Iarla Ó Lionáird with Cormac McCarthy

Promising to be a very memorable and unique concert, this is an inspired pairing of twice Grammy nominated vocalist Iarla Ó Lionáird with renowned pianist/composer Cormac McCarthy. Through their own compelling interpretations, the musical duo will explore Iarla’s rich and varied repertoire in the beautifully intimate setting of the Whale Theatre. 

Iarla Ó Lionáird has carved a long and unique career in music both internationally and in Ireland. From his iconic early recording of the vision song “Aisling Gheal” as a young boy to his ground-breaking recordings with Dublin’s Crash Ensemble and New York’s Alarm Will Sound, he has shown a breadth of artistic ambition that sets him apart in the Irish Music fraternity.

A twice Grammy nominated artist, Ó Lionáird has worked with a stellar cast of composers internationally including Donnacha Dennehy, Dan Trueman, Kate Moore, Nico Muhly, Linda Buckley, Gavin Bryars and David Lang and he has performed and recorded with such luminaries as Peter Gabriel, Nick Cave, Robert Plant and Sinead O’Connor. His unique singing style has carried him to stages and concert halls all over the world, from New York’s Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House and beyond. He has performed as soloist with concert and symphony orchestras including the Ulster Orchestra, The National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Centre, USA, The Irish National Symphony Orchestra and the RTE Concert Orchestra.


“Magnificently expressive” – The New York Times

“One of the most dramatic voices in contemporary music” – The Guardian

“O’Lionaird’s real triumph is his voice: as soft as a feather bed and as searingly sharp as a blade when the mood calls” – The Irish Times


“His voice will astound you. It soars – and it’s as profound, simple and beautiful as wild horses… Genius is the operative word here.” – Time Out New York


Cormac McCarthy is a pianist, composer, arranger and conductor from Cork, Ireland. Noted for a diverse stylistic palette, and equally at home in a variety of genres, his music is said to “defy categorisation” (Lyric FM). In 2010, having completed his Masters degree in composition at the MTU Cork School of Music, Cormac received the prestigious Bill Whelan International Music Bursary, an award earmarked for young Irish composers studying abroad. He spent a number of years living in Chicago, where he completed a Masters in Jazz Studies at DePaul University.
His compositions and arrangements have been performed and recorded by artists including Phil Woods, Jeff Hamilton, Mick Flannery, Martin Hayes, Andrea Corr, Gavin James, Niamh Regan, Jack O’Rourke, The DePaul Jazz Ensemble, The RTÉ Concert Orchestra, The Crash Ensemble, The New Irish Jazz Orchestra and the Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra. He has performed extensively at concert venues, clubs and festivals throughout Europe and the US, sharing the stage/recording studio with artists across a wide musical spectrum, including Peter Washington, Nell Ní Chróinín, Billy Drummond, Liz Carroll, Donal Lunny, The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra & The RTÉ Concert Orchestra

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