Epic ‘Relief of Derry’ showto round off culture year

Liam O’Flynn, Rita Connolly, Liam O’Maonlai, Gerard McChrystal and Eoin Ó Beaglaioch will be among 220 musicians performing the rousing finale of the UK City of Culture year, Shaun Davey’s Relief of Derry Symphony, on Friday, December 20.

The Britannia Concert Band will be amongst 220 musicians performing the Relief of Derry symphony.
The Britannia Concert Band will be amongst 220 musicians performing the Relief of Derry symphony.

The epic concert will feature the combined forces of the Colmcille Pipe Band and members of the Neilston Pipeband from Glasgow led by Pipe Major Iain MacDonald, Donal Doherty and Codetta in a specially assembled 120-voice choir, Gerry O’Beirne, Noel Eccles, the Trumpets of the Britannia Concert Band and the full Ulster Orchestra, conducted by Gearoid Grant.

The Venue at Ebrington has played host this year to Radio One’s Big Weekend, Elvis Costello, Chic, Status Quo, Primal Scream and the Turner Prize awards ceremony, but it has never seen anything on this scale before with a total of 229 musicians and performers involved.

The symphony was originally performed to great acclaim in the Guildhall in Derry~Londonderry in the summer of 1990. It was commissioned by Derry City Council to commemorate the siege of the city in 1689 and has become known as ‘The Symphony of Peace’.

Shaun Davey said: “This enormous group of musicians - both professional and from the community - can only be assembled once every ten years or so, when someone - or some city - takes a very special initiative. These performers come from very different musical traditions, yet the kind of music they make together is miraculous, powerful and unforgettable.

“This is a concert on an epic scale and I hope it will be a fitting way to bring the curtain down on a memorable year for the people of Derry.

“The concert is designed to represent the end of a journey and I hope, apart from being spectacular and beautiful, that it will salute the powerful achievements and emotions in the City of Culture 2013.”

Culture Company Chief Executive Shona McCarthy said: “This performance of Relief of Derry Symphony is a fitting way to mark the conclusion of the Derry~Londonderry 2013 celebrations.

“This concert promises to be an unmissable event displaying the best of local and regional musicianship. To witness Shaun Davey’s outstanding symphony being performed in its home city at close of the City of Culture year will be a very powerful and emotional moment.”

Tickets for the concert are £26.50 and are available from the Culture Company box office at www.millenniumforum.co.uk