Michael McHale smiling at prospect of playing piano in Portaferry
Sat 08 Jun

MusicMichael McHale

We are thrilled to welcome back the simply fantastic pianist Michael McHale.


Schubert: Impromptus D.899

Mussorgsky: Pictures at an exhibition

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, City of London Sinfonia, London Mozart Players and all five of the major Irish orchestras, and performed at the Tanglewood and Tokyo Spring Festivals, Wigmore Hall, London, Berlin Konzerthaus, Lincoln Center, New York, Symphony Hall, Boston and Pesti Vigadó in Budapest.

Michael’s début 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. His discography of over twenty albums includes releases on Delos, Nimbus Alliance, Champs Hill, and seven duo recital albums on Chandos with Michael Collins. The début album of the McGill/McHale Trio Portraits on Cedille featuring special narrations by Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali was released in 2017 and immediately entered the Top 25 US Billboard Classical Chart. Upcoming releases include a recording of Strauss’s ‘Burleske’ with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on Chandos, and a recording of two new works by Cliff Eidelman with the London Symphony Orchestra.

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 the Royal Irish Academy of Music, 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.

In 2017 Michael was invited to become a Patron of the Ulster Youth Orchestra, and in 2018 he was appointed as a part-time professor of piano for undergraduate and postgraduate students at the Cork School of Music in Ireland.

Michael McHale plays The Beardless Boy by Philip Hammond

Belfast-born pianist Michael McHale played Rachmaninov's Rhapsody On a Theme of Paganini on the new grand piano; it was a performance unusually rich in delicate, bell-like detail…

Rowena Smith, The Guardian

McHale can combine dramatic flair with faultless stylistic skill (as in the first movement cadenza), probe the depths of the writing (as in the slow movement), and mix fluency, bravura and suddenly surreal nostalgia - as in the finale. He's a player with a lot to give…

Robert Beale, Manchester Evening News

His touch can be ethereal, as in Debussy, or extremely forceful, as in Mussorgsky's Pictures… and his mechanism is practically without blemish even in the hardest pieces… I liked his well-contrasted Schubert, and I truly enjoyed his two pieces from Debussy's Estampes, Soirée in Granada and Gardens under the Rain, fluent and mercurial… As to his Mussorgsky, it was dramatic and intense, and I didn't miss the orchestra in The Great Gate of Kiev as I often do, so big (but unforced) was his tone…

Pablo Bardin, Buenos Aires Herald

Similar events


Event Details

Sat 08 Jun
19:30 to 21:15



  • The Portaferry Hotel
  • Bed and Breakfast
  • Slip Inn
  • Portaferry Hotel
  • The Lep
  • The Lobster Pot

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.