Summer 2023 Premieres by Donnacha Dennehy

Summer 2023 Premieres by Donnacha Dennehy
Donnacha Dennehy
© Hugh O’Conor

June and July mark the world and regional premieres of three exciting new works by composer Donnacha Dennehy. On June 14, 2023 at National Sawdust, new music ensemble Contemporaneous and pianist Eliza McCarthy perform the US premiere of Dennehy’s Limina, a chamber piano concerto co-commissioned by the ensemble and written for McCarthy. On June 26, the Grammy-winning Pacifica Quartet will give the world premiere of Dennehy’s new string quartet Chorale at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival in Cork, Ireland. Finally, July 16 offers another opportunity for US audiences to experience Dennehy’s Violin Concerto, in its regional premiere at the Aspen Music Festival with soloist Augustin Hadelich and conductor Markus Stenz. 

Dennehy observes that he has recently been particularly excited by the concerto dynamic and its interaction of soloist and ensemble. In Limina, this interaction takes the form of a recurring transcendence of the initial sonic limits of each movement, which Dennehy casts in bodily terms (“Head,” “Chest,” and “Nervous System”). Drawing in material ranging from a gorgeous 16th-century In Nomine fragment to Dennehy’s propulsive use of overtone-derived harmonies, Limina is a varied, enthralling musical experience that makes thorough use of McCarthy’s delicate touch and feel.

Chorale is a 10' string quartet, based in part on harmonies from a Bach chorale and commissioned by the West Cork Chamber Music Festival. Mark Holloway of the Pacifica Quartet describes the work: “It starts with a breathtaking and rapid flurry of notes in ever-shifting values and meters, laying the groundwork for a dynamic sonic landscape. Chorales […] punctuate the rapid and more intricate sections, and become more and more substantial throughout the quartet. It has been a real treat to delve into the haunting colors and fascinating textures of this piece, and we can’t wait to bring it to life.”  

Written for Augustin Hadelich and co-commissioned by the Aspen Music Festival, Dennehy's Violin Concerto “plays on the dialogue between the solo and the mass constantly, and the mass of the orchestra itself splinters into smaller shards.” The final movement ends wildly, when “the violin threatens to spiral everything out of control leading to a fierce conclusion on the very edge of what is possible.” Hadelich’s consummate artistry and “glowing yet focused, tensile tone” (Chicago Classical Review) make this near-impossible finish possible and ensure that the entire half-hour work is an experience not to be missed.   

For more information, please contact your local Wise Music Promotion Team. See Contact Us.


Performance Details 
Dreams of One/All
National Sawdust 
Brooklyn, NY 
Wednesday, June 14, 2023 
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West Cork Chamber Music Festival 
St. Brendan’s Church 
Cork, Ireland 
Monday, June 26, 2023 
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Aspen Music Festival 
Violin Concerto 
Benedict Music Tent
Aspen, CO 
Sunday, July 16, 2023 
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