Gillian Williams

Gillian Williams’s story

Dublin-born Gillian Williams is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s most gifted violinists.. After appearing as soloist with the NSOI in the 1993 RTE Lunchtime Series at the National Concert Hall, she became Ireland’s first string player to participate in the 1994 Tchaikovsky Competition held in Moscow. Her solo performances at the National Concert Hall and the National Gallery of Ireland were all recorded or broadcast live on RTE Lyric FM. Ms Williams appeared with many distinguished pianists (Philippe Cassard, Roger Vignoles, Finghin Collins, Lance Coburn, François Zeitouni, etc) at all the major Dublin venues.. She has performed Ravel’s Sonata for Violin & Cello no less than forty times since forming DUO CHAGALL with her partner, cellist Arun Rao, in 1993. Her repertoire includes a vast amount of French music by Fauré, Ravel, Poulenc, Messiaen, Debussy, Milhaud, Honegger, Ropartz, Vierne, Saint-Saëns & Jean Langlais.
DUO CHAGALL appeared on RTE television in the 1990s and recorded a CD of predominantly French music in 2009. They were invited to host summer series at the Musée Vuillod-St-Germain in Pezenas (south of France) in 2011-13 and collaborated with the Bringuier-Monakh piano duet at the ‘Festival de la Vallée du Tarn’ in July 2017. The duo recently gave World Premieres of works expressly written for them by Irish conductor and composer Colman Pearce: Duo Concertante & Piano Trio (The Hugh Lane, May 2018). In 2011 they launched the classical music series AUTUMN SOUNDS at Farmleigh, Phoenix Park, which notably featured all the chamber music works including the violin by Robert Schumann between 2014 and 2017. The 2018 edition was entirely dedicated to Claude Debussy, and featured a rarely-performed reduction for instrumental quintet of Pelléas & Mélisande by Hubert Mouton, as well as only the second Irish performance of Henriette Renié’s Trio with internationally-acclaimed Israeli harpist Sivan Magen.
Ms Williams recently took part in the NCH Femmes de la Belle-Époque Series directed by Irish pianist and scholar Una Hunt, in works by Cécile Chaminade and Lili Boulanger (broadcast on Lyric FM). Her performances at the helm of Fingal’s resident chamber group FINGAL ENSEMBLE include Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for its inaugural 2019 season, and three hour-long recordings on DRAIOCHT’s YouTube channel celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birth year in 2020 (his Romances for Violin and Orchestra, the Septet in E flat Major for Strings and Winds and Schubert’s Octet, as well as a selection of Irish Songs with mezzo-soprano Sharon Carty and guitarist Marco Ramelli).
Ms Williams lectures at the Conservatory of Music, TU Dublin.