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Biography 575 words

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Barry Douglas has established a major international career since winning the Gold Medal at the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition, Moscow. As Artistic Director of Camerata Ireland and the Clandeboye Festival, he continues to celebrate his Irish heritage whilst also maintaining a busy international touring schedule. Barry is an exclusive Chandos recording artist and is currently undertaking a monumental project to record the complete works for solo piano of both Brahms and Schubert. Having developed a wealth of musical experience in his 35 year career, Barry now feels the time is right to undertake this colossal project. The second volume of Brahms Works for Solo Piano was released to critical acclaim in March 2013. International Record Review wrote that “this is indeed Brahms playing of the utmost integrity and authority... this cycle looks set to become a benchmark version.” The interesting programming of each disc, which has already garnered much critical praise, presents each album as a stand-alone recital, providing a varied and engaging listening experience.  March 2014 will also see the release of his first recording of Schubert solo piano works. Highlights of this season include returns to the London Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Moscow

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Barry Douglas has established a major international career since winning the Gold Medal at the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition, Moscow. As Artistic Director of Camerata Ireland and the Clandeboye Festival, he continues to celebrate his Irish heritage whilst also maintaining a busy international touring schedule.

Barry is an exclusive Chandos recording artist and is currently undertaking a monumental project to record the complete works for solo piano of both Brahms and Schubert. Having developed a wealth of musical experience in his 35 year career, Barry now feels the time is right to undertake this colossal project. The second volume of Brahms Works for Solo Piano was released to critical acclaim in March 2013. International Record Review wrote that “this is indeed Brahms playing of the utmost integrity and authority... this cycle looks set to become a benchmark version.” The interesting programming of each disc, which has already garnered much critical praise, presents each album as a stand-alone recital, providing a varied and engaging listening experience.  March 2014 will also see the release of his first recording of Schubert solo piano works.

Highlights of this season include returns to the London Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Tonkünstler Orchestra both in Vienna and on tour in the UK, and the Macau Orchestra.  He has previously given concerts with the London Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Russian National, Cincinnati Symphony, Singapore Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Hallé, Berlin Radio Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Czech National Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Brussels Philharmonic, Shanghai Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, and Helsinki Philharmonic orchestras, among others. Barry regularly plays in recital throughout the world, with upcoming performances in Switzerland, France, Mexico, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, the USA, and the UK, including a series of lunchtime recitals at LSO St Luke’s. He also performs the Penderecki Sextet at the 2013 Krzysztof Penderecki Festival in honour of the composer’s 80th birthday.

Barry Douglas founded the chamber orchestra Camerata Ireland in 1999 to celebrate and nurture the very best of young musicians from both Northern and the Republic of Ireland. In addition to striving for musical excellence, one of the orchestra’s aims is to further the peace process in Ireland by promoting dialogue and collaboration through its musical education programmes. Barry regularly tours with Camerata Ireland throughout the world and has plans to visit Mexico and China with the orchestra in the 2013-2014 season.  They have also toured regularly in North and South America and throughout Europe. Highlights of the past season were Camerata Ireland’s debut at the BBC Proms in London and a world premiere of a new cantata commissioned by The Honourable The Irish Society, “At Sixes and Sevens”, alongside the London Symphony Orchestra to celebrate Derry-Londonderry becoming City of Culture 2013.

Barry’s reputation as a conductor has grown since forming Camerata Ireland, this season seeing him direct the RTÉ National Symphony and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras. In recent seasons, he has made successful debuts with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Indianapolis Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of the Romanian National Radio Orchestra at the Enescu Festival, Bangkok Symphony, I Pomeriggi di Milano, Moscow Philharmonic, and the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Moscow.

Barry Douglas received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2002 New Year’s Honours List for services to music.

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Photos

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Reviews

"Douglas is a born Brahmsian."

Belfast Telegraph by Terry Blain

"...Douglas’s dynamism and steely finger-energy propelling the music onward to a thrilling, triumphant conclusion."

Culture Northenireland.com by Terry Blain

"Douglas... appeared completely relaxed at the keyboard and was well on top of the pyrotechnics - rapid octaves and glittering passagework were dispatched with ease. I was struck by the lightness of Douglas' playing which was crystalline and delicate but without being precious. He characterised Strauss' gambolling capers and high jinks brilliantly - the playing was at turns roughish, witty, coy and coquettish while the difficult runs seemed to scamper along."

Seen and Heard by Robert Beattie

"Douglas superbly draws out the contrasts within each piece, bringing out their individual character... his tone is a deep velvet cushion, the legatos full of affection and the rhythms galvanised with great energy."

BBC Music Magazine by Jessica Duchen

"Douglas delivered a storming performance of Brahms's F minor Sonata Op 5, the highlight of the evening. This bold early masterpiece plays to Douglas's pianistic strengths: his big keyboard sound, the weight of his tone and his general press-on approach. The first movement was tremendously effective and the Scherzo rippled with authentic Brahmsian muscularity, embodying Claudio Arrau's advice that Brahms must be played from the shoulders, not the fingers. But the contrasts were sharply drawn, and Douglas's scrupulous use of the pedal never allowed the sonata's dreamier pages to disappear into sonic mists."

The Guardian by Martin Kettle

"...Douglas’s dynamism and steely finger-energy propelling the music onward to a thrilling, triumphant conclusion."

Culture Northenireland.com by Terry Blain

"[Penderecki's Piano Concerto is] a feast of contrasting moods, and huge orchestral moments underpinned by a persistent rhythmic invention that sustains dramatic interest over its 37-minute length. It’s the kind of work that would make a huge impact in a live concert performance. Pianist Barry Douglas gives an electrifying performance and the reliable Antoni Wit draws an energetic performance from the Warsaw Philharmonic."

Audiophile Audition by Robert Moon

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Discography