Press enter after choosing selection

UMS Concert Program, March 22, 1989: The Chieftains --

Download PDF
Rights Held By
University Musical Society
OCR Text

Season: 110th
Concert: Thirty-sixth
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Chieftains
Guest Artist: MAURA O'CONNELL, Vocalist
Wednesday Evening, March 22, 1989, at 8:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
This evening's program will be announced from the stage. Hail to The Chieftains!
"If there is a more beautiful musical sound in all the world than that made by The Chieftains, I haven't heard it," declared the music critic of the Houston Post. It is no overstatement to say that The Chieftains, who celebrated their silver anniversary last year, are the world's most famous exponents of traditional Irish music. They have uncovered a vast wealth of traditional Irish reels, jigs, airs, and ballads that has accumulated over the centuries, especially the com?positions of the legendary harpist Carolan. The sheer quality of their playing and the fact that there is ample room for improvisation ensure that no two performances are the same.
In the words of Paddy Moloney, the leader of The Chieftains: "For a band to be together through 25 years and 17 albums is some feat, but honestly, I wouldn't change a minute of what has happened. The six of us have never been as happy or confident as we are today. We have a saying in Ireland, 'Ta gach rud to hiontach,' which loosely translated means, 'everything is great' -and that's how we feel."
The pre-concert carillon recital was performed by Joe Discenza,
graduate student in mathematics and student of University Carilloneur Margo Halstead.
The piano used in this concert is a Steinway available through Hammell Music, Inc.
The University Musical Society expresses thanks to Ford Motor Company Fund
for underwriting the printing costs of this program. The Chieftains appear by arrangement with ICM Artists, Ltd., New York City.
Cameras and recording devices are not allowed in the auditorium. Halls Cough Tablets, courtesy of Warner-Lambert Company, are available in the lobby.
Thirty-sixth Concert of the 110th Season Eighteenth Annual Choice Series
About the Artists
Although The Chieftains' early following was purely a folk audience, the astonishing range and variation of their music very quickly captured a much broader audience, resulting in their present world fame. The Chieftains have performed with such pop stars as Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler, Jackson Browne, and Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. Their appearance on NBC-TV's "Saturday Night Live" in 1978 was seen by a record 50 million viewers, and they broke all records for a live audience when they performed for Popejohn Paul II and 1,350,000 people at Phoenix Park in Dublin in October 1979. Paddy Moloney, the band's leader, admitted, "It was his gig -we were just the opening act. The Pope was the headliner!" In the summer of 1982, The Chieftains opened for the Rolling Stones at Slane Castle in Dublin before a crowd of 80,000.
In 1983, at the invitation of former Speaker of the House Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, The Chieftains became the first group to give a concert in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Also in 1983, The Chieftains appeared in China in a two-and-a-half-week tour which included performances in Beijing, Shanghai, and the Heavenly City of Suchow. During their historic tour, The Chieftains became the first Western group to perform with a Chinese folk orchestra and the first group ever to perform on the Great Wall of China. While they were there, they filmed The Chieftains in China, which was aired worldwide. The Chieftains expanded their list of "firsts" in December 1983 when they headlined two Traditional Irish Christmas shows at New York's Madison Square Garden, and in 1984 when they joined the Milwaukee Sym?phony, marking the band's debut appearance with an American symphony orchestra.
The Chieftains appeared as special guests of James Galway in his first major television special which was nationally telecast in the United States in March 1986. They collaborated with Mr. Galway on his RCA Red Seal album In Ireland released in 1987, and they completed a highly successful tour of the United States with Mr. Galway during the summer of 1987. The Chieftains also appeared with Van Morrison in a BBC Television special aired in the United States during the fall of 1988 and collaborated with playwright John B. Keane on his latest work, Sharon's Grave, directed by Geraldine Fitzgerald and performed in Ireland's Abbey Theatre during the summer of 1988. In March 1988, the group appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
The Chieftains, who have recently completed an extremely successful ten-country tour of Europe with Van Morrison that climaxed with two sold-out performances at the Royal Albert Hall in October 1988, have just received the Irish National Entertainment Award for best Irish Folk Group of 1988. More recently, the "Chief of The Chieftains, Paddy Moloney, appeared with guitarist Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits and Beatles producer George Martin on a special program featuring Jim Henson's Muppets to be aired in the United States in early 1989. Expanding their television appearances, The Chieftains were featured on a BBC Television special to be aired on St. Patrick's Day and were also on "Gay Byrne's Late Late Show" of RTE Irish Television in a two-hour celebration of their 25th anniversary, appearing with Van Morrison, a full symphony orchestra, ballet company, and numerous Irish musicians.
The Chieftains, who have recently signed an exclusive recording contract with RCA Red Seal, have made nearly twenty albums to date. Their latest release, entitled A Chieftains Celebration in recognition of their 25th anniversary, features Van Morrison and Nanci Griffiths. Other recent releases are Celtic Wedding on RCA, the critically acclaimed Irish Heartbeat with Van Morrison on Mercury, and Beatrix Potter's The Tailor of Gloucester, narrated by Meryl Streep with music composed and performed by The Chieftains on Windham Hill. They have also recorded with such artists as Art Garfunkcl, Dan Fogclbcrg, and Don Henley, and the British group Ultravox. Paddy Moloney and Sean Keane can be heard on Mickjagger's solo album Primitive Cool.
