An unusual aspect of next week’s concert in the Ardhowen Theatre, featuring the wonderful Fidelio Trio with the Uilleann piper Cillian Vallely, is that the 10 composers whose work will be performed all acknowledge that JB Vallely’s paintings, particularly of musicians, inspired their musical compositions. As each piece is performed on Friday, November 18, beautiful colour images of Brian Vallely’s paintings will light up the auditorium.
 
The Fidelio Trio with the uilleann piper Cillian Vallely who will be performing together at the Ardhowen.
 
Music in Fermanagh in association with the Ardhowen Theatre has also organised an exhibition of nine Vallely paintings, some kindly lent by local people, others by the artist himself. These will be on display in the theatre foyer and the gallery upstairs in November, from Wednesday, November 8 to Monday, November 28. The exhibition includes one of Vallely’s beautiful watercolours ‘The Spirit of Ceolas’, which was singled out by composer Linda Buckley as a work which inspired her. She and two other composers, Niall Vallely and the young Fermanagh-born Rose Connolly were commissioned by Moving on Music with Art Council of Northern Ireland support to compose works especially for this concert in honour of Brian Vallely and his family. Brian and his musician wife Eithne founded the Armagh Pipers’ Club and not long ago received a major award from TG4, the Irish TV station, for their ‘Outstanding Contribution to Music in Armagh’.
Work of Fermanagh composers Rose Connolly and the late Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin (1950–2018) will be performed on the night.
Rose is a remarkable musician from south Fermanagh. As well as being a composer who graduated from the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin, she sings, plays the piano and a great variety of other instruments including the violin and guitar.
Rose has called her new composition ‘Abhaile’ the Irish word for home, and admits that her recent experience of studying in the Netherlands at the Royal Conservatory at The Hague has given her a fresh perspective of Ireland and the traditional music style.
 
Composer Rose Connolly. Photo: Rita Perry.
 
Mícheál studied under Sean Ó Ríada and both pioneering musicians have been credited with composing and arranging Irish music in distinctive ways, the result being music eloquently described by composer Gerald Victory as both “new and old”. Mícheál was Professor of Music at the University of Limerick where he founded the Irish World Music Centre in 1994, which has now grown into the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.
In the early years of Fermanagh County Museum Mícheál composed the harp music and the Enniskillen composer also arranged music for an audio-visual programme ‘The Maguires of Fermanagh and the Town of Enniskillen’. The harp accompanied a poem composed for the reigning Maguire chieftain, the words chanted by the Benedictine monk Ciarán Forbes from Glenstal Abbey in Limerick who was a renowned woodcarver.
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