Michael McHale credit Leon Gerald
Fri 25 May

Music, Festiv'Ards 2018Michael McHale

Free (but ticketed) Opening Concert

Festiv'Ards starts with a free Opening Concert featuring the amazing pianist Michael McHale. With a crowd-pleasing programme including Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata as well as Irish folk tunes, this is a fabulous opportunity to see one of Ireland's most talented artists. Kindly supported by the Community Festival Fund, Ards and North Down Borough Council.


Beethoven:                              Sonata in C# minor op.27 no.2 “Moonlight”
Chopin:                                   Waltz in C# minor op.64 no.2            
                                                Mazurka in A minor op.67 no.4                                 
                                                Ballade in F minor op.52 no.4                                    
                                                Nocturne in E flat major op.9 no.2
Irish trad, arr. McHale:            Four Irish Airs (2011-12) 
Philip Hammond:                    Miniatures & Modulations (2009-13) [selection of 8]
1. Cailín ó cois tSuire Mé                                           
I. Charles MacHugh, The Wild Boy               
II. Kiss Me Lady                                            
2. My Lagan Love                                                      
III. John O’Reilly The Active                                    
IV. The Fair Woman                                       
3. The Coulin                                                              
V. The Ugly Tailor                                         
VI. Open the Door Softly                               
4. She Moved Through The Fair                                            
VII. Carolan: Rose Dillon (Jigg)                      
VIII. The Beardless Boy

About Michael

Belfast-born Michael McHale has established himself as one of Ireland’s leading pianists and has developed a busy international career as a solo recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician.

He has performed as a soloist with the Minnesota, Hallé, Moscow Symphony and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, the London Mozart Players, and all five of the major Irish orchestras, and performed at the Tanglewood Festival, Wigmore Hall, London, Berlin Konzerthaus, Suntory Hall, Tokyo, Lincoln Center, New York, Symphony Hall, Boston and Pesti Vigadó in Budapest. 2016/17 performances include concerto performances with the City of London Sinfonia and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in Florida, and a début concert at the Tokyo Spring Festival. Future engagements include a début in the Dublin National Concert Hall's International Concert Series performing the Schumann Concerto with the City of London Sinfonia.

His critically acclaimed solo album, The Irish Piano, was released in 2012 by RTÉ lyric fm and selected as ‘CD of the Week’ by the critic Norman Lebrecht. More recent solo releases include Schubert: Four Impromptus on Ergodos, Miniatures and Modulations on Grand Piano, and a first orchestral album, Irish Piano Concertos, featuring works by John Field and Philip Hammond with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Courtney Lewis, supported by a Major Individual Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. His discography also includes releases on Delos, Nimbus Alliance, Champs Hill, Lorelt, Louth CMS and seven duo recital albums on Chandos with clarinettist Michael Collins. Upcoming projects include a recording of Strauss’s ‘Burleske’ with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on Chandos, and a first album with the McGill/McHale Trio on the Cedille label, featuring world premiere recordings and special narrations by Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali.

Winner of the Terence Judd / Hallé Award in 2009, Michael was also awarded the Brennan and Field Prizes at the 2006 AXA Dublin International Piano Competition, the 2005 Camerata Ireland/Accenture Award, and in 2016 a Major Individual Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. He studied at Cambridge University and the Royal Academy of Music, and his teachers and mentors include John O’Conor, Réamonn Keary, Christopher Elton, Ronan O’Hora and Barry Douglas. 

Michael collaborates regularly with Sir James Galway, Michael Collins, Patricia Rozario, Dame Felicity Lott, the McGill/McHale Trio and Camerata Pacifica. www.michaelmchale.com

Michael's own arrangement of My Lagan Love

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Event Details

Fri 25 May
19:30 to 21:30

Free but still ticketed


  • The Portaferry Hotel
  • Bed and Breakfast
  • Deli-licious
  • The Cuan
  • The Slip Inn
  • Portaferry Sailing Club

How to get here

Portico is easy to find in Portaferry. You can also get detailed driving directions or check out the ferry timetable for crossing from Strangford.