Michael Collins’ dazzling virtuosity and sensitive musicianship have earned him recognition as one of today’s most distinguished artists and a leading exponent of his instrument. We bring him to the stage with pianist, Michael McHale. McHale has developed an international career as a solo recitalist, concert pianist, and chamber musician and released his debut solo album “The Irish Piano” in 2012. We are honored to have Collins and McHale debuting together in the new Concert Hall at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts.

Michael Collins

CollinsClarinetMichael Collins is in great demand as a chamber musician and soloist. At 16 he won the woodwind prize in the first BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition, going on to make his US debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall at the age of 22.  He has since performed as soloist with many of the world’s most significant orchestras including the Philadelphia, San Francisco Symphony, Philharmonia, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Netherlands Philharmonic and formed strong links with leading conductors. Collins also has the distinction of being the most frequently invited wind soloist to the BBC Proms, including several appearances at the renowned Last Night of the Proms.

In recent seasons Collins has become increasingly highly regarded as a conductor and in September 2010 took the position of Principal Conductor of the City of London Sinfonia. His success in this role is testament to the natural musicianship and galvanizing leadership that is evident in both his playing and conducting. His conducting highlights include engagements with the Philharmonia, BBC Scottish Symphony, Ulster Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic, Kuopio Symphony, Melbourne Symphony and Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

In 2007, Collins received the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist of the Year Award, placing him amongst past recipients of the award such as Itzhak Perlman, Mitsuko Uchida, Murray Perahia and Sir Andras Schiff. The award was made in recognition of the pivotal role that Collins has played in expanding the clarinet repertoire, commissioning repertoire by some of today’s most highly regarded composers. He has given world and local premières of John Adams’ Gnarly Buttons, Elliott Carter’s Clarinet Concerto, Brett Dean’s Ariel’s Music and Turnage’s Riffs and Refrains, which was commissioned by the Hallé Orchestra. Collins has gone on to perform Turnage’s work with the Residentie Orkest, Royal Flanders Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic and London Philharmonic orchestras. In 2009 he appeared at New York’s Mostly Mozart festival, performing Gnarly Buttons under the baton of the composer. In 2008, Collins gave the world première of Elena Kats-Chernin’s clarinet concerto Ornamental Air with the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra and in 2013 released a recording of the work on the Chandos label with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.


Michael McHale

Since winning the 2009 Terence Judd/Hallé Award, Belfast-born Michael McHale has gone on to establish himself as one of the leading Irish pianists of his generation. He has performed as soloist with the Minnesota, Hallé, Bournemouth Symphony and Moscow Symphony orchestras, the Teatro Colon Orchestra, the London Mozart Players and all five of the major Irish orchestras in repertoire ranging from Mozart and Beethoven to Prokofiev and Rachmaninov.

Michael’s début album ‘The Irish Piano’ was released in 2012 and has been featured on national radio throughout Europe, North America and Australia. The disc was selected as ‘CD of the Week’ by critic Norman Lebrecht, who described it as “a scintillating recital…fascinating from start to stop”, whilst Gramophone praised “the singing sensibility of McHale’s sensitive and polished pianism.” Michael collaborates regularly with Sir James Galway, Michael Collins, Barry Douglas, Patricia Rozario and Camerata Pacifica. 

Date & Venue

Friday, March 18, 2016 at 10:30am Coffee Concert
Please join us in the Marzitelli Foyer at 9:30am for a preconcert talk with David Evan Thomas. Complimentary coffee will be available prior to this performance.

Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 7:30pm
Please join us in the Concert Hall at 6:30pm for a preconcert talk with David Evan Thomas.

Ordway Concert Hall

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Program (for both dates)

Sonata in E-flat major, Opus 120, No. 2  — Johannes Brahms
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano — Herbert Howells
(2016 World Premiere) — Abbie Betinis
Première rapsodie — Claude Debussy
Sonata in E-flat major, Opus 167 — Camille Saint-Saëns
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano — Francis Poulenc

Encore: Nocturne – John Field

Rhapsodos commissioned by the Minnesota Commissioning Club and the Seattle Commissioning Club for Michael Collins and Michael McHale

Concert length is estimated to be 2 hours with one intermission.

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Perhaps no clarinettist around today is capable of floating a purer, smoother, more beautifully contoured melodic line than Michael Collins.

BBC Music Magazine

…Michael McHale remains the discovery of the evening: a magician who glides across the keys…

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