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Birthday concert for acclaimed Contempo

Judy Murphy

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Galway's ConTempo was formed 20 year's ago in Bucharest. From left: Bogdan Sofei, Ingrid Nicola, Adrian Mantu and Andreea Banciu.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Galway’s ConTempo Quartet will be joined by Emma Johnson on clarinet and Hugh Tinney on piano next Thursday, November 26, at the Aula Maxima, NUIG, for a special concert to mark the quartet’s 20th anniversary.

The concert, which will start at 8pm and will feature music by Janacek, Mozart and Schumann, is being hosted by Music for Galway and The Galway Music Residency to celebrate ConTempo which was set up in Romania two decades ago.

The four members – Bogdan Sofei, Ingrid Nicola, Andreea Banciu and Adrian Mantu – first met as students at the conservatoire of Bucharest and decided to join forces as a quartet to take part in a competition. They won, signalling the start of a working and personal bond that has stood the test of time.

ConTempo quickly become recognised as one of the world’s top string quartets, winning a record of 14 international prizes and performing more than 1,000 concerts all over the world. Almost 13 years ago, the four came to Galway to fill a newly-created ensemble-in-residence and they have enriched the cultural life of the city and county since then.

They are renowned for their performances, but their contribution is much greater than that. Through their work with schools and communities, they have helped to give an appreciation of classical music to young and old. They have also nurtured the talents of emerging musicians, partly through a young residency scheme. In 2014 ConTempo was also appointed RTÉ’s Quartet in Residence.

British clarinettist Emma Johnson and Irish pianist Hugh Tinney are regular collaborators of ConTempo and friends with the four and will perform Mozart and Schumann with them to mark the 20th anniversary..

Emma Johnson has busy solo career, which is a rare feat for a clarinettist. Her recent recording of sonatas by Brahms and Mendelssohn with John Lenehan was described by the Observer newspaper as ‘definitive . . . triumphant . . .a landmark disc’. It follows on from her classical chart-topping successes Voyage and The Mozart Album on the Universal label.

Hugh Tinney is one of Ireland’s most renowned pianists at international level and has also made a major contribution to classical performances here at home for over 30 years.

Next Thursday’s concert will open with Janacek’s String Quartet No 2, ‘Intimate Letters’. The composer gave it this nickname, referring to the long friendship he had with a woman almost four decades younger than himself, a friendship that produced an exchange of over 700 letters. ConTempo has a special affinity with this work, partly because of its Eastern European origin.

They will be joined by Emma Johnson for Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A K. 581 and by Hugh Tinney for Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E flat major Op. 44.

Tickets for Thursday night’s birthday concert are €20 / €16 concessions and MFG Friends, and €6 for full-time students. Booking at MFG 091 705962 / Opus 2, High Street / www.musicforgalway.ie

CITY TRIBUNE

Party-goers in Galway hit with Covid fines

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s most senior Garda has issued a renewed appeal this week for young people to desist from organising or attending any house parties as the local Covid-19 situation worsens – last week Gardaí were called to break up a number of gatherings in different parts of the city.

A total of 15 people were found to be attending one house party in the Salthill area last weekend while Gardaí were called to two other smaller gatherings – one in the Doughiska area and the other in Rahoon.

Cautions and Fixed Payment Notices (fines) were issued to a number of those involved. This week, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley has pleaded with young people ‘to stay away at all costs’ from such gatherings.

“We have very high Covid incidence rates in the Galway area over the past week; death rates from the disease are at their highest ever level; and the last thing we need now is groups of people coming together in confined settings.

“If one person has Covid at such a gathering then, in all probability, most others there will pick it up too and spread it their contacts and family members. I am pleading for people just not to do this.

“We are entering into our most critical period in trying to contain the spread of Covid-19, with the next month or so absolutely vital in our efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe and to try and avoid further loss of life,” he said.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Community gives new lease of life to Merlin allotments

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – In 2018, the allotments in Merlin Woods were in danger of falling by the wayside, with declining numbers and underuse blighting a facility that had huge potential.

Since then, the community has pulled together to create a space that locals are proud of and one that its advocates are hoping could be a template for other communities across the city.

Chairperson of the Committee behind this new lease of life is Michael Tully, who says the allotments have become a focal point for area, bringing together locals from all walks of life.

“It’s all about netting the community together and the response we’re getting has been unbelievable,” says Michael, who joined the committee in 2018.

“I started off as a user of Merlin Woods, walking by the allotments and thinking to myself that it would be great to grow my own fruit and veg.

“I started talking to a few of the plot-holders like John Rabbitte, Martin Lohan, Jim McCormack and Daithí O’Brien and they told me how to apply. I applied to the City Council and got my allotment in early 2018 and there were about eight allotments in use at that stage, all of us working away on our own.”

Two years later, all 42 allotments are in use, but it took the cooperation of Galway City Council and Trojan work from the community to get it to this point, explains Michael.

“We came down here every Saturday to clear the paths, dig out the weeds and make the place better. The sense of community was unbelievable. Anyone who couldn’t dig was bringing down flasks of tea and cakes to those that were,” he laughs.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

National Transport Authority to progress Galway’s Park and Ride

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A dedicated unit established within the National Transport Authority will look at the potential of Park and Ride to help solve Galway City’s traffic congestion problem.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, said that Park and Ride facilities should not be restricted to the east, and sites needed to be located to the west and north-west to take account of commuters from Connemara.

Mr McGrath said Park and Ride would be advanced this year as part of the Galway Transport Strategy. He said that the Council, in conjunction with the dedicated unit within the NTA, would investigate feasible sites for the location of Park and Ride facilities.

Mr McGrath said that site selection and acquisition of land could commence in the second quarter of this year. He said he expected that Park and Ride would be progressed well before the Galway City Ring Road was built.

Director of Services for Transport, Ruth McNally, also said that the NTA was looking at the potential of sites in the city for Park and Ride and she insisted that money – or a lack of it – was not halting progress.

“Money is not a major issue for capital projects,” she said.

They were responding at Monday’s City Council meeting to councillors who lamented the slow progress on developing Park and Ride.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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