Chopin meets Disney in Ballina

Some may consider it moving from the sublime to the ridiculous as the piano classics of Chopin are set to meet timeless favourites from Disney films in a double recital in Ballina next week.

Frank McNamara

During ‘Chopin by Candelight’ in St. Michael’s Church, Ballina Frank McNamara will bring some of the finest piano works of Polish-born composer Frédéric Chopin to Ballina.

That concert on Friday, April 12th will be preceded by a recital to feature classic songs from Disney films, which have yielded some of the most memorable tunes in cinema history.

David Gray, Elbow, Sam Fender and Villagers have all played in St. Michael’s Church in recent years. Now it’s the turn of leading Irish pianist and composer Frank McNamara to perform in the tranquil and acoustically-pleasing surroundings of the historic Ballina church.

Concerts by candlelight are a growing phenomenon worldwide and proving to be the ultimate setting to enjoy wonderful music.

As the sun sets and the stars emerge, the church will be transformed into a realm of captivating beauty, illuminated solely by the soft glow of countless candles. This breath-taking setting provides the perfect backdrop for an evening that promises to awaken the senses and transport the audience to a bygone era of musical grandeur.

At the heart of this enchanting event is the renowned Frank McNamara.

Frank is an internationally known arranger, conductor, composer and pianist from Dublin.

His career began at the age of 11, when he first appeared on Irish national television. Frank attended Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated with music honours. He received the most outstanding pupil award at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Irish audiences are familiar with Frank’s work as Music Director of RTÉ’s ‘The Late Late Show’ for 20 years.

He was the arranger and producer of two consecutive winners at the Eurovision Song Contest and has composed TV themes and other music for Irish television. He has written numerous works for orchestra and has released several albums, which include his orchestral arrangements and original compositions. Those recordings have resulted in Frank being awarded two platinum albums and two gold albums.

‘Chopin by Candlelight’ is meticulously crafted to showcase the breadth of Chopin’s genius. From the delicate grace of the nocturnes, through the heart-warming waltzes, to the lively energy of the polonaises, the repertoire will span the emotional spectrum, captivating hearts and minds alike. Frank’s stories of the composer’s life and his music will give the audience a deeper insight into Chopin’s works.

The hour-long concert starts at 9p.m. and tickets are available through Eventbrite.

Earlier that evening, also in St. Michael’s Church, Frank will be joined by Brian Gilligan and Naoise Stuart Kelly for a magical performance under candlelight of some favourite Disney songs, beginning at 7p.m. 

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