and patronage: Cousser, Geminiani, Dubourg, Michael Arne, Tommaso Giordani, Handel and Pasquali visited frequently. Meanwhile traditional Irish music flourished through the prodigious output of the Irish harpers. Included in their number was the blind harpist Turlough Carolan who composed over 220 works that survive to this day. Inevitably the two musical styles collided often to joyous effect. The baroque ballad operas were probably the best examples of this exciting union and the best known of these was of course The Beggar’s Opera composed in 1728 at the suggestion of Jonathan Swift.

In May 2013, the Irish Baroque Orchestra, Ireland's premiere period ensemble, led by artistic director and Grammy nominee, Monica Huggett will present music from Ireland’s Golden Age including music by Handel, Geminiani, Vivaldi and Carolan. This unique presentation of baroque works will also feature the acclaimed early Irish harpist Siobhan Armstrong and soloist Roisin O’Grady (soprano).

The Irish Baroque Orchestra tours to Dublin and Cork before performing at the Melk International Baroque Festival, Austria (with the assistance of Culture Ireland) and at the Irish Embassy in Vienna.



Pepusch: Overture - The Beggar’s Opera

Carolan: O’Rourke’s Feast (arr. Lorenzo Bocchi)

Handel: Overture - Alexander’s Feast

Handel: aria - Take the heart you fondly gave (Jephtha)

Handel: aria - Da tempeste (Giulio Cesare)

Dubourg: Violin Concerto T

Carolan: Two airs: Farewell to Music + Carolan’s Concerto (for solo Irish harp) Geminiani: Concerto grosso Opus 3 no 3 in E minor (Grave- Allegro- Andante- Allegro)


Pasquali: Overture - The Triumphs of Hibernia

Pasquali: Two songs from The Triumphs of Hibernia

Vivaldi: Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269, La primavera (Spring)

Cornelius Lyons: Lady of the Desert + Miss Hamilton (for solo Irish harp)

Handel: Concerto grosso in C (Alexander’s Feast)



Siobhan Armstrong (early Irish Harp) is one of a small number of harpists worldwide who play harps from earlier centuries and who research historical playing techniques and repertoire appropriate to these instruments. She has an extensive collection of copies of instruments from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Baroque eras, including chromatic multi-row harps: an Italian arpa doppia and a Spanish arpa de dos ordenes.

Siobhán is particularly interested in encouraging the revival of Ireland’s early harp, which was strung in brass and sometimes silver and perhaps even gold wires. This instrument was played in Ireland from at least 1000 and made famous by harpers such as Ó Catháin and Carolan.

Alongside her solo work, Siobhán Armstrong performs with some of the most prestigious soloists, ensembles and conductors in the field of early music such as William Christie and Les Arts Florissants; Jeffrey Skidmore and Ex Cathedra; and Paul McCreesh and The Gabrieli Consort. With these ensembles, she records with Deutsche Grammophon, Sony, Teldec, Virgin Classics, Erato and Dorian. Another of her primary interests is the art of continuo playing i.e. the art of improvising vocal or instrumental accompaniment from a bass line; a style of playing found in baroque music. She regularly does this in period instrument productions of 17th century operas by Monteverdi, Rossi and Cavalli among others in the main opera houses in Europe and the U.S.A.

Siobhán Armstrong has performed and broadcast throughout Europe, North America and Japan and has appeared as a soloist or ensemble player at venues including the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Opéra Comique in Paris, the Zankel Hall at Carnegie, NY, and Izumi Hall in Osaka. She has also been a participant at the main early music festivals including Boston, Utrecht, Chaise-Dieu and Vienna and at traditional music festivals such as the Festival Interceltique de Lorient, Brittany.


Contact details

Irish Baroque Orchestra, c/o National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2

Tel 01-5545 220

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