Hard work key to ensuring Cellissimo hits right note

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Finghin Collins is just back from a three-week concert tour of Europe and he’s battling a head cold. But even with bugs in his system, the classical pianist and Artistic Director of Music for Galway is filled with enthusiasm as he explains the origins of Galway’s newest festival, Cellissimo. It will kick off in the city and county this Saturday, May 18, and run until May 26.

An event that would have been unimaginable even two decades ago is now centre stage, due to the work done by Music for Galway to promote classical music through the years, and the growth of various music schools around the county.

Galway’s appetite for classical music will be well-satisfied with this festival which puts the cello centre stage and celebrates its relationship with other instruments.

The idea for Cellissimo originated in 2015 when Galway was assembling its bid book to become European Capital of Culture in 2020. Those responsible approached Finghin and Music for Galway’s Executive Director Anna Lardi, looking for “one wow project” to form the centrepiece of a classical music programme, Finghin recalls.

In 2014, shortly after taking over as Music for Galway’s Artistic Director, he programmed as season around the cello, also called Cellissimo.

“People liked it,” he says. “And it reiterated to me how versatile the cello is. Its range is enormous. You can have it on its own or combine it with other cellos and other instruments. It can be performed in large groups and small groups, and cellists are very collegiate people.”

The inaugural Cellissimo Festival was scheduled for April 2020  in Galway, for the European Capital of Culture, with an ambitious programme planed. But Covid intervened.

Pictured: Music for Galway’s Artistic Director, Finghin Collins: ‘The aim is to have something for everybody.’


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