The ensemble has collaborated on several motion picture and television soundtracks. The score of the feature film Barry Lyndon, for which The Chieftains were largely responsible, won an Oscar, and they composed and performed all the traditional music for The Grey Fox, a widely acclaimed film directed by Philip Borsos and starring Richard Farnsworth. For their efforts, the Chieftains won the 1983 Genie (the Canadian Oscar) and have received five Grammy nominations.
The trappings of fame have not detracted from The Chieftains' understanding of their roots. They arc as comfortable swapping talcs and tunes in a Dublin pub's snug as they are headlining a concert at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, it Willie Nelson's Opera House in Austin, Texas, or playing in an ensemble with a Chinese folk group in a Suchow farm house.
Leader Paddy Moloney plays the tin whistle (also called a penny whistle) and the uileann pipes, which exude a mellower and less abrasive sound than the familiar bagpipe. Derek Bell is the expert harp player and is also proficient on the oboe, piano, and the tinipan, a stringed instrument of medieval Ireland. Kevin Conncff plays the bodhran, a circular hand-held drum shaped like a tambourine, and often sings in his gentle tenor voice. Martin Fay and Scan Kcanc are the fiddlers (never violinists), while Matt Molloy is the agile flutist. Each solos on occasion, but the emphasis is placed on ensemble playing.
Paddy Moloney is one of the most famous Irish traditional musicians in the world today. He was raised in Dublin in an atmosphere steeped in traditional music and, by age eight, was playing the uileann pipes. Paddy's passion for traditional music created a driving ambition that, together with his ability to communicate his music in a simple and commercial sense, led to the formation of The Chieftains. Paddy's pipeand whistle-playing are of the finest calibre and have been recognized by such legendary figures as Mike Oldfield, Eric Clapton, and Van Morrison. In 1982, he appeared as solo guest with Jackson Browne at Hammersmith Odean in London and played the whistle on "Rain Clouds," the 'B' side of the Stevie WonderPaul McCartney hit single Ebony and Ivory. Paddy has composed the scores for such films as Tristan and Isolde starring Richard Burton, The Year of the French and The Ballad of the Irish Horse, a film in the world renowned series of the National Geographic Society television specials. Paddy was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music degree from Trinity College, whereupon he proclaimed, "I'm very happy to be a doctor, but I want everyone to know I don't make house calls!"
Martin Fay was born in Dublin where he received his early training in classical music. After seeing a film on Paganini, he concentrated on the violin and won a scholarship to the Dublin Municipal School of Music, but the lure of traditional music soon proved irresistible. Although lacking the "roots" background that many purists consider essential in a traditional musician, Martin has proved the theory wrong by combining practical classical training with the heart and soul of a traditionalist, creating a uniquely complex and beautiful style. A quiet, modest man, Martin would be the last one to be overawed by the trappings of fame, and there is nothing he likes better than "to get back home and enjoy a quiet pint in my favorite local."
Born in Dublin of parents who treasured Irish tradition, Sean Keane displayed his talents at an early age and was sent to the Dublin School of Music where he received classical training. Still, he yearned for the traditional music he loved and could frequently be found at folk sessions throughout the city. One of only a few fiddlers who have been greatly influenced by the great pipers, Scan was inspired especially by Will Clancy, and Sean's solo album Gusty's Frolics reflects the piper's style. Sean maintains the old tradition of traveling the country seeking new tunes and songs and, realizing his responsibilities as one of the world's leading fiddle players, takes the time to teach many youngsters his magnificent style. He has made three solo albums.
Derek Bell is a man who has mastered all varieties of music. A child prodigy who wrote his first concerto at the age of twelve, he studied at the Royal College of Music and throughout Europe and the United States with such renowned teachers as Leon Goossens and Madame Rosina Lhevinne. Although his major instrument with The Chieftains is the harp, he is equally proficient on the oboe, cor anglais, dulcimer, and piano. Derek's career has included per?formances with the symphony orchestras of London, Pittsburgh, Moscow, Budapest, and the Royal Philharmonic in London. His harp playing, especially on Carolan's rich melodies, has earned the highest critical praise. Derek has five solo albums.
It is no exaggeration to say that Kevin ConnefFis the pulse of The Chieftains. Born in Dublin's Liberties -one of the city's most historic areas -Kevin came into the traditional fold at the relatively late age of 17, but he quickly immersed himself in the music. He was a founder of the prestigious Tradition Club in Dublin that has featured members of The Chieftains as soloists, as well as other prominent instrumentalists and singers. He also played on the legendary album Prosperous in 1968, which led to the formation of Planxty. The complexities of traditional rhythms demand a very considered and thoughtful approach, and Kevin has honed his bodhran playing to perfectly complement the style of his colleagues. In addition, his vocals have contributed to the unique sound of The Chieftains. Kevin has just recently recorded his first solo album, a collection of Irish songs.
