In Brisbane on Saturday, Nov 6th the Queensland Pops Orchestra and Choir honoured the work of former IMRO Chairman and founder member, Brendan Graham. The QPO included six of Graham’s works, including two world premieres, in its annual Celtic Spectacular Concerts at the 1,600-seater, Queensland Performing Arts Centre.
Under the direction of Patrick Pickett the QPO with soloists Sarah Calderwood and Gregory Moore performed the Irish songwriter’s works including Orphan Girl – Graham’s tribute to the Irish Orphan Girls shipped to Australia under the Earl Grey scheme during Ireland’s Great Famine.
The Fair, Fair Land – Graham’s anthem for RTÉ’s BIG MUSIC WEEK, based on the traditional melody Mor Chluana (1852) attributed to Scottish piper, Lewis O’Brien – an ancestor of the songwriter’s wife Mary O’Brien – was also performed, in an arrangement by RTECO’s, Joe Csibi.
The Sky and the Dawn and the Sun (Graham/Downes) and You Raise Me Up (Graham Lovland) also featured in Saturday’s Spectacular.
Word Premiere Performances
The Watchman (Graham/Quinn) the single from Eimear Quinn’s ERIÙ album with the RTÉCO, and arranged by Gavin Murphy, received its World Premiere Live Performance, while Alana’s Waltz – an instrumental piece written by Graham for his daughter, also received its World Premiere in a specially commissioned arrangement by Australian, Graham Lloyd.
The Irish songwriter’s work continues to reverberate around the world, with You Raise Me Up part of September 11 commemorations as in the documentary from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir ‘’9/11 – Coming Together 20th Anniversary Special’’ and the streamed USA/Canadian, International Association of Fire Fighters – Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Service.
Last month at New York’s 11th Annual Tibetan Fund Gala Dinner, co-chaired by Richard Gere, Kenbem/You Raise Me Up was performed by Haitian/American singer and actor, Malou Beauvoir, in a bilingual version of her native Creole…and English.
You Raise Me Up was also recently performed by opera star Youngmi Kim, with the Goyang Philharmonic Orchestra in the UN General Assembly Hall, to mark United Nations Day, 2021.