The West Ocean String Quartet (WOSQ) marked its twentieth anniversary in 2020 with an innovative recording project which celebrated the traditional music of Ireland’s Atlantic coast, echoing the quartet’s title. The material was curated from the broad musical spectrum of this region, specially arranged for the recording by the quartet’s cellist Neil Martin who is ideally placed to arrange and compose music suited to the diverse musical backgrounds of his WOSQ colleagues.

Since it took its first tentative steps in 1999, WOSQ has received world-wide acclaim. Its founding members, Séamus McGuire (violin) and Neil Martin (cello) were later joined by Niamh Crowley (violin) and Ken Rice (viola).

Neil Martin, from Belfast, is an internationally-acclaimed composer, a classically trained cellist and an accomplished uilleann piper who learned his piping from his mentor and friend, Liam O’Flynn.

Niamh Crowley, from Rosses Point, Co Sligo is a violinist who performs with Barry Douglas as a member of Camerata Ireland and tours with the orchestra in North and South America, China and Europe.

Ken Rice from Tralee, the quartet’s violist, has broad musical experience which evolved from his immersion in many musical genres including classical, pop, jazz, baroque and Irish music. A violinist with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, he has played with the Nuevo Tango Quartet and the psychedelic pop band, Engine Alley.

Séamus McGuire, a traditional fiddle-player is unable to perform with us but is replaced by the wonderful Dublin fiddler Aoife Ni Bhriain.

Within the quartet, the worlds of traditional and classical music meet and combine effortlessly. At the quartet’s core is its happy disregard for musical boundaries and its willingness to fearlessly navigate the space between traditional Irish music and classical music. This has been central to the emergence of the quartet’s highly distinctive voice.

Brought to you by Clare Arts Office with the support of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Media and Sport through the Live Local Performance Scheme.

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