A world renowned piano trio will be playing music inspired by a near derelict German industrial estate when they take centre stage in North Wales.
The acclaimed Fidelio Trio will headline the final concert at the Bangor Music Festival at 7:30pm on Saturday, February 18, at Theatr Bryn Terfel in the city’s Pontio centre.
The virtuoso performers, who were this year shortlisted for the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards, include violinist Darragh Morgan, pianist Mary Dullea and cellist Adi Tal.
The theme for this year’s festival is Architectures/Urban Landscapes that has been inspired by the new landmark venue which is establishing itself as a major player in the cultural life of Wales.
What makes the festival different this year is that all the concerts and workshops will be held on one day instead of being spread over a week as in previous years.
The event will also feature a quintet of world premieres, including a new work by one of Europe’s most talented young composers, Cardiff-born Gareth Olubunmi Hughes.
Among the other highlights will be music inspired by images and videos of bridges, with the films being shown in the Pontio cinema, accompanied by music that has been composed by Bangor University student composers and performed by the Bangor Session Orchestra.
Around teatime, the building will be filled with music by the Bangor New Music Ensemble in an event that will also feature world premieres of pieces by Claire Victoria Roberts and Jonathan Roberts, amongst other student composers.
The concert with the Fidelio Trio will include world premieres of new works by Sarah Lianne Lewis and Roger Marsh, both of which have been commissioned by the festival.
According to Darragh, who hails from Belfast and is also a professor of violin at Cardiff’s Royal Welsh College of Music, the Bangor Music Festival programme, put together by artistic director Guto Pryderi Puw, is “really clever” with a main theme of buildings and architecture.
Darragh, who is married to Mary Dullea, said: “As a piano trio we enjoy playing new works as much as we enjoy playing older music.
“The programme for Bangor is both exciting and inspirational and has allowed us an opportunity to perform some work by some of our favourite composers.
“For example, I’m going to be playing a work by young Hastings-born composer, Morgan Hayes called Völklinger Hütte. Hayes wrote the piece after visiting an old industrial estate in Sarrbrücken, Germany.
“He was shocked by what he saw and was inspired to write what is an evocative and almost haunting piece which describes how he viewed the buildings and the estate’s bleak landscape.
“We have played and recorded a number of Morgan Hayes’ compositions and he has written solo violin music for me.”
He added: “We are also going to be performing works by Gavin Higgins entitled The Ruins of Detroit which we premiered at the Cheltenham Festival in 2014. It’s a bold work written after Gavin was inspired by photography of Detroit by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre.
“And Mary will perform a piano piece, The Towers of Silence, by Rolf Hind while we are also scheduled to perform some music written by Greek composer Iannis Xenakis.”
Darragh practices playing violin for between four and six hours every day and frequently sessions can be even longer.
He said: “I play a wonderful violin, an Italian Rocca. It’s an incredible instrument that was made in 1848 and has such a warm and beautiful sound. I own around a quarter of it with the Royal Academy of Musicians owning the rest.
“It’s a very valuable instrument and goes everywhere with me and is never out of my sight.”
The festival’s Artistic Director, Guto Pryderi Puw, said: “The Fidelio Trio are wonderful exponents of the piano trio genre and have an impressive repertoire of contemporary music, which makes them ideal for inclusion during the Bangor Music Festival.
“They have performed on some of the biggest concert stages across the world and are regularly broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and other classical stations across the world.
“They have a long list of new commissions and first performances from leading and some of the youngest generation of composers. They also boast a really impressive list of discography of some highly acclaimed recordings.”
He added: “It’s wonderful that they have agreed to headline our final concert and I am really looking forward to listening to and enjoying their performance.
“I expect, with musicians of this quality appearing, that this concert is going to sell out very quickly and I would advise music lovers to book early to avoid disappointment.”