THE NATIONAL CONCERT Hall is breaking America. It is holding its first-ever fundraising gala in New York, attended by flautist James Galway.
The black-tie concert and dinner affair is the first step in a bid by the NCH to grow its profile in the US with the hope of raising funds to support its artistic programme, education and outreach work. The Irish-American community is expected to play a big part in the push with Mark Tuohey, chairperson of the AFAI (American Friends of the Arts in Ireland) hosting the event on 1 November.
I am very proud of my ‘Irishness’ and my association with the National Concert Hall… Our wish is to gain support for that work to ensure the NCH remains an important part of the cultural life of Ireland for generations to come as well as forging important links and relationships abroad.
The CEO of the National Concert Hall said that the fundraiser was the first such in the 30-year history of the NCH. Simon Taylor said he hoped the event would be the beginning of closer links with artists, orchestras, artists’ agents and philanthropists in the US.
James Galway’s flautist wife Jeanne will also perform on the night, along with Irish pianist Michael McHale.
The promotion of Irish arts abroad was one issue discussed at last week’s Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin (although this NCH event was in the pipeworks long before that). Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan had said in his speech to the Forum on Saturday that he hoped businesses might step into the gap left in arts funding by current State budgetary cuts.
Dara O Briain, the Irish comedian who hosts Mock the Week and The Apprentice: You’re Fired on UK television, also spoke that day of the need to create a platform for promoting Irish culture across the Irish Sea. There is already such a programme in place to promote Irish arts in the US – the Imagine Ireland campaign as spearheaded by cultural ambassador and actor Gabriel Byrne.