Described by The Strad Magazine as ‘hugely impressive, he plays with seemingly effortless control’ Irish violinist Darragh Morgan was born in Belfast in 1974. A renowned exponent of contemporary music, Darragh has appeared as a soloist at Aldeburgh Festival, Philips Collection Washington DC, Wiener Konzerthaus, Spitalfields Festival, Osterfestival Tirol and BBC Proms Chamber Music. His numerous concerto appearances with The Ulster Orchestra include the world premiere of ‘Hymn of Dawn’ by Sir John Tavener which he also performed with Istanbul Symphony Orchestra. With National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland he has toured Beethoven Triple Concerto, recorded ‘Elastic Harmonic’ by Donnacha Dennehy for NMC Recordings and he has premiered Brian Irvine’s ‘A Mon Seul Desir’ with RTÉ Concert Orchestra. With London Musici/Rambert Dance Company he has given over 40 performances of ‘Tabula Rasa’ by Arvo Pärt (including in the presence of the composer). He gave the South African premiere of Barber Violin Concerto with the KZN Philhamonic Orchestra. Other concerto appearances have included Kölner Kammerorchester and Cyprus Symphony Orchestra. Iconic collaborations have included with Thomas Adès, Emmanuel Pahud, Darius Brubeck, John Tilbury, Mícheál Ò Súilleabháin and David Holmes.
A passionate chamber musician Darragh is founder member of ‘the virtuosic Fidelio Trio’ (Sunday Times). They were shortlisted for the Royal Philhamonic Society Awards Ensemble Prize and have received Gramophone Magazine Editor’s Choice for their recordings. The trio have appeared at prestigious venues around the globe including Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre, Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room Southbank Centre, Casa da Musica Porto, National Sawdust New York, Morrison Artist Series San Francisco, Princeton Sound Kitchen, Andy Warhol Museum Pittsburgh, National Centre for Performing Arts Mumbai, Beijing Modern Music Festival, National Concert Hall Dublin, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Brighton, Cheltenham and Vale of Glamorgan Festivals. They have collaborated with actor Adrian Dunbar, writer Alexander McCall-Smith and poet Sinead Morrissey.
Darragh was for a number of years violinist with the award winning Smith Quartet, praised by The Guardian as ‘Britain’s answer to the Kronos’. Highlights of his time with The Smiths included appearances with Rokia Traore at Peter Sellars New Crowned Hope Festival at The Barbican, Bang on a Can Marathon New York, two sold out concerts at Seoul Arts Centre, Maerz Musik Berlin, 10 performances of the music of Morton Feldman with pianist John Tilbury at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (shortlisted for an RPS Award), Steve Reich 75th Birthday Concerts, Kevin Volans 60th Birthday at The Wigmore Hall and many acclaimed albums including the first ever complete recording of Philip Glass String Quartets for Signum Classics.
Darragh regularly leads London Sinfonietta including recently at The Esplanade Singapore and Venice Biennale. He has appeared as leader of Ensemble Modern at Lucerne Festival, Sciarrino’s ‘Macbeth’ at Festival d’automne Paris, Klangspuren Schwaz, Tongyeong International Music Festival and at the Alte Opera Frankfurt. He has also appeared with Musik Fabrik in the world premiere of ‘La Passione’ by Louis Andriessen and ‘Shelter’ by Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe and David Lang. Darragh has worked closely with conductors including Oliver Knussen, Pierre Boulez, Francois Xavier Roth, John Eliot Gardiner, Heinz Holliger, En Shao and Paul Daniel. He has appeared as guest leader of Aurora Orchestra, The Philharmonia, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Macau Orchestra, Les Siecles and Athelas Sinfonietta, Remix Ensemble, BCMG and Red Note Ensemble. Darragh has been invited to direct European Union Chamber Orchestra and 2004-2005 was Artistic Director of Baroque 2000, South Africa’s premiere period instrument ensemble.
Special composer associations have included Michael Finnissy’s Violin Sonata and the recording of his complete Violin and Piano repertoire for Metier, commissioning Kevin Volans Piano Trio No 3 ‘Le Tombeau des Regrets’ and recording his first piano trio for NMC, recording Philip Glass Trios for Orange Mountain Music, Chris Newman violin concerto ‘Free Standards’, much music by Joe Cutler including his violin concerto ‘Macedonia’, Gerald Barry’s chamber music recorded for Mode Records, Andrew Poppy’s Violin Concerto with Crash Ensemble, Steve Reich ‘Double Sextet’ Recording with Ekkozone which was awarded a Diapason D’or Award, Michael Nyman complete piano trios for MNR as well as works by Robert Fokkens, Judith Weir, Tansy Davies and Howard Skempton. He has recorded over 50 chamber music and solo albums for NMC, Resonus, Delphian, Signum, Diatribe, Metier, Da Capo, Centaur, Naxos and Col Legno.
Darragh has been a member of the string teaching faculty at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and chamber music faculty at Royal College of Music. He has been invited to give masterclasses at Curtis Institute, Peabody Conservatory, San Francisco Conservatory, Yong Tew Conservatory Singapore, Central Conservatory Beijing and summer faculty at Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme and Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, New Hampshire, USA.
Darragh regularly records for soundtracks at Abbey Road Studios and Air Lyndhurst Studios. Credits include Children of Men, Steve Jobs, Spiderman, Shazam, Edge of Tomorrow, Merlin, Poldark, Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, The Crown and Spice Girls, Deep Purple, Sigur Ros, The Corrs, Paul McCartney, The Hours and Divine Comedy. Darragh studied at Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Detlef Hahn, and often in masterclasses with Yehudi Menuhin, Pinchas Zukerman, Pierre Amoyal, Mauricio Fuks, Paul Zukofsky and the Takacs and Amadeus String Quartets.
Darragh plays an 1848 Giuseppe Rocca violin, generously on loan from the Morgan-Rocca Instrument Trust which is administered by The Royal Society of Musicians and a bow by Joseph Alfred Lamy.
For more information about the Giuseppe Rocca violin:
November 2019 – Not to be edited without prior permission.
© Darragh Morgan
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