Cellissimo festival aims to entertain and inspire

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Cellos, pianos, uilleann pipes and the sonorous tones of Town Crier Liam Silke were enlisted on Tuesday to launch the programme for Galway’s newest festival, Cellissimo, which will take place in the city and county from May 18-26.

This unique event will include a host of national and international talent, including the renowned US-based, Galway-born composer and conductor Eimear Noone, who features alongside composers, musicians and speakers from all over the world.

The idea for a cello festival in Galway was first mooted nearly 10 years ago by the Artistic Director of Music for Galway, Finghin Collins. Claire Cuddy, who was then chair of the board, thought of its name.

Music for Galway had originally intended to present Cellissimo in 2020, during Galway’s tenure as European Capital of Culture, but circumstances dictated otherwise and although some events did take place since then, the festival proper didn’t.

But it looks as though the wait has been worthwhile, as Music for Galway has unveiled a packed programme of music, masterclasses, films and talks for the eight-day festival.

Tuesday’s launch took place in two city hotels – the Hardiman and the Hyde – when guests got sneak previews of the music that will be in store, as well as an insight into what’s involved in organising a festival based around sustainability and slow travel.

Music for Galway’s Executive Director Anna Lardi told guests that the idea of slow travel for Cellissimo first took root back in 2017 when she invited Swedish cellist Jakob Koranyi to perform in Galway in 2020. He agreed to come, but only if he could travel by train and boat rather than by plane – which eventually happened in 2022 when the world opened up again.

Pictured: Cellissimo Ambassador Catherine Cotter at the launch of Music for Galway’s major new festival which will take place in venues across Galway City and County from May 18–26. Photo: Andrew Downes, Xposure.


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