A Question of Taste - Aoife Burke

Aoife Burke is a cellist from Cork, and currently holds a residency at the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork, as part of which she curates the summer lunchtime concert series and the Spotlight chamber music series. 

Saturday’s concert at Triskel features contemporary Irish music ensemble, Strung, at 1.10pm.

Best recent book you’ve read: I’m reading Sebastian Barry’s Days Without End at the moment.

Best recent film: Moonlight.

Best recent show/exhibition/gig you’ve seen: I visited the Frick Collection in New York last year; remarkable that such an wide-ranging array of amazing artwork was collected by just one, private patron of the arts.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old): Schumann’s ‘Gesänge der Frühe’ (Uchida’s recording). And for something completely different, the London Horn Sound playing their ‘Titanic’ Fantasy (both on Spotify).

First ever piece of music or art or film that really moved you: The death of Mufasa in The Lion King. I was only two and a half at the time, but apparently I was inconsolable in the cinema! As a little girl in my mum’s primary school class said recently, even though it’s only fiction “the feeling is the same”.

The best gig or show you’ve ever seen: I saw the Danish Quartet play Beethoven’s ‘Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132’, at a late night concert in Bantry House as part of the West Cork Chamber Music Festival a few years ago. There was something extremely special about late Beethoven late at night in such a tranquil place.

Tell us about your TV viewing: I don’t really watch much television, but I like Louis Theroux, and I’m watching The Crown at the moment.

Radio listening and/or podcasts: The podcasts The Moth, or BBC Radio 4’s Analysis. I think Evelyn Grant on Lyric FM is fantastic, also. She really drums up so much support for local concerts and events.

You’re curating your dream festival — who’s on the bill, living or dead? Beethoven, David Oistrakh and James Joyce.

Your best celebrity encounter: I recorded on the bonus track, ‘Save Myself’, for Ed Sheeran’s album released earlier this year.

You can portal back to any period of human cultural history or music event — where, when, and why? Paris, May 29 1913, to experience the premiere of Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring. Although recognised as a masterpiece today, the avant-garde nature of the choreography and music sparked outrage from the audience, resulting in a near riot.

Any interesting family or ancestors? My great-grandfather was one of the Minterns, who owned the ice rights to the Lough to supply their fish stall on the Coal Quay. And my grand aunt, Máire Weedle, was the last person ever to play to the composer Arnold Bax in her UCC BMus final recital, before he died of a heart attack in Aloys Fleischmann’s house later that evening.

Unsung hero: My Mum! I would be completely lost without her, as would my two younger sisters.

On a professional level however, I think the Vanbrugh Quartet, including my teacher Christopher Marwood, don’t get the praise they deserve. We are so lucky to have an ensemble of their calibre here in Ireland. As a teenager, their performances in Aula Maxima UCC were a source of regular inspiration to me; it was out of those concerts that my love for chamber music, especially the string quartet genre, was initially born. They have also worked tirelessly over the years to develop the level of music-making among young players in Ireland and their legacy includes a number of great initiatives to nurture the wealth of musical talent here long-term.

You are queen for a day — what’s your first decree? Reform the system of direct provision for asylum seekers in Ireland.


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