One of the two non-Dubliners in the group, Matt Molloy was born in Ballaghaderren in County Roscommon, an area that is well known for its crop of flutists. By the time he was 17, he had a string of successes in the National Flcadh Cheoil and Oireachtas behind him. Matt's first involvement on the folk scene came with his arrival in Dublin at age 18. Like Sean Keane, he was influenced strongly by the legendary pipers Willy Clancy and Seamus Ennis. Matt's early musical friends in Dublin were Paddy Moloney, Liam Og O'Flynn of Planxty, and Tommy Peoples of the Bothy Band. Formerly a member of the Bothy Band and Planxty with four critically acclaimed solo albums, Matt is the latest member to join the group.
Guest artist Maura O'Connell is appearing with The Chieftains on their current coast-to-coast tour of the United States. Though she now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, frequent visits take her back to her homeland in County Clare. The warmth and purity of her voice that made such an impact with the legendary traditional Irish group De Danann eight years ago remains as fresh and captivating as ever. Maura's recent album Western Highway features a timeless collection of songs and, like her two previous collections, Maura O'Connell (1983) and Just in Time (1986), was recorded in Nashville. Though she has not allowed her music to fall into any one category, she says: "Really and truly I'm a ballad singer, I love heartbreaking songs," but there's no need to be sour, or serious all the time, about music." Her natural charm and emotion have been hallmarks of her success in Ireland, and she remains an unpretentious ambassador for Ireland's rich culture and friendliness.
Pre-concert Presentations
In the Rackham Amphitheater -free and open to the public.
Wednesday, Mar. 29 at 7:00, preceding Emerson String Quartet Speakers: John Madison, Violist, and Maria Smith, Violinist
Co-founders of the Cassini Ensemble Topic: PlayerInstrument Chemistry: Making It Work Wednesday, Apr. 5 at 7:00, preceding Stuttgart Wind Quintet
Speaker: William Bolcom, Professor of Composition, U-M School of Music;
1988 Pulitzer Prize Winner Topic: Live Program Notes on "FiveFoldFive"
Thursday, Apr. 20 at 7:00, preceding St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Speakers: Robert Alexander and Judy Dow Alexander, Producers and Arts Consultants Topic: Performing With and Managing American Orchestras
Coming Concerts
Emerson String Quartet ..................................Wed. Mar. 29
Mozart: Quartet in E-flat, K. 428; Janacek: Quartet No. 2
("Intimate Letters"); Brahms: Quartet, Op. 51, No. 2 Alicia de Larrocha, pianist.................................Thurs. Mar. 30
Schubert: Impromptu, Op. 90, No. 1; Schubert: Sonata in
A major, Op. 120; Espla: Three Dances, Op. 54; Montsalvatage:
Sonatina pour Ivette; Turina: San Lucar de Barrameda
Stuttgart Wind Quintet ...................................Wed. Apr. 5
Dennis Russell Davies, pianist
Thuille: Sextet, Op. 6; Ligeti: "Six Bagatelles";
Bolcom: "FiveFoldFive" (1985); Poulenc: Sextet Munich Philharmonic Sergiu Celibidache................Thurs. Apr. 13
Mozart: Symphony No. 41 ("Jupiter"); Bruckner: Symphony No. 4 ("Romantic")
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Leonard Slatkin .........Thurs. Apr. 20
Steven Stucky: Dreamwaltzes; Haydn: Symphony No. 85; Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10
96th Annual May Festival -April 26-29, 1989 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, 8:00 p.m.
Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig
Kurt Masur, Music Director and Conductor
The Festival Chorus, Donald Bryant, Director
Annerose Schmidt, Pianist
Anne-Sophie Mutter, Violinist
Gail Dubinbaum, Mezzo-soprano
Vinson Cole, Tenor
Hermann Baumann, Horn
Jessye Norman, Soprano
Stephen Bryant, Bass-baritone
J. Patrick Raftery, Baritone
Wednesday -Mendelssohn: "Ruy Bias" Overture; Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4;
Schubert: Symphony No. 9 ("The Great") Thursday -Beethoven: "Leonore" Overture No. 3; Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 1;
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 in F minor
Friday -Brahms: Violin Concerto in D major; Mendelssohn: "Die erste Walpurgisnacht" (Festival Chorus, Dubinbaum, Cole, Raftery, Bryant)
Saturday -Strauss: "Four Last Songs" (Norman); Bruckner: Symphony No. 7
Single tickets now on sale.
Board of Directors
John W. Reed, President
David B. Kennedy, Vice President
Thomas E. Kauper, Secretary Norman G. Herbert, Treasurer
Robert G. Aldrich James J. Duderstadt Richard L. Kennedy
Patrick B. Long Judythe R. Maugh John D. Paul
John Psarouthakis Ann S. Schriber Herbert E. Sloan
Kenneth C. Fischer, Executive Director
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1270 Telephone: (313) 764-2538

Download PDF