(24 May 13) The début Cappa Ensemble album of piano quartets has just received a 5-star review from MIchael Dervan in the Irish Times [read full review here]
(9 May 13) Click here to pre-order Cappa Ensemble's début release on Nimbus Alliance of piano quartets by Bridge, Bax, Wilson and Walton, which was recorded last year at the CIT Cork School of Music
(15 Apr 13) Michael's US concerto début with Courtney Lewis and Discovery Ensemble was a great success. The concert was reviewed by the Boston Musical Intelligencer:
"…McHale gave a masterful reading of the work, evincing a natural rapport with Lewis and bringing out the quiet, steady beauty of the piece. I have never seen a better coordination between soloist and conductor, their timing exquisitely perfect throughout…" [read full review]
(19 Mar 13) The new Chandos album of British Clarinet Sonatas with Michael Collins was recently reviewed by Colin Anderson in International Record Review:
"All the music here is worth hearing, the Cooke and Gregson standing out for me. These matchless performances, with Michael McHale every bit Michael Collins' equal, are beautifully recorded and presented. Enjoy!”
(24 Feb 13) 'The Irish Piano' has received a glowing review from Jed Distler in Gramophone Magazine:
"…all of the music comes to life through the singing sensibility of McHale's sensitive and polished pianism, captured in a warmly ambient recording. In short, it's easy to recommend such a highly distinct and imaginatively presented release…" [full review]
(14 Feb 13) Click here to pre-order Volume 2 of Michael's recording of British Clarinet Sonatas with Michael Collins for the Chandos label, which will be released shortly
(6 Jan 13) Click here to read Steve Arloff's review of 'The Irish Piano' for MusicWeb:
"…This is a disc of disarmingly charming and beguiling music… [McHale] is a skilful arranger as well as a pianist imbued with a thoughtful approach and an ability to reveal every nuance in these brilliant little gems… You can tell I love this disc and I do. It is a disc that will have you return to it frequently [and] it will not fail to put a smile on your face…" [buy disc on Amazon]
(1 Jan 13) Visit the Schedule page for details of Michael's upcoming concerts in 2013. 'The Irish Piano' will be featured on France Musique's 'Leur Premier CD' on Sunday 6th January, and will be available to listen again for one month. A very happy New Year!
(21 Dec 12) 'The Irish Piano' received a 4-star review in BBC Music Magazine:
"…This attractive album of music with an Irish connection combines gentle lyricism and folksy charm, played with understated sensitivity…" **** [read review]
(28 Nov 12) Three recent interviews with Michael are now available online: Pianists from the Inside with Malan Wilkinson; Contemporary Music Centre with Jonathan Grimes and Culture NI with Terry Blain
(21 Nov 12) Norman Lebrecht has selected "The Irish Piano" as his CD of the Week:
"…'The Irish Piano' is a scintillating and sometimes whimsical recital that takes John Field as its starting point and spreads out across the whole of the island's music… McHale strikes just the right tone of contemplative wonderment and mischievous mythology… Fascinating from start to stop…" [read full review] [buy disc on Amazon]
(18 Nov 12) Another review of "The Irish Piano" in The Sunday Times:
"…McHale, who penned his own programme notes and includes his own tasteful arrangements of folk songs, is engaging and colourful throughout…" [read review]
(2 Nov 12) "The Irish Piano" received a 4-star review in the Irish Times:
"…McHale… gives attractively-shaped performances of these mostly light, well-turned pieces, with the almost Satie-esque moments in Arnold Bax's Nocturne providing the greatest surprise…" [read review] [buy disc on Amazon]
(22 Oct 12) Click here to read a review of Michael's recent performance with JoAnn Falletta and the Ulster Orchestra:
"…This immaculately thought-through interpretation of the Gershwin concerto, tonally alluring and exquisitely attentive to the music's shifting emotional temperatures, shows that McHale is more than ready for the broader challenges of the international piano circuit…"
(16 Oct 12) Tune in to BBC Radio 3 on Wednesday 24th October at 1pm BST to hear Michael's performances of Fauré's Elegie and Dolly Suite from this summer's Clandeboye Festival, with cellist Andres Diaz and pianist David Quigley
