|Duo Harrington-Varga, Ireland/USA, 2016|
Tour Dates: 11th March - 20st March, 2016
“...Harrington described its winding contours with aching tenderness, a profound sense of melancholy touching every phrase.”
11th March, 2016, 19:30, National Center for the Performing Arts
Gregory Harrington enjoys a successful international career as a soloist and chamber musician. In July 2000, he debuted in the Purcell Room of the Royal Festival Hall to critical acclaim; and as a prizewinner of the Artists International Competition in New York in February 2003, Harrington made another successful debut at Carnegie Hall, where he has given multiple performances.
Harrington has toured and performed as soloist in venues throughout the Americas, Asia and Europe including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Town Hall & Merkin Hall in New York; Symphony Hall in Boston; the Oriental Arts Center, Shanghai; Benaroya Hall, Seattle; the South Bank Center, London; The Hugh Lane Gallery, the West Cork Chamber Music Festival and The National Concert Hall, Dublin. For his interpretation of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" with the RTE Concert Orchestra in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, the Irish Times commented: “The soloist Gregory Harrington was impressive. This young Dublin born violinist showed natural artistry and an ability to dazzle.” More recently, he has made extensive recital tours of North America, New Zealand and the Far East which have included numerous appearances and interviews on TV and radio. Harrington has performed with the San Diego Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Mexico City Philharmonic, RTE Concert Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, the Orquesta Sinfonica del IPN, Mexico; the Irish Concert Orchestra, The Musica Bella Orchestra of New York and the Dublin Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Thomas Wilkins, Robert Houlihan, Alan Tongue, Francisco Noya, Hector Reyes Bonilla, Susan Haig and Philip Gaskill. He has collaborated with members of the renowned Emerson, Manhattan and Lark String Quartets, British virtuoso pianist Simon Mulligan, legendary Irish fiddler Martin Hayes as well as the celebrated jazz bassist John Patitucci.
Harrington's first album "Reflections", accompanied by William Lewis on piano, is a recording of 16 virtuoso short pieces that gathered rave reviews in the press and critical acclaim internationally. "Critics' Choice" in Newsweek, the magazine declared "This debut CD features a sultry 'Summertime' and a haunting performance of the theme from 'Schindler's List' that rivals Perlman's justly famous recording." His follow up album "A Different World" also garnered rave reviews in the press and is devoted to the music of celebrated Scottish composer James MacMIllan. The album includes three world premiere recordings. His current release "Bach: Transcriptions and Variations" (2014) was the highest rising entry into the Billboard Classical Charts on release and was Billboards "hot shot debut", charting at #7 in the Top Classical Albums.
Harrington's passion and excitement for fusing genres through innovative music projects has inspired classical music lovers and new listeners by taking his artistry out of the concert hall and into alternate venues. Bringing a fresh sound to familiar repertoire, championing new music and pushing the boundaries on artistic collaborations, his performances often juxtapose the music of Bach, Bartok, Beethoven and MacMillan with his own eclectic arrangements of Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Radiohead. Besides his commitment to the standard violin repertoire and expanding the boundaries into crossover repertoire, he dedicates a large part of his artistic activities to contemporary music. He has premiered concerti and solo works by such distinguished composers as James MacMillan, Steve Gerber, Meira Warshauer, Jorge Sosa, Ian Wilson and Derek Ball amongst others in London, Dublin, Wellington, Mexico, Beijing, Shanghai and New York including the North American premiere of Donnacha Dennehy's Concerto for violin and orchestra with the Mexico City Philharmonic.
Harrington received a bachelor's degree in International Commerce and Spanish literature from University College Dublin and performance diplomas in music from both the Guildhall School of Music in London and Mannes College of Music in New York City. He is also a graduate of the Royal Irish Academy of Music. His principle teachers have been Kevin Kiely, Marat Bisengaliev, Sally Thomas and the late Erick Friedman. A recipient of Awards from the Arts Council and the Department of Cultural Affairs in Ireland, his studies in the US were supported by two prominent Irish companies – the IAWS group and Arnotts. An advocate for culture, education and cancer research, Harrington is passionate about furthering music education by putting instruments in the hands of children, affording them opportunities to develop creatively. A committed educator, Harrington devotes time outside performances to teaching in New York in two private schools - the Spence School and Nightingale - Bamford School in Manhattan, and to fundraising in aid of cancer research.
Matei Varga, piano
“The greatest young Romanian pianist” before the public today (Enescu Festival News, 2013), Matei Varga is firmly established as the true heir of an incomparable pianistic tradition that includes Dinu Lipatti, Clara Haskil, Mindru Katz, and Radu Lupu.
Mr. Varga’s artistry has garnered superlative reviews from critics around the world, who have found his performances “magical” (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2009), “colorful, vivacious [and] engaging” (Le Diapason, 2012), “luminous” (ConcertoNet 2011), and “spectacular” (Adevarul, 2013).
A “musician who can imbue even the simplest of melodic lines with meaning” (Fanfare, 2012), Mr. Varga is equally at home in staples of the pianistic repertoire and works written by today’s foremost composers, as evidenced by his recent commission to perform the European premiere of Michael Hersch’s “insanely difficult” second piano concerto, which left the audience “astonished” (Neue Musikzeitung, 2013).
A top prizewinner at numerous piano competitions, including Maria Canals and George Enescu, Mr. Varga has appeared as a soloist and recitalist in many of the world’s leading concert halls, among them Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall (New York), Konzerthaus (Berlin), the Auditorium du Louvre, Salle Gaveau, and Salle Cortot (Paris), Royal Dramatic Theater (Stockholm), Palau de la Música (Barcelona), Casals Hall (Tokyo), Rebecca Crown Auditorium (Jerusalem), and the Romanian Athenaeum and Radio Hall (Bucharest).
Highlights of Mr. Varga’s 2015-2016 season include planned appearances in the United States, Asia and Europe, as well as the release of two new recordings: a cello and piano album featuring Laura Metcalf on Sono Luminus and the Homage to Italy solo recital on Sheva Collection. His latest recording of the Swan Lake Fantasy (a work commissioned by him) was released earlier in 2015 and is now available worldwide.
Mr. Varga holds degrees from the Romanian National University of Music, where he studied with Ana Pitis, Ioana Minei, and Sandu Sandrin, and the Mannes College of Music, where he studied with Pavlina Dokovska. He is a guest artist and faculty at the International Keyboard Institute and Festival, held every summer in New York City.
"The soloist Gregory Harrington was impressive. This young Dublin born violinist showed natural artistry and an ability to dazzle".
- The Irish Times
"…Harrington described its winding contours with aching tenderness, a profound sense of melancholy touching every phrase."
- The Strad Magazine