Anna Dennis, Jonas Nordberg & Liam Byrne

Thursday Nov 30th 2023 • 7:30 pm | Edmund Rice Chapel

    Anna Dennis soprano
    Liam Byrne viola da gamba
    Jonas Nordberg lute
Elizabeth Downey Memorial Concert
Anna Dennis, Jonas Nordberg & Liam Byrnei

Travel from the musical landscapes of the Jacobean English drawing room to the sumptuous salons of Venice. Where music, poetry and song intertwine and the warm tones of lute and viola da gamba blend with the enchanting sound of the soprano voice. 

The internationally renowned trio of Anna Dennis (soprano), Jonas Nordberg (lute) and Liam Byrne (viola da gamba) perform together for the first time in Ireland to present a truly intimate and captivating musical experience. 

Recently awarded Best Singer at the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2023 Awards, Anna Dennis is one of the UK’s leading sopranos, especially noted for her work in modern and baroque repertoire. Described by the Times as a “delectable soprano and a serene, ever-sentient presence”, Anna studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and from there has brought extraordinary technique, musicianship and versatility to operatic and concert stages worldwide. Operatic appearances have included Handel’s Theodora at the Göttingen Handel Festspiele, Katie Mitchell’s New Dark Age at the Royal Opera House, Mozart’s Idomeneo at Birmingham Opera Company, Damon Albarn’s Dr Dee at the English National Opera, Gluck’s Paride Ed Elena at Nuremberg Opera house and roles in all three Monteverdi operas during John Eliot Gardiner’s world tour of the trilogy. She recently created the title role of Violet in Tom Coult’s debut opera, premiered at the Aldeburgh festival.

Lutenist Jonas Nordberg, a graduate of the Mozarteum University Salzburg and the Royal College of Music Stockholm, is much in demand as a soloist, chamber musician and guest instrumentalist with large scale ensembles. His concert schedule to date has seen him perform in over 25 countries.

A highly regarded chamber musician, successful duos include with soprano Ruby Hughes, focusing on music from the Elizabethan Era and Italian monody, and with viol player Liam Byrne exploring the music of Marin Marais in addition to contemporary music for theorbo/viol & electronics. He regularly performs with leading ensembles such as Concerto Köln, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Concerto Copenhagen, Orfeo 55, Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble, London Handel Orchestra, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Aurora Orchestra, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and many other period instrument chamber groups. He also works extensively with Swedish chamber ensemble Operabyrån, co-creating chamber operas and semi-staged performances featuring forgotten female composers.

Liam Byrne spends most of his time playing either very old or very new music on the viola da gamba. An obsession with the instrument’s most obscure 16th and 17th-century repertoire is a recurring theme in his work, whether in devising baroque performance installations for the Victoria & Albert Museum, or in collaboration with the Appalachian fiddler Cleek Schrey, or creating new electronic works with Icelandic composer Valgeir Sigurðsson.

Over the years, he has worked closely with a wide variety of exceptional musicians, from Damon Albarn to Emma Kirkby, and is a frequent guest of new music ensembles Stargaze, the London Contemporary Orchestra and Crash Ensemble. With a background in Historical Performance and degrees from Indiana and Oxford Universities, Liam has played and recorded with many of Europe’s leading Early Music ensembles, including the Huelgas Ensemble, Dunedin Consort, The Sixteen, i Fagiolini, and the viol consorts Phantasm, Concordia, and most notably Fretwork, with whom he toured and recorded extensively for several years.

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    Robert Johnson (attrib.), (c. 1583–1633)

    ‘Have you seen but a bright lily grow?

    John Dowland (c. 1563–1626)

    A Fancy (P5)

    Henry Lawes (1596–1662)

    No Reprieve

    Alfonso Ferrabosco II (c. 1575–1628)

    ‘So beauty on the waters stood’

    Louis-Bicolas Clérambault (1676–1749)

    ‘Laissez-vous toucher par mes pleurs’ from Orphée

    Michel Lambert (1610–1696)

    ‘Vos méspris chaque jour’

    Cipriano de Rore (d. 1565)

    'Ancor che col Partire' with diminutions by Riccardo Rognoni (c. 1550­­­–1620)

    David Coonan (b. 1987)


    Henry Purcell (1659–1695)

    ‘O let me weep’ from The Fairy Queen, Z. 629


    John Dowland

    Lachrimae Pavan

    Henry Purcell

    ‘Celia’s fond, too long I’ve lov’d her’, Z. 364

    John Dowland

    A Fancy (P6)

    Henry Purcell

    ‘She loves and she confesses too’, Z. 314

    Michel Lambert

    ‘Ombre de mon amant’

    Nicholas Lanier (1588–1666)

    ‘No more shall meads be deck'd with flowers'

    Anon. (sixteenth century)

    ‘O death rock me asleep’

    John Jenkins (1592–1678)

    Divisions on ‘John come kiss me now’

    Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643)

    ‘Ohimè ch'io cado’, SV 316