(3 Sep 12) Tune in to RTÉ lyric fm on Monday 10th September at 7pm BST to hear Michael's in-depth interview with Aedin Gormley on My Tunes and hear his chosen selection of favourite music [click here to listen again after the broadcast]
(30 Jul 12) Michael's solo recital in Buenos Aires received a great review from Pablo Bardin of the Buenos Aires Herald:
"…Irish pianist Michael McHale gave a lovely recital at the Museo Fernández Blanco; he played (as last year) at the Ushuaia Festival. After sensitive versions of Schubert´s op.90 Impromptus, a first-rate account of Liszt´s “Funérailles”. A beautiful Barber “Nocturne”. Finally, charming Irish pieces in accomplished interpretations…" [read review]
(25 Jun 12) Details of Michael's début concerts with the Minnesota Orchestra in Minneapolis this November are now available online - click here for more information
(20 Jun 12) Michael will record three new albums this summer: his début solo disc, "The Irish Piano" for the RTE lyric fm label, a first CD with the Cappa Ensemble and a third recording for Chandos with Michael Collins. Click here to read BBC Music Magazine's five-star review of their previous collaboration, British Clarinet Sonatas, Vol.1:
"…[McHale] finds a range of keyboard colours in, above all, the works by Ireland and Howells, making their individual sound-worlds seem unexpectedly subtle and rich…"
(12 May 12) Irish Times critic Michael Dungan on the 2012 Music in Drumcliffe festival:
"…Another young player championing music outside the standard repertoire – all of it Irish – was Belfast pianist Michael McHale. On either side of probably John Field’s best-known nocturne (No 4 in A) he gave a jaunty account of The Beardless Boy – from Philip Hammond’s 2011 Miniatures and Modulations – and then something really out there: Roslyn Castle, by William Vincent Wallace. Did it belong here? Maybe, maybe not. Did it provide colour, contrast, fun and pleasure? Oh yes.
In all, McHale had a great festival, both here and in large-scale works, such as the Elgar Piano Quintet with the Vogler [Quartet], and the Rachmaninov Cello Sonata, in which he sensitively partnered the similarly young Irish cellist Brian O’Kane…" [full review]
(17 Apr 12) Michael enjoyed another successful tour in Argentina this year - special thanks to Jorge Uliarte and everyone at the Festival de Ushuaia, and the Irish Embassy in Buenos Aires for their support! Click here to watch a video of Michael's solo recital
(4 Apr 12) Michael will record his début solo album in Dublin, 16-18 July this year for RTE lyric fm. Some of the repertoire for the disc will be previewed in recitals in Argentina (13,15 April) and at the Vogler Quartet's Music in Drumcliffe Festival, Co. Sligo (5-7 May)
(17 Mar 12) Happy Saint Patrick's Day everyone! Click here to read a recent review by Andrew Clements in the Guardian of Michael's second clarinet and piano disc with Michael Collins on Chandos:
"…Collins and pianist Michael McHale certainly make the best possible cases for all five [works], fluently allowing the melodic lines to follow their natural curves, and never pressing or asserting themselves too much…"
(24 Feb 12) In April Michael will return to Argentina for three concerts, including Beethoven Concerto No.5 with Jorge Uliarte / Teatro Colon Orchestra at the Ushuaia International Festival. Visit the Schedule Page for more details
(6 Feb 12) Click here to pre-order your copy of Michael's second disc for Chandos with clarinettist Michael Collins, featuring sonatas by Bax, Stanford, Ireland and Howells. The disc will also be available on Amazon and the iTunes Store from February 27th
(24 Jan 12) Tune in to BBC Radio 3 at 5pm tomorrow to hear Michael perform Finzi and Bliss with Michael Collins live in the In Tune studio
(1 Jan 12) Happy New Year! Lots of exciting projects to look forward to in 2012, including a concerto début with the Minnesota Orchestra and a first solo CD release (on the RTE lyric fm label) - more details to follow...
(22 Dec 11) A very happy Christmas to everyone - tune in to BBC Radio Ulster at 12 noon on Christmas Day to hear Michael celebrate the festive season with Sean Rafferty, Sir James Galway and friends. Every best wish for 2012!
