Drogheda Arts Festival presents Ficino Quartet in a concert of music curated by Professor Desmond O’Neill, who combined his love of music and medical experience to curate a concert that reflects loss and music. The festival welcomes Prof. O’Neill who will give a talk on music as an inspiration for overcoming death and loss followed by an evening of music on Saturday 30 April.
The Ficino Ensemble (Elaine Clarke, violin; Siun Milne, violin; Nathan Sherman, viola; Ailbhe McDonagh, cello) will perform Puccini’s Crisantemi, written in response to the death of his friend aged just 44, Shostakovich’s String Quartet No 8, dedicated to the victims of fascism and war, and Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 59, No 1, the first string quartet he wrote after his life-changing 1802 visit to Heiligenstadt where he came to terms with his own impending death and his fears around his deafness.
Prof Desmond O’Neill
As a medical undergraduate of TCD, Prof Desmond O’Neill spent a year in Marseilles as a volunteer with a NGO working with older people. He subsequently trained as a geriatrician in St James’s Hospital and the University of Bristol and is currently the senior academic in Medical Gerontology at the TCD campus at Tallaght University Hospital. He has been extensively involved in the Age-Friendly University initiative, successfully proposing its adoption in TCD and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, and on the steering committee of the founding Age-Friendly University, Dublin City University.
Formed in 2013, the Ficino Ensemble’s debut recording Winter, released on the Ergodos record label, has received critical acclaim and has put them at the forefront of the Irish chamber music scene. Their upcoming album Folk Songs will be released in July 2022. Ficino Ensemble takes the name from Marsilio Ficino, the Renaissance philosopher who regarded music as a “contemplation of the divine”.
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