History of the Festival

Sligo Festival of Baroque Music began life in 1995 as Sligo Early Music Festival, conceived and implemented by Rod Alston and the Sligo Early Music Ensemble – which had been formed five years earlier.

Now in its sixteenth year, the festival aims to present high quality performance of baroque chamber music in a notably friendly and informal context. There is always a mix of performers, some with an enviable international reputation, others at some early stage of their careers. A feature of the festival has always been an attempt to foster the development of young performers – from the local youngsters who work under an experienced and renowned performer in the Baroque Youth Orchestra, to recently formed ensembles of young professionals or third level students.

Among those who have appeared at the festival are, sopranos, Emma Kirkby, Julia Gooding and Lenneke Ruiten; tenor John Elwes; baroque violinists Elizabeth Walfisch, Maya Homburger, Claire Duff and Walter Reiter; flautists Wilbert Hazelzet, Eleanor Dawson, Julia Knight; sopranos Julia Gooding; recorder players Laoise O’Brien, Aedin Halpin and Kate Hearne; viola da Gamba players, Sarah Cunningham, Reiko Ichesi, Sarah Groser; harpsichordists Malcolm Proud,  and Laurence Cummins, David Adams.

The first festival in 1995 took place in the Model Arts Centre – a building that was initially a model school, and had began its transition to arts centre – having been vacated by the Departments of Agriculture and Revenue, cold, draughty, with archaic toilets, but also characterful and a wonderful acoustic.

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Currently the Festival is managed by a committee. We are very conscious of, and grateful for the support, assistance and encouragement given to the festival by a large number of individuals, organisations and institutions.

We would welcome any comment on any aspect of the festival, and would be extremely grateful for all support offered – financial or otherwise.

Sligo Festival of Baroque Music Committee: Mary Bell; Des McConville; Lucie O’Hara; Isabelle Fahy; John Fahy;  Margrit Fahy; Rod Alston; Steve Wickham; Suzanne Woods.