Leon McCawley piano, Mia Cooper violin & Brian O’Kane cello

Friday 10 February 2023
At 7.30pm

Presenting Leon McCawley piano, Mia Cooper violin & Brian O’Kane cello

At the time of writing this work, Clara Schumann was probably as well-known, if not more so than her husband Robert, yet like many female composers of the time, she was overlooked in the history books. As a result, this fine piano trio has been underperformed for too many years. On this occasion it will be brought to life with a trio of incredible musicians, who come together for this one-off concert in Drogheda. 


Clara Schumann Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 17
Dvorak Piano Trio No. 3, in F minor, Op. 65

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Our artists


Praised for his unfailingly communicative playing, British pianist Leon McCawley has been delighting audiences worldwide since winning first prize in the 1993 International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna and second prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition the same year. His many concert performances and extensive discography have established him as a pianist of great integrity and variety, bringing freshness and vitality to Classical, Romantic and 20th century repertoire. McCawley’s recent CD of Haydn Sonatas Volume IV for SOMM Recordings is no exception: “There is real freshness to McCawley’s playing throughout, concomitant with a sense of Haydn’s delight in playing with form. Captured in superb sound, this is one of McCawley’s finest discs to date”. (International Piano, December 2021).

An acclaimed exponent of Mozart, he has performed and recorded (Avie Records) the complete cycle of Mozart piano sonatas in winning interpretations: “There’s absolutely no vanity in his playing. In his hands the Mozartian oeuvre emerged with striking vividness” (International Piano). Notable recitals in past seasons include: London Piano Series at Wigmore Hall (where he is a regular performer), four invitations to International Piano Series at London’s Southbank Centre, New York’s Lincoln Center, Hong Kong Arts Festival and the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. He can be frequently heard on BBC Radio 3 both in performance and interview with recent broadcasts including In Tune, Wigmore Hall Lunchtime Series and Performance on 3.

As a concerto soloist, Leon performs with many leading British orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National and Ulster Orchestras, Bournemouth and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras and Royal Northern Sinfonia. He made his sixth appearance at the BBC Proms in August 2019 performing John Ireland’s Piano Concerto with BBC Concert Orchestra/Bramwell Tovey which was televised on BBC4. Further afield, McCawley has made concerto appearances with, amongst others, Cincinnati, Dallas, Fort Worth, RTÉ National and St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestras, Malaysian and Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestras, Philadelphia Orchestra and Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias and has worked with conductors such as Hans Graf, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Domingo Hindoyan, Andrew Litton, Kurt Masur, Rossen Milanov and Sakari Oramo.

Highlights of the 2021/22 season include an Artist-in-Residence series of four recitals at Wigmore Hall celebrating the late works of Haydn, Mozart and Schubert, his debut recital at the Singapore International Piano Festival and a welcome return to London Philharmonic Orchestra with Robin Ticciati performing Mozart Piano Concerto K466. 

He studied at Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester with Heather Slade-Lipkin before continuing his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia with Eleanor Sokoloff. He also received invaluable guidance from Nina Milkina in London.

As a collaborative musician, he has performed at many prestigious concert venues including BBC Proms Chamber Series, BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Series at Wigmore Hall and Aldeburgh, Brighton, Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Galway and Westport festivals. 

Leon has appeared as juror and adjudicator of many competitions including The International Edvard Grieg Piano Competition, BBC Young Musician, Royal Over-Seas League Competition and Feis Ceoil (Dublin). In May 2020 he appeared as Television Guest for the BBC Young Musician 2020 Keyboard Final.

McCawley’s discography includes: Schumann Piano Music (Avie Records), an Editor’s Choice in Gramophone; The Complete Piano Works of Hans Gál (Avie), also a Gramophone Editor’s Choice; The Complete Mozart Piano Sonatas (Avie) awarded a Diapason d’Or; Chopin Piano Music (SOMM Recordings) ; Barber Piano Music (SOMM), a Critic’s Choice in Gramophone in November 2011; Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with Royal Philharmonic and City of London Choir/Hilary Davan Wetton (Naxos); Brahms Piano Music (SOMM), selected as Classic FM CD of the Week in July 2012; Schumann Piano Music (SOMM); Rachmaninov Complete Preludes (SOMM); Vaughan Williams Double Piano Concerto with John Lenehan and Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Martin Yates (Dutton Epoch), described as ‘not been better served on record before’ and awarded 5 stars by BBC Music Magazine; Haydn Sonatas and Variations (SOMM) awarded a Diapason d’Or; Stanford’s Piano Concerto in B flat with Royal Northern Sinfonia/Martin Yates (Dutton Epoch); Schubert Piano Music (SOMM); and two further volumes of Haydn Sonatas with SOMM. His tenth disc for SOMM, Haydn Sonatas Volume IV was released in November 2021.

Leon McCawley is professor of piano at London’s Royal College of Music. He is married to the painter Anna Hyunsook Paik.


Irish cellist Brian O’Kane enjoys a busy career as both soloist and chamber musician. Since winning first prize at the Windsor International String Competition in 2008, he has made his debuts with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra under Ashkenazy and in recital at the Wigmore Hall. Brian is a former “Rising Star” of Ireland’s National Concert Hall and he recently recorded his debut CD for the Champs Hill label.

An avid chamber musician, Brian enjoys playing as a member of the Cappa Ensemble and Navarra Quartet. He has collaborated with a wide variety of artists such as Michael Collins, Aleksandar Madzar, Anthony Marwood, Pekka Kuusisto, Lawrence Power, Antoine Tamestit and Sir James Galway. Brian has also performed at concert halls and festivals throughout the world such as Sydney Opera House, Suntory Hall Tokyo, Seoul Arts Centre, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, West Cork, Radio France-Montpellier, Lockenhaus and the Weesp Chamber Music Festival, Holland of which his quartet are the artistic directors.

A graduate of both the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, Brian‘s biggest influences have come from Louise Hopkins and at Prussia Cove, Aldeburgh & Chamber Studio from studies with Ralph Kirshbaum, Steven Isserlis, Ferenc Rados and Eberhard Feltz. Brian currently plays on a Rugieri cello made in Cremona c.1690. 


Mia Cooper studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Yossi Zivoni and has been involved in a wide variety of music making in the ten years since. She was principal first violin of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for five years, and also regularly plays and records with London’s chamber orchestras and ensembles, including the Fibonacci Sequence, Barbican Trio, Brodsky Quartet, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields.

Mia has been a guest leader of the CBSO, and BBC National Orchestra of Wales and before moving to Dublin, spent three summers leading the St Endellion Orchestra. Mia participates in chamber music festivals across Europe, and also in Mumbai, and last summer performed in Lithuania a music project of A Midsummer Night’s Dream where both rôles and music were performed by seven musicians (in Lithuanian).

As a soloist Mia has performed much of the Baroque solo violin