(16 Dec 11) Click here to read a recent review from the Irish Times:
"…Michael McHale took to the role with great integrity…playing with an intense controlled passion, leading from the front, and exercising a wide range of expression…"
(21 Oct 11) Tune in to RTE Lyric fm's 'In Tempo' today from 10am: Michael talks to Paul Herriott about his upcoming solo recital at the Belfast Festival at Queen's and performs live in studio. Also in the programme will be another opportunity to hear Michael's performance of Rachmaninov's First Concerto with Matthew Wood / RTE NSO [listen again here until Thursday 27th November: click 'Friday' from 'Shows from past week'
(5 Oct 11) The upcoming CD release of Piano Music by Philip Hammond on Lorelt has received a glowing review from Terry Blain on the Culture NI website:
"…McHale is given some of Hammond's most poetic pages, floating the undulating phrases of the brief Epithalamion elegantly across invisible bar-lines, and caressing the ascending chordal pattern which recurs throughout '…This hour of quiet…' with great poise and tonal beauty…" [read full review]
(25 Sep 11) You can now follow Michael on Twitter - click here to view profile and sign up to follow Michael's updates or to send a message to @michaelcmchale
(3 Sep 11) An award-winning documentary, Book Smugglers, which features Michael's performance of Siobhán Cleary's Chaconne as its sound track, will be broadcast on BBC2 NI at 9pm on Sunday 4th September. Click here for more information
(1 Sep 11) RTE lyric fm will broadcast Michael's performance of Rachmaninov Concerto No.1 with Matthew Wood / RTE NSO at 8pm, Friday 2nd September. You can listen live or listen again - click here for details
(23 Aug 11) Michael's acclaimed recording of Arvo Pärt's 'Hymn to a Great City' will be featured during a special collaboration between Snøhetta architects and the legendary Estonian composer in New York City, 15-18 and 22-25 September 2011. [more details]
(11 Aug 11) Click here to read a short interview with Michael, previewing his upcoming performances of Rachmaninov Concerto No.2 with the Ulster Youth Orchestra next week
(6 Aug 11) Click here to watch a video clip of Michael's performance in Dublin's Sugar Club earlier this year, as part of the annual love:live music celebrations across Ireland
(10 Jun 11) Michael will perform Rachmaninov Concerto No.1 at the Orvieto Classica Festival in Italy with Jorge Uliarte and the Moscow Symphony Orchestra on 11th July. Then in August he performs Rachmaninov Concerto No.2 with Garry Walker and the Ulster Youth Orchestra in the Guildhall, Derry and Ulster Hall, Belfast [more details]
(19 May 11) Michael's recent concert tour of Argentina was a fantastic success - special thanks to Jorge Uliarte and the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, and to Culture Ireland and the Irish Embassy for their support!
“…The pianist thrilled with his musicality and artistry, and shone alongside the Moscow Symphony in a performance that delighted the audience…” El Diario del Fin del Mundo, April 2011 [read review]
(18 Mar 11) 'The Lyrical Clarinet' receives a 5* review in BBC Music Magazine:
"…It is hard to imagine this varied programme better played than it is here by Michael Collins and Michael McHale. They are technically impeccable and stylistically flexible, and, aided by an unobtrusively excellent recording, they both produce some beautiful pianissimo playing…" [read full review]
(12 Mar 11) Thanks to everyone who came along to Michael's recent performance of Rachmaninov No.1 in Dublin with RTE NSO / Matthew Wood - it was a great evening! The performance was reviewed by the Irish Times:
"…He always sounded well under pressure, kept even the busiest of figuration in the background when the main interest lay elsewhere, and positively relished the opportunities to show off his flying octaves…"
(14 Jan 11) Click here to pre-order your copy of The Lyrical Clarinet (Chandos), on which Michael collaborates with Michael Collins in a selection of clarinet and piano favourites. The disc was selected as 'CD of the Week' on Classic FM (UK) and CKUA Radio(Canada). For more recordings featuring MIchael's playing visit Amazon or iTunes Store
(12 Jan 11) Check the Schedule page for new concert dates January-April; highlights include Rachmaninov Concerto No.1 with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra / Roberto Minczuk in Dublin, a South American recital début at the Ushuaia International Festival in Argentina (with funding from Culture Ireland) and a concerto début with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra / Jorge Uliarte
(22 Dec 10) Listen to Michael's Christmas broadcast with SIr James Galway on Swiss Radio DRS1 at 9pm GMT on 24th December, and 7pm GMT on 25th December. Merry Christmas!
(3 Dec 10) Michael's recital with clarinettist Michael Collins in Glasgow City Halls will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 at 1pm on Wednesday 15th December (available to listen again on BBC iPlayer for 7 days after broadcast)
(21 Nov 10) The Ensemble Avalon Winter Chamber Festival takes place in Wexford from 3-5 December, with special guests Patricia Rozario (soprano) and Michael d'Arcy (violin). Click here to listen to a trailer for the festival - more information at ensembleavalon.net
(27 Oct 10) Louth Contemporary Music Society's second CD, Path, is due for release next week and features Michael's premiere recording of John Tavener's 'Epistle of Love' with soprano Patricia Rozario [click here for reviews and to buy disc]
(17 Oct 10 ) Michael's recent performance with the SSO drew the following praise from the Belfast Newsletter:
"Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 1 followed, with Michael McHale as soloist… a young man with a strong following among music lovers here. The wonderfully lush sound he produces is never strident or forced, and both sides of the equation, orchestra and soloist, found full expression in a fluid and flexible performance…"
(15 Aug 10) Details of Michael's upcoming concerts this autumn can be found on the Schedule page - highlights include Mozart Concerto K.488 with the Hallé Orchestra, a solo recital in Manchester's Bridgewater Hall, duo recitals with clarinettist Michael Collins (including a BBC Radio 3 broadcast) and a tour of Ireland with the Cappa Ensemble
(28 May 10) Visit the Watch&Listen page for some new audio and video clips
(9 Mar 10) Tickets for Michael's Wigmore Hall début recital are now on sale through the Hall's weblsite: click here for details
(19 Feb 10) For some recent interviews with Michael, click the following links:
(8 Jan 10) Michael's recital in Aberdeen last year with clarinettist Michael Collins will be broadcast on Thursday 21st January at 1pm on BBC Radio 3 and BBC iPlayer as part of Radio 3's Beethoven and Brahms series [read review]
(17 Dec 09) Details of Michael's concert diary 2010 are now available on the Schedule page - highlights include a solo tour of Northern Ireland and a début recital in WIgmore Hall, concerto appearances including a lunchtime concert with Carlos Kalmar / UO and chamber music performances in Ireland, UK and Italy
(30 Nov 09) Some recent concert reviews include the following praise of Michael's performance of Mozart Concerto no.9 with the Hallé in the Manchester Evening News:
"…McHale can combine dramatic flair with faultless stylistic skill (as in the first movement cadenza), probe the depths of the writing (as in the slow movement), and mix fluency, bravura and suddenly surreal nostalgia - as in the finale. He's a player with a lot to give…"
(11 Nov 09) Michael has been chosen as one of the Hallé's "Ten2Watch" artists for this season - click here to read more
(10 Nov 09) Michael will be interviewed and will perform live in the studio on BBC Radio 3's "In Tune" programme at approximately 5:15pm on Thursday 12th November - it will be available for a week afterwards on the Radio 3 website and BBC iPlayer
(30 Oct 09) Michael's performance of Franck's Symphonic Variations with Pascal Rophé / UO will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3's 'Afternoon Performance' at approx 2.30-3pm on Tuesday 3rd November - it will be available for a week afterwards on the Radio 3 website and BBC iPlayer
(21 Sep 09) Michael will play a 20 minute set in the new London Limelight classical night at the 100 Club, Oxford St on 13th October. click here for information
(3 Sep 09) Michael’s autumn season includes a series of concerts with the renowned clarinettist Michael Collins, concerto performances with the Hallé, RTE Concert Orchestra, London Mozart Players and various other solo and chamber engagements – check the schedule page for full details
(25 Aug 09) Further CD reviews include BBC Music Magazine: "...In a Landscape is given a sensitive reading by Michael McHale..." and International Record Review: "...In both the opening ‘Lento’ and closing ‘Lento-largo’, McHale (on piano) and flautist Vourneen Ryan successfully capitalize on the sparseness of the writing to create an atmosphere of awe and mystery... " A Place Between is now available on iTunes
(16 Jun 09) A Place Between was recently reviewed in the Sunday Business Post: "...Pärt's Hymn to a Great City... knocked me back through the purity of sound achieved... This young award-winning Belfast pianist has an intuitive feel for music, and can cross musical boundaries effortlessly..." Click here for full review
(1 May 09) The inaugural LCMS album, A Place Between, which features Michael playing solo and chamber works by composers including Cage, Pärt and Gorecki, is now available – click here for more information, to listen to audio clips and to order a copy of the disc
(29 Apr 09) Michael’s recordings of four new works by Irish composers David Byers, Siobhan Cleary, Jennifer Walshe and Bill Whelan will be broadcast by RTE lyric fm on Friday 15th May at approx 9.45pm
(15 Apr 09) The première performance of David Walter Hall’s Cross Road Blues with Michael’s newly commissioned score for choir and six-piece ensemble will take place at London’s Hackney Empire on 16th July as part of the Spice Festival. Click here for more details and to watch a trailer for the show
(10 Mar 09) Michael's performance at the gala re-opening of the Ulster Hall on Friday night was a great success - the refurbished venue has lost none of its charm. The concert was reviewed in the Guardian and Irish Times
(1 Mar 09) **** Terence Judd/Hallé Award 2009 ****
Michael was delighted to be chosen as the winner of the 2009 Terence Judd/Hallé Award at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. Previous winners of this prestigious competition include Nikolai Lugansky and Stephen Hough.
(17 Feb 09) Michael will be giving four performances of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue this season – for more details see the schedule page
(30 Jan 09) Click here to read Ensemble Avalon’s recent concert review in the Sunday Business Post. Their debut CD of Piano Trios was chosen as ‘selection of the month’ in The Strad. For a pdf of the feature, click here
(18 Dec 08) On February 28th, Michael will give a lunchtime recital in Bridgewater Hall, Manchester as part of the Piano 2009 festival. The programme will include solo works by Liszt and Rachmaninov along with Mozart’s Quintet for Piano and Winds with members of the Hallé Orchestra
(2 Dec 08) Michael will perform Rachmaninov’s Paganini Rhapsody with Kenneth Montgomery and the Ulster Orchestra at the re-opening concert of the Ulster Hall, Belfast on Friday 6th March 2009. The concert will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Monday 9th March. Click here for more information
(5 Oct 08) Click here to read Michael’s interview with Peter Geoghegan on the Culture NI website. Michael was also the subject of a feature in Fortnight magazine (September 2008 issue) click here to download pdf
(15 Nov 08) At BBC Radio 3’s ‘Pianothon’ in Belfast last month, Michael performed a number of short works, and also gave a short masterclass to the very promising young Irish pianist, Sean Rooney. Click here to hear Michael’s performance
(16 Aug 08) Having just completed a most enjoyable two weeks with the Ulster Youth Orchestra and conductor Takuo Yuasa, Michael was delighted to receive glowing reviews in the Irish and German press for his performances of Rachmaninov's Paganini Rhapsody. Visit the Press page for further details.
(8 Aug 08) Ensemble Avalon’s début CD featuring piano trios by Bax, Bernstein and Beethoven will be available to buy from September 19th. For more details and to pre-order a copy of the disc, click here
(23 April 08) Michael has some exciting concerts to look forward to at this year's Clandeboye Festival (17-23 August – see www.camerata-ireland.com for more details). Highlights include Schubert's Fantasie for four hands with Barry Douglas, Vaughan Williams' Piano Quintet with Richard Watkins (horn) and Michael Collins (clarinet), Saint-Saëns' Carnival des Animaux with Camerata Ireland and David Quigley (piano) as well as the première of 'Midnight Shadows' for solo piano, written for Michael by Belfast composer Philip Hammond
(16 Feb 08) In concerts of Arvo Pärt’s music for the Louth Contemporary Music Society this month, Michael impressed both the composer and the audiences with interpretations of some of Pärt’s best-loved and most moving compositions for solo piano and violin-piano duo (with Ioana Petcu-Colan, violin). Visit www.louthcms.org for further details
(4 Feb 08) Michael’s recent début recital in the National Concert Hall, Dublin was a great success, with a tremendous audience turn-out and enthusiastic reception which was matched by the Irish Times review – thanks for everyone’s support!
(29 Jan 08) Some new concert dates confirmed for this summer:
June 12: Solo recital in Leighton House, London
July 1: Début concerto performance with the RTE NSO in the National Concert Hall, Dublin performing Franck’s Symphonic Variations
July 13, 15: Chichester and King’s Lynn Festivals with Sir James Galway
July 23: Lunchtime piano trio recital, Rosemary St Church, Belfast
July 23: Fauré piano trio with Ensemble Avalon in National Concert Hall, Dublin
August: Concert tour with Takuo Yuasa and the Ulster Youth Orchestra performing Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini including dates in Derry (7), Belfast (8), Berlin (12) and Kassel (14)
Check Michael's schedule for further updates…