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In Pictures: Talented young Laois musician packs out the Dunamaise Arts Centre for debut classical piano concert

David Vesey Main

Dunamaise Arts Centre was packed out on Friday evening when David Vesey performed his debut classical piano concert. 

A virtuoso musician steeped in traditional Irish music, David is equally accomplished at classical music, where he is an 1848 scholarship master’s student under the renowned Hugh Tinney in RIAM. 

When he was offered the opportunity to perform an entire concert of classical music, David was clear that he wanted to perform in his home county of Laois first, and that he wanted to deliver a performance in a way which made classical music accessible and insightful, particularly to new and younger audiences. 

“Classical music has an incredible history and set of stories – which are ultimately connected with people, places and emotions.”, said David before the concert. 

“Sometimes, however, these stories do not come through for the audience in performances. 

“But everyone knows some classical music – whether it is film soundtracks or famous pieces.  My objective in this concert is to perform music by some of the greatest composers, but also to give some insights into their lives and the specific works.”

David certainly delivered on his objective. Opening the concert with music from Mozart, David moved onto two pieces from Claude Debussy. 

With David’s introduction on what inspired the music, the audience were ready and tuned in to listen for different aspects of the music as it was performed. 

One audience member remarked at the interval that it was like the difference between wandering through an art gallery on your own and being guided by an art expert pointing out key features and showing linkages and connections.

Part one concluded with a thrilling performance of Beethoven’s Appasionata Sonata, which is a very complex piece of music in its own right.

The second half of the concert was devoted to music from Franz Liszt, one of the greatest pianists from the 19th century.  Liszt performed right across Europe – from St Petersburg in Russia all the way through to Cork in Ireland. 

The audience gave a standing ovation for David at the end of his concert in appreciation of the evening.

As part of David’s commitment to promoting music, he gave masterclasses to music students at Portlaoise College and also at the Laois School of Music, where he was once a student himself. Through these masterclasses, he was able to give back to the Laois community and expand the interest in classical music in the county.

David also acknowledged the great support he has had in traditional Irish music from Spink Comhaltas and Comhaltas at a national level.  

For David’s encore, he noted that he had performed in the Dunamaise Arts Centre exactly five years earlier on the same date – this was part of the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann Tour of Ireland. 

David described how he had made a very special group of friends on that Tour and on subsequent performances. 

One of these musicians was Aisling Murphy from Offaly who was tragically killed in January this year, to nationwide shock and sorrow.  David dedicated his encore, which is his own original arrangement of two traditional Irish tunes, to Aisling’s memory.

David will be performing again next Sunday, 23rd October in St. Peter’s Church of Ireland, Portlaoise as part of the Laois School of Music 21st Birthday celebrations. 

He will perform a piano recital alongside Tatyana Vykhodtseva, Emmett Malone, Jonathan Murray and Mary Wisely.  This writer very much looks forward to David’s next concert.  

The concert was funded as part of the Laois Local Live Performance Programming Scheme 2022 Phase 4, by the Laois County Council Arts Office and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

You can check out a selection of Alf Harvey photos from the event below.

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