Barry Douglas has established a major international career since winning the Gold Medal at the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition, Moscow. As Artistic Director of Camerata Ireland and the Clandeboye Festival, he continues to celebrate his Irish heritage whilst also maintaining a busy international touring schedule.
Barry opened the 17/18 season performing Tchaikovsky with the Halle Orchestra, after which he began new collaborations with both the Endellion String Quartet and the Borodin Quartet. He toured in recital in the UK and USA and performed with orchestras across the globe from Canada to Europe to China to Russia. During the 16/17 season Barry performed two full Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto cycles in Ireland with the RTE Orchestra in Dublin and the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast. He also gave performances of Tchaikovsky’s first Piano Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra, and opened the St. Petersburg Philharmonic’s concert season, all marking the 30th anniversary of his Tchaikovsky International Competition win.
Other recent and future highlights include performances at BBC Proms in the Park with the Ulster Orchestra, a UK tour with the Russian State Symphony Orchestra, and appearances with Orchestre de Auvergne, Barcelona Symphony, Bogota Philharmonic and Vancouver Symphony orchestras. He also recently gave the premiere of Kevin Volans’ fourth piano concerto with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, and performed in recital at the Verbier Festival.
He has previously given concerts with the BBC Scottish Symphony, London Symphony, Russian National, Cincinnati Symphony, Singapore Symphony, Berlin Radio Symphony, Staatskapelle, Halle, Orchestre National de France, Seattle Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Hong Kong Philharmonic orchestras, among others. Barry regularly plays in recitals throughout the world, with recent performances in the UK, the Netherlands, Armenia, Mexico, China and the US.
Barry is an exclusive Chandos recording artist. He recently completed recording the full works for solo piano of Brahms, the six albums of which have received much critical praise. International Record Review wrote that “this is indeed Brahms playing of the utmost integrity and authority… this cycle looks set to become a benchmark version.” The interesting programming of each disc presents each album as a stand-alone recital, providing a varied and engaging listening experience. His current recording project focusses on the solo piano works of Schubert; the fourth and final disc will be released next season. Last season he also began a new series, recording Tchaikovsky solo piano music. Also with Chandos Barry is exploring Irish folk music through his own arrangements, working with ancient melodies through to pieces by contemporary song writers. The first in this series, Celtic Reflections, was released in September 2014 and was followed in 2016 by a second disc: Celtic Airs.
In 1999 Barry Douglas founded the chamber orchestra Camerata Ireland to celebrate and nurture the very best of young musicians from both Northern and the Republic of Ireland. In addition to striving for musical excellence, one of the orchestra’s aims is to further the peace process in Ireland by promoting dialogue and collaboration through its musical education programmes. Barry regularly tours with Camerata Ireland throughout the world and visited the US in the spring of 2018. Highlights of past seasons were Camerata Ireland’s debut at the BBC Proms in London and a world premiere of a new cantata commissioned by The Honourable The Irish Society, “At Sixes and Sevens”, alongside the London Symphony Orchestra to celebrate Derry-Londonderry becoming City of Culture 2013.
Barry Douglas received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2002 New Year’s Honours List for services to music.
About Camerata Ireland
Camerata Ireland brings together fine musicians who live and work in Ireland and Irish musicians who work and live abroad.
Since its formation Camerata Ireland has travelled the world to wide critical acclaim. Tours to North and South America in earlier years have been followed by trips to Italy, Germany (Munich), Poland (Warsaw) and China (Shanghai and Beijing). Notable successes have included the Irish Festival of Arts and Culture in China in 2004, the 2006 International Beethoven Festival in Warsaw, the Smithsonian Festival in the US Library of Congress, the Naantali International Festival in Finland in 2007, the Festival de la Chaise-Dieu in France in 2008 and 2009, their Carnegie Hall debut in 2011, the BBC Proms at Cadogan Hall in summer 2013, and the 40th Anniversary Kilkenny Arts Festival. In May 2011 the orchestra was honoured to be invited to perform for the (former) President of Ireland, Mary McAleese and Her Majesty the Queen, as part of the latter’s historic State visit to Ireland. Highlights of 2015 included a tour to South America taking in Buenos Aires, Rosario, Cordoba, Santiago de Chile and Sao Paulo.and a tour of China, with appearances in Guangzhou, Yichun, Beijing, Wuhan and Shanghai.
Every summer Camerata Ireland returns to its homeland to take part in the annual Clandeboye Festival held in August in the historic Clandeboye Estate. The festival has just celebrated its twelfth anniversary.
Camerata Ireland has recorded the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos and the Triple Concerto. All of Camerata Ireland’s recordings have met with great critical acclaim.
‘There is an extra special quality to Irish string playing which comes from the roots of Irish tradition’ says Barry. ‘I knew that if I could bring the best Irish players together something special would result – and I have not been disappointed’.
Nor should he be. In recognition of the exceptional nature and quality of its work Camerata Ireland was awarded the Joint Patronage of Mary McAleese, President of Ireland and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2004.