Keeping it in the Family: Finghin and Dearbhla Collins to Play Piano Duets in Portaferry

THANKS to sponsorship from the Arts Council for Northern Ireland and from Ards Borough Council, Finghin and Dearbhla Collins will delight audiences in Portaferry Presbyterian Church on Saturday 21 Sept at 7.30pm when they take to the stage to perform the piano music of Haydn, Chopin, Debussy and the Schubert duet “Fantasie in F Minor”.

The pair were born in Dublin, and Finghin has gone on to have an international career as a solo pianist whilst Dearbhla has become famous in her own right as a recitalist, accompanist, vocal coach and music administrator.  Finghin studied with John O’Conor at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and with Dominique Merlet at the Geneva Conservatoire. He established his international reputation by winning the 1999 Clara Haskil International Piano Competition. Since then he has performed with leading orchestras all over the world from Chicago to Seoul and Hong Kong.

He has been Associate Artist of the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the New Ross Piano Festival and of ‘Music for Galway’, a member of the Board of Directors of the Dublin International Piano Competition and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Concert Hall, Dublin. His new CD of Mozart piano concertos, directed from the keyboard with the RTÉ NSO, was released in May 2013 to huge critical acclaim whilst his recordings of Schumann’s solo piano music for Claves Records and his recordings of works by Stanford, again with the RTÉ NSO, were both Editor’s Choice in theGramophone magazine.

Dearbhla is regarded as one of Ireland’s finest and most versatile musicians being respected equally as recitalist, accompanist, vocal coach and music administrator.  She is the vocal coach at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin, where she also teaches piano.  Dearbhla has performed from Beijing to Los Angeles and will return to America in 2014 for a tour with mezzo soprano Tara Erraught.  She is Artistic Administrator to the prestigious triennial Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition in Dublin, a member of the Board of the National Concert Hall, Dublin and a board member of Feis Ceoil, having previously served two terms as a Director of Culture Ireland.

The siblings often team up for four hand recitals and two piano performances and the friends of Portaferry Presbyterian Church are particularly pleased that Dearbhla will travel north with her brother to perform Schubert’s wonderful Fantasie in F Minor duet.

The friends of Portaferry Presbyterian Church have recently secured the funding for a £1.5m restoration of the building and work is due to begin in 2014.  This, therefore, will be the last professional concert in the Portaferry Proms series for 18 months.  Ian McDonnell, Chair of fPPC, said: “Whilst we are sad that this will be our last professional concert for some time, we are thrilled and very excited about the restoration of this building.  When the work is completed it will be not only a centre to celebrate the heritage of the Upper Ards, and of church music, but will also be significantly upgraded for concert performances providing the whole of the Ards, Lecale and, indeed, further afield, with a stunning venue for a greatly extended range of concerts and other events.”

Tickets are available on-line at or from Ann Wilson on 028-4272-8377 or 077-9294-9386