August 6, 2008

Ulster Orchestra to Play Its Ninth Night at the Proms


THE Ulster Orchestra will appear on one of the world's leading musical stages tomorrow night when it plays to a worldwide audience in this year's BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

It will appear before a large group of enthusiastic "prommers" and others in the Hall and the concert will be relayed widely by BBC radio and television.

This will be the Orchestra's ninth appearance in its 40-year history at this prestigious Proms series which attracts many of the world's top classical musicians and ensembles.

Tomorrow night's programme will have a special Ulster dimension, with music by Howard Ferguson who was born in Belfast 100 years ago.

Ferguson was a pupil of the internationally-acclaimed composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.

The Irish theme will continue with music by Dublin-born Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, who in earlier years had been one of Vaughn Williams' teachers.

Stanford's Second Piano Concerto will be played by the young Irish pianist Finghin Collins, who will be making his Proms debut.

The second half will feature music by Czech composers.

The Ulster Orchestra will be directed by its Principal Conductor Kenneth Montgomery, the first Ulsterman to hold this important musical post in Northern Ireland.

He was educated at RBAI and later made his name internationally as an opera and classical conductor of note.

He is based in Amsterdam, and has an apartment in south Belfast near the Orchestra's headquarters at the Elmwood Hall.

This Proms appearance marks one of the highlights of Montgomery's successful first season as Principal Conductor. The Orchestra will also help to end the Proms Season by taking part in Proms in the Park, which this year comes from the Belfast City Hall on September 13.

The Orchestra begins its new 2008/9 Season next month.

The list of prestigious guests and performers include the acclaimed tenor Alfie Boe, violinist Tasmin Little and also the dancers Camilla Dallerup and Ian Waite from the BBC television series Strictly Come Dancing.

They will take part in the New Year Viennese concerts, and the well- known film critic Barry Norman will present a programme of romantic movie themes on St Valentine's Night.

Bookings for the new season are good.

The first concert takes place on September 19 in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, where the soloist will be the pianist Pascal Roge.

Originally published by ALF McCREARY [email protected]

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