Chairperson’s Report to Music for Galway AGM 2020

The principal activity of the company is the presentation of orchestral concerts, chamber music recitals, solo recitals, masterclasses and workshops as well as general promotion and development of music through their practitioners i.e. musicians and composers and advocating of infrastructure.

January 2019 saw the end of MfG’s Midwinter Festival Trilogy, which traced the life phases of composers through their work with Swansong. Spring concluded the Wanderlust season that included chamber music concerts featuring the Lendvai Trio from the Netherlands and a very successful return of the Quartetto di Venezia, again in association with the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Dublin. Violinist Benjamin Baker, winner of the Emily Anderson Prize, performed with pianist Daniel Lebhardt for the Emily Anderson Concert presented with NUI Galway. MfG’s partnerships continued with visits from both RTE Orchestras, a memorable event presented as part of Cúirt, and the Good Friday concert in association with Resurgam. The end of Season concert was presented with the Galway Early Music Festival and featured the wonderful Sharon Carty with her programme Suitcase Arias. The Lunchtime Series in partnership with Arts in Action at NUI Galway and support from SAP, continued with young Irish composer Sebastian Adams, with Thomas Michael Auner, cello and Maximilian Flieder, piano, and ended with a recital of the GMR’s Apprentice Ensembles.

All the while preparations for the SoundScapes programme, MfG’s programme for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, were running in the background. On March 1st, a successful fundraising Gala in aid of CELLISSIMO was held at the Hotel Meyrick, at which Eimear Noone was presented with the first CELLISSIMO Laoch Cheoil award.  Throughout the summer, development on all projects of the programme continued: Paper Boat, the libretto was finalised and work on the score commenced, the creative team was assembled. Abendmusik – the composers were selected and programmes finalised.  Midwinter Festival BEETHOVEN – all artists were contracted. Spark of the Goods – artists and orchestra were selected and contracted.  Furthermore, work on the marketing materials was finalised, the website was completely overhauled and SoundScapes for 2020 plus the Bookends Season (Autumn 2019/Spring 2021) were prepared and launched in a packed St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church on October 1st.

The Bookend Season of Autumn 2019 included three firsts: MfG co-produced with Baboró (Carnival of the Animals), Finghin Collins held a solo recital for MfG since becoming Artistic Director in 2013 and the Trio Rodin had its Irish debut. The year ended with Handel’s Messiah.

Throughout the year, the MfG team grew in preparation for 2020: MfG filled the roles of, among others, Digital Marketing Manager, International Students Liaison, Production Manager and Volunteers Manager.

Fundraising efforts had been successful with private donors as well as corporate sponsors. Pre-sales for the Midwinter Festival were better than ever before. The Board decided to formalise its reserves policy further and formed a subcommittee to work on this.

The launch had had a great impact and considerable amount of attention from public and media was achieved.

MfG finished 2019 looking confidently ahead towards the big year of 2020.

Anne O’Maille,

AGM 3 June 2020