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Deirdre Gribbin. Photo courtesy of artist.


CANCELLED ​7.30pm (90 mins), ​Thursday 01 March
Main Stage NCH

The RTÉ Concert Orchestra perform Ireland's very own Deirdre Gribbin’s massive work for percussion and orchestra, Goliath, with soloist Toby Kearney and conducted by Ryan McAdams. They are then joined by the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir for James MacMillan’s Credo, conducted by the composer himself. A night of extraordinary, monumental music from two iconoclastic composers.

Each ticket comes with an invitation to have a free drink at the post-show festival reception in the NCH.

I felt like I was watching a prayer, rather than a mere concert performance

Wilf Jones, Bachtrack, on Credo

one of the most original thinkers in years

The Times, on Deirdre Gribbin

Toby Kearney. Photo courtesy of  artist. James MacMillan. Photo by Philip Gatward.

New Music Dublin 2018’s first full concert in the Main Auditorium presents two colossal orchestral compositions. Both MacMillan’s Credo and Gribbin’s Goliath are homages to place, identity and community, told from the perspective of two conjoined but separated belief systems and two sets of personal experiences.

The power of MacMillan’s Credo stems from his Scottish heritage, Catholic faith and social conscience, while the majesty of Gribbin’s Goliath references the huge cranes of the Belfast shipyard that dominate the skyline of her home town, with the massive presence of the Lambeg drums clearly placing its geographic and political references.




Composed by

James MacMillan, Credo

Composed by

Deirdre Gribbin, Goliath


Toby Kearney


James MacMilllan, Credo


Ryan McAdams, Goliath

Since 1948, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra has built a strong connection with the public that saw it named the World’s Favourite Orchestra in 2015. The orchestra is committed to an eclectic range of programming from the world premiere of Mise Éire to performing live to an audience of nine thousand at the 3Arena with RTÉ 2fm’s Jenny Greene (2017)) or reaching thousands of young people through the Music in the Classroom series.

Established by RTÉ in 1985, the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir is Ireland’s foremost adult choir with over 160 auditioned members, some coming from as far away as Cork and Tipperary for weekly rehearsals. The choir acts primarily as a symphonic chorus to the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and under chorus master Mark Hindley the “Phil” has reached new heights, attracting praise from audience and critics alike.

Toby Kearney is Principal Percussion and Timpanist of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and the Royal College of Music in London.

After winning the percussion section of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 2006 Toby went on to perform James Macmillan’s Veni, Veni Emmanuel percussion concerto several times including with the Northern Sinfonia and conductor Yan Pascal Tortellier. Since then Toby has performed across the UK as a solo percussionist and in collaboration with many other artists.

Notable past performances include the UK premiere of Avner Dorman’s double percussion concerto Spices, Perfumes, Toxins! at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and the world premiere of Matthew Sergeant’s Percussion Concerto. Toby was the percussion soloist in the UK premiere of Stockhausen’s Lucifer’s Tanz at the Royal Festival Hall London and in the BBC Proms 2009 he was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 giving the UK premiere of Michael Jarrell’s Assonances VII.

In the recent past Toby has also performed in prestigious venues such as Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Bridgewater Hall and on tour in the Middle East and as a chamber musician has collaborated with Janine Jansen, Lawrence Power, Karine Georgian and also with Oscar nominated actor John Malkovich.

Outside of the CBSO Toby regularly plays with several other orchestras including the Britten Sinfonia, BBC Concert Orchestra and the John Wilson Orchestra and has coached the percussion sections of the National Youth Orchestra, National Children’s Orchestra and the Ulster Youth Orchestra.

Sir James MacMillan is one of today’s most successful composers and is also internationally active as a conductor. His musical language is flooded with influences from his Scottish heritage, Catholic faith, social conscience and close connection with Celtic folk music, blended with influences from Far Eastern, Scandinavian and Eastern European music.

MacMillan first became internationally recognised after the extraordinary success of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie at the BBC Proms in 1990. His prolific output has since been performed and broadcast around the world. His major works include the percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, which has received close to 500 performances, a cello concerto for Mstislav Rostropovich and four symphonies. Recent major works include his Percussion Concerto No.2 for Colin Currie, co- commissioned by the Philharmonic Orchestra, Edinburgh International Festival, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and, most recently, his Trombone Concerto, written for Jörgen van Rijen, which was premiered by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Iván Fischer.

MacMillan enjoys a flourishing career as conductor of his own music alongside a range of contemporary and standard repertoire, praised for the composer’s insight he brings to each score. He has conducted orchestras such as the National Symphony Orchestra Washington, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony, Danish Radio Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, Bergen Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and NHK Symphony Orchestra among others. He was Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie until 2013 and Composer/Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic from 2000-09.

Highlights of the 2017/18 season include a performance at Edinburgh International Festival, conducting the BBC Scottish Symphony and appearances with London Philharmonic Orchestra, where he also mentors the 2017/18 Young Composers Scheme. Elsewhere this season MacMillan conducts the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the Scottish Ensemble. This season a number of new MacMillan works will be premiered including Larghetto for Orchestra by Pittsburgh Symphony, The Sun Danced by Gulbenkian Orchestra, a choral work for The Sixteen and a saxophone concerto for Amy Dickson.

Belfast born composer Deirdre Gribbin received an Arts Foundation Award for her opera ‘Hey Persephone’ staged at the Aldeburgh Almeida Theatre. ‘Empire States’ for RTE received a UNSECO award in 2003. ‘Unity of Being’ for orchestra opened the ‘UK with NY Festival in New York City after 9/11 and was featured in the New York Times. In 2004 ‘Venus Blazing’ violin concerto toured the UK, including London’s Southbank lit by Bruce Springsteen’s designer Jeff Ravitz and directed by Lou Stein. In 2006 the BBC commissioned ‘Goliath’, a percussion concerto featuring lambeg drums from the orange marching tradition. It will be performed at New Music Dublin 2018.

Gribbin is a graduate of Queen’s University and Guildhall London, a visiting Fellow at Trinity, Cambridge, and Winston Churchill and Fulbright Fellow.

Her second opera ‘Crossing the Sea’, premiered at Wilton’s Music Hall in 2008. She has written for BBC Drama including ‘Embers’ starring Patrick Stewart. ‘Reflected Glory’ was premiered at Huddersfield Music Festival and Lucerne and was a recipient of a PRS Award. Her film music for ‘My Kingdom’ starring Richard Harris was nominated for a Screen International Award. Her music has been performed by the Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, Britten and Northern Sinfonias, and Juilliard Ensemble and programmed at Presences Paris, Taipei Festival, ISCM, in USA, Canada and China.

Her string quartet based on DNA, ‘Hearing Your Genes Evolve’ featured at EU ‘Innovations Convention’ in Brussels and in ‘The Dark Gene’, shortlisted for the 2016 Berlinale documentary film prize. In 2016 she was featured in ‘Composing the Island’ and ‘Invitation to a Journey’ about Eileen Gray commissioned by Cois Ceim and Crash Ensemble premiered at Galway Festival.

Her setting of Heaney’s poetry is available on the NMC label recording ‘Island People’. Her orchestral music is available on lyric FM label ‘Irish Composers Series’.

Deirdre is Artistic Director of ‘The Venus Blazing Trust’ working with children with learning disabilities. 2018 sees the launch of ‘GenoME’, an app featuring her music at London Science FestivaL, Kindersang commissioned by West Cork Music and Wigmore Hall, London and performances in Germany, USA and Austrailia.

Ryan McAdams is quickly establishing himself as one of the most exciting and versatile conductors of his generation. He made a highly successful European debut with the orchestra of the Maggio Musicale in Florence, where he has since returned regularly. His Eastern European debut in Dubrovnik was made with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Julian Rachlin, and Mischa Maisky. His subscription debut with the Israel Philharmonic was hailed as "extraordinary," "masterful," and "immense[ly] dramatic" by the Jerusalem Post; a live recording of the concert was released by the IPO on the Helicon Classics label. He has returned to the Israel Philharmonic twice since, most recently in a series of performances featuring cellist Alisa Weilerstein and Orff's Carmina Burana. A Fulbright scholar, he previously served as Apprentice Conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, assisting then-Chief Conductor Alan Gilbert. Mr. McAdams is the first-ever recipient of the Sir Georg Solti Emerging Conductor Award.

This season, Maestro McAdams continues performances of The Second Violinist with Wide Open Opera in Dublin and Galway, Ireland. For American Opera Projects, he conducts Ray Lustig and Matt Gray’s Semmelweis, and with the National Symphony Orchestra he conducts the musical score to the film Selma. He debuts with the Moscow State Philharmonic for a concert of arias by Meyerbeer, Gounod, and Verdi, will lead the Phoenix Symphony in an all-Gershwin program, returns to Maggio Musicale Fiorentino for Carmen, and conducts works of Bach, Ginastera, Stravinsky, and Piazzolla with the Orchestra della Toscana.

Media Credits

Header: Deidre Gribbin. Photo courtesy of artist.
Overview images:
Toby Kearney. Photo courtesy of artist.
James MacMillan. Photo by Philip Gatward.
Gallery images:
RTE Concert Orchestra. Photo by Mia Cooper.
Ryan McAdams, conductor. Photo by Lisa Mazzucco.
RTE Philharmonic Choir. Photo courtesy of artists.

BBC Proms 2012 from the Royal Albert Hall, London.

Juanjo Mena leads the BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Chamber Choir, Northern Sinfonia Chorus and Rushley Singers in the world premiere of James MacMillan's Credo


Read a review of Credo, live at the BBC Proms