Local Musicians Make Good Vibrations in California

Camerata Pacifica extend their Irish interest

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is applauding a Newtownards flautist, Adrian Spence for introducing local musicians to the California classical music scene.

Spence moved to California 18 years ago, where he established Camerata Pacifica, now the largest chamber music ensemble in Southern California. The ensemble recently commissioned Belfast composer Ian Wilson to write three works to be premiered in the Los Angeles area over the next three seasons, one of which will be based on a sonnet by Seamus Heaney.

The first work to be premiered will be a Concerto for violin and Chamber Ensemble. Violinist Catherine Leonard from Cork will be the soloist, completing the trio of Irish involvement. Leonard has recently been appointed a Principal Violinist for Camerata Pacifica and is an advocate of contemporary Irish composers.

Spence spoke of his excitement about the project. 'There is a real appetite for talented Irish musicians in California and I hope this is the beginning of a strong relationship between the American-based Camerata Pacifica and the Irish arts community.

'Ian Wilson is one of the most compelling voices in classical music today and Catherine has been hailed as the ‘leading Irish violinist of her generation’ by the Irish Times. The fact they both come from my home country makes me very proud.'

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland endorsed the commissioning project. 'These artists have come together because of the success experienced in their own fields of composition, performance and directorship.

'It is an indication of the strength of the island’s artistic talent that these three enjoy success in one of the world’s most competitive markets. The May 2007 premiere of Ian Wilson’s Concerto by Camerata Pacifica will be an unparalleled opportunity to celebrate Irish artists in one of the world’s largest artistic communities.