It’s an enticing prospect and exactly the kind of event lazy Sunday afternoons were invented for. Kick back on the comfortable seats in the ambient Kilcullen Town Hall Theatre and allow the music of renowned oboe player David Agnew to sooth your soul.
“Music for a Summer’s Day” featuring David Agnew (oboe) with Maria Fitzgerald (mezzo-Soprano) and Desmond Earley (keyboard), on Sunday 3 August at 2pm promises to transport you from the stresses of everyday.
David was born in Dublin and studied piano, recorder and guitar. He was 17 when he heard an oboe at a performance of Fiddler on the Roof. “I didn?t know what the sound was. I asked my dad, who borrowed an oboe for me and that was it, I just loved it.”
An Arts Council scholarship enabled him to study with the world’s greatest oboists, Heinz Holliger and Maurice Bourgue at the International Masterclass in London, Paris, Avignon and Cologne. He won the Principal Prize in the College of Music, Dublin, under the tuition of Albert Soliveres and completed the Licentiate of Trinity College in 1981, the same year as he completed a Masters Degree in Science (Botany).
“I had a choice - either sit in a laboratory doing scientific research or go for the instant job satisfaction of a musician. I found science a lonely occupation, and music was pulling me, I much preferred it.”
He joined the RTE Concert Orchestra in 1982 and has been a frequent and popular soloist with them since. David has also performed as soloist in England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Egypt Tunisia, Israel and Spain.
He toured the USA, including a solo performance with Phil Coulter at City Hall, New York, for Mayor Giuliani.
He’s back on home ground now for a Summer tour. “This tour marks the 25 anniversary of the release of my first CD, Music of the Night, with Frank McNamara for K-Tel. I released the instrumental “Gabriel’s Oboe” (the theme from the film The Mission) as a single and it was in the charts for five weeks - unheard of for an oboe player. I suppose it helped that I played it on the Late Late Show and it happened to be Gay Byrnes favourite piece of music, so we released it as a single. That was in 1989.”
David saw that classical musicians had found a niche playing contemporary music, songs that ordinary people loved and identified with.
“There seemed to be an easy listening champion for every instrument except the oboe. It was difficult to find contemporary pieces for the oboe - most were 250 years old, so I went searching to see what I could find. Theme tunes and songs from musicals seemed to be the way forward.”
He is really looking forward to the concert in Kilcullen Town Hall Theatre. “I want to do as many concerts as possible in some of the great new venues out there. The Kilcullen Town Hall Theatre is a little gem of a venue, really comfortable seating and great acoustics, a gorgeous theatre. I played there for the recent concert in aid of Rise and the audience was so warm and receptive.”
As well as an afternoon of wonderful music, David has a witty way with words and will put a smile on your face with his stories. He was married to Twink (Adele King) for 21 years and they have two daughters, Chloe who is also in the music business, singing with Celtic Woman and as a soloist, and Naomi.
Sunday’s repertoire will includes Music of the Night (Lloyd-Webber), The Swan (Saint- Saens), On my own (Boubil-Schonberg), Hello young lovers (Rodgers & Hammerstein), Bring Him Home (Boubil-Schonberg), Here, There and Everywhere (Lennon & McCartney), Intermezzo No. 1 for Piano Solo (Brahms), Moon River (Mancini-Mercer), Someone Like You (Wildhorn-Bricusse-Cuden), The Promise (Lovland) and Nella Fantasia/Gabriel’s Oboe (Morricone).
Tickets are E10.