In collaboration with the John Ireland Charitable Trust, a weekend of concerts was organised by the Deal Festival to celebrate the composer’s association in the late 1930s with the Kentish seaside town of Deal.  Ten performers from The Purcell School were invited to stage a Sunday afternoon showcase concert to celebrate Ireland’s richly varied output – this took place on Sunday 10th May.  

Three Purcell School singers, Jack Whiting, Jessica Lee and Stephanie Edwards performed a selection of Ireland’s exquisite songs, and the programme was opened by Songeun Choi performing Ireland’s piano piece ‘Chelsea Reach’ as well as Ravel’s virtuosic ‘Ondine’ from ‘Gaspard de la nuit’ and flautist, Abigail Keers played Debussy’s Syrinx, L129.  These pieces were followed by some fascinating Ireland chamber music: the opening movement of his string quartet in D minor, played by Juhee Yang, Alvin Chan, Russell Tan and Yong-Jun Lee and the first movement of his piano trio in E minor played by Alim Beisembayev, Alvin Chan and Yong Jun Lee.  The Deal Festival kindly treated the performers to a fish and chip lunch on the beach before the concert; afterwards there was time for a celebratory ice-cream and a stroll on Deal’s famous pier.

Paul Max EdlinArtistic Director of Deal Festival and Director of Music at Queen Mary, University of London, said The magic that your young musicians asserted was significant, and our hearts and minds were all lifted to a better place as a result.  [The Purcell] School is clearly doing glorious things, and the standard and professionalism demonstrated by everyone who performed was exemplary.  Indeed, the performances inspired us all.  Thank you, all of you, for giving your time so generously and for making the culmination of the John Ireland weekend such a deeply special occasion, one which will remain in our minds for a very long time to come.”