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Apollo's Fire Makes Ireland Debut

20 June 2018

Ireland Debut for Apollos Fire

The Ulster-Scots Agency is delighted to sponsor one of the USA’s most dynamic period-instrument ensembles Apollo’s Fire as they make their Ireland debut this summer. Led by founding Artistic Director and harpsichordist Jeannette Sorrell, the ensemble will present its popular crossover program titled “Sugarloaf Mountain:  An Appalachian Gathering.”  The program explores the Scotch-Irish roots of American music from the Appalachian Mountains – a region in the Eastern U.S. that was settled primarily by Scotch-Irish immigrants.

Sugarloaf Mountain takes its title from the mountain of that name that exists on both sides of the Atlantic – in Scotland, Ireland, and in Maryland near the Appalachian trail.  Creator/director Jeannette Sorrell and her colleagues traverse the joys and sorrows of daily life among the early settlers in Appalachia – following the journeys of the impoverished Irish and Scottish immigrants who crossed the Atlantic and settled in the mountains to build new lives.  At the same time, the program explores the evolution of Appalachian music, from its Scotch-Irish roots to its later Southern American and African-American influences.  Passing through love and loss, dancing and prayer, the music overflows in celebration as the people of the mountains raise their voices.  

Taking their name from the ancient Greek god of music and healing, Apollo’s Fire is based in Cleveland, Ohio, and is the USA’s busiest touring baroque orchestra.  The ensemble has performed sold-out concerts at the BBC Proms in London (2015), the Royal Theatre of Madrid (2011), the Grand Theatre de l’Opéra of Bordeaux, FR (2011), London’s Wigmore Hall (2010), and leading venues in North America such as Carnegie Hall, the Tanglewood and Aspen music festivals, the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Boston Early Music Festival, and venues from Washington to San Francisco. The ensemble’s Carnegie Hall debut sold out seven months in advance, on the day that tickets went on sale.

Jeanette Sorrell said, “The rich repertoire of renaissance English and Scottish ballads took on its own life in Appalachia during the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. As the old songs came across the water, they evolved into different versions reflecting the Appalachian psyche and experience.  Likewise, the lively fiddle tunes of the British Isles appear in Appalachian sources in differing versions. And then, these people encountered the African slaves and their spirituals.  I think at that point, when the British Isles music met the influence of the spirituals, that’s when Appalachian music came fully into its own as a unique and distinctive repertoire.

We are delighted to bring this program to Ireland and the UK, where the music is rooted.  I think British and Irish audiences will be fascinated to hear how their traditional music has evolved in new ways after crossing the pond.”

Apollo’s Fire has 26 commercial CD albums, of which 7 have been Top-10 bestsellers on the Billboard Classical Chart. This includes their album “Sugarloaf Mountain” (program for the Ireland tour), which debuted in 2015 at no. 5 on the Billboard Classical charts.

Irish Tour dates and venues:

Tuesday 14th August: National Concert Hall, Dublin 

Tel: 00353 1 417 0077

Wednesday 15th August: Belfast Castle (Invitation only)

Friday 17th August: Millennium Forum, Londonderry 

Tel: 028 7126 4455

Saturday 18th August: Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena

Tel: 028 2563 5077  

Sunday 19th August: National Opera House, Wexford

Tel: 00353 53 912 2144

For information on concert times and booking please contact venues directly.

Ulster-Scots Agency Tel: 028 9023 1113 or email: