Classical music recitals tend to be conservative events where 40- somethings often find themselves at the younger end of the age spectrum. The tried and tested pattern of a two- hour recital with a limited roster of performers in a brightly lit hall tends to be the norm. Informal interaction between artists and audience is not always a given as performers may not come front of house to chat after the performance.
A trend in the capital towards a more unbuttoned style of musical evening has seen the emergence of several new series of salon events taking music out of the concert hall into alternative venues . The ‘@The Drawing Room’ series and the Santa Rita Concerts at the Little Museum aim to capitalise on some of the city’s elegant Georgian buildings. The monthly Kaleidoscope series now in its 8th year brings classical music down into a basement bar where patrons can sip pints and bartenders occasionally become unwitting percussionists as siphons whoosh and glasses clink. It’s all part of the charm. This month, following the Dublin date, Kaleidoscope comes to the Everyman Theatre Cork.
Not to the theatre but to the cosy bar for what promises to be an intimate evening of music for the curious ear. While the setting may be informal, there is nothing casual about the programme or the performers, all of whom are top- notch soloists in demand at home and abroad. The programme is underpinned with chamber music rarities for flute, viola and harp. Aoife Ni Bhriain, one of the brightest of the young generation of Irish virtuosos presents a solo sonata by Belgian composer Ysaye. Ni Bhriain joins the Cuar Trio for some Irish arrangements.
For the Cork leg, the county’s own jazz pianist son, Cormac McCarthy will perform a selection of his compositions for piano. McCarthy grew up in Ovens Co Cork, the son of Johnny McCarthy, a professional flautist and composer. Exposed to a wide variety of music from an early age, McCarthy spent a lot of his early childhood in the company of some great musicians from varying backgrounds. He began lessons in Cork School of Music when he was 4. He went on to perform and compose in a variety of musical genres and in 2010 received a seal of approval from composer Bill Whelan in the form of a bursary earmarked for young composers studying abroad. He spent a couple of years in Chicago emerging with a Masters in Jazz from De Paul University.
Although based back in Cork, (McCarthy lectures in piano, arranging and composition at CIT Cork School of Music and directs the CSM Jazz Big Band), Chicago remains a draw. “I get back once a year and it’s such a pleasure to back and play with many friends on the music scene there.Musicians like Ron Perrillo and Tom Matta may not be so well known here but they have greatly influenced my music and writing” Both McCarthy and NI Bhriain exemplify an openness to perform in a variety of genres. McCarthy consciously tries not to define his style and his collaborations extend in different directions.
He is just back from gigs in Belgium with the band Notify, a band drawing on traditional influences. Gigs in the pipeline include a London date for Súp , a jazz trio chosen by RTÉ Lyric FM to represent Ireland in the Euroradio Jazz Competition earlier this year.
Kaleidoscope Night at the Everyman Palace Bar overs a rare opportunity to hear McCarthy perform solo at his home base together with a variety of other top notch musical diversions , all while sipping your favourite tipple in the convivial Victorian splendour. What’s not to like?