The Apple and the Tree ... McNamaras’ Solstice tour date
They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, so it is an ideal title for the collaboration of Rathbeggan pianist, Frank McNamara and his son, JJ, who have embarked on a tour offering "the ultimate classical music experiece".
The duo offer concert programmes with a perfect balance of virtuosity, brilliance and profundity, and play Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, on Friday 20th May.
Known to many as Gay Byrne’s musical director on the Late Late from 1979-1999, Frank’s first love was classical music. He studied piano with Rhona Marshall and legendary British pianist Peter Katin and made his concert debut as part of Kilkenny Arts Week in 1978. A long and varied career followed as a pianist, arranger composer conductor and producer. Frank toured extensively around the globe, working with the world’s greatest orchestras as arranger, performer and conductor. His studio productions have been varied – from The Irish Tenors to the Sultans of Ping FC. He has won several gold and platinum awards for his album productions, in particular with The Irish Tenors.
Following recent serious health issues, Frank has returned to his classical music roots and performs his favourite Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt on this concert tour. His superb technique and profound musical playing has always been a hallmark of his playing regardless of the genre.
JJ McNamara is a young Irish virtuoso pianist. Although only 21, he has already performed as soloist with international orchestras and won several major national competitions most notably the coveted Mabel Swainson Cup at the Feis Ceoil in 2019. As a result of this win, JJ was invited to perform a concert at the Barry Douglas’s Clandeboye Festival, receiving huge plaudits from both Barry Douglas and Finghin Collins for his performance. JJ was invited to perform his solo debut concert at the National Concert Hall as part of their Young Artist series. This sold-out concert was held in the Kevin Barry Room on October 20th 2019 and many people had to be turned away due to the demand for seats.
JJ has studied with Padhraic O Cuinneagain, Jonathan Middleton, Martin Roscoe, Hugh Tinney and he is currently studying in London at the Royal Academy of Music with Russian pianist Rustem Hayroudinoff. JJ’s first CD recording, featuring music of Haydn, Chopin, Debussy, Liszt and Rachmaninov was released in late 2017.
The father and son say: "We believe that classical music should never be “stuffy” and elitist. Art is for all. We love to play great music and have fun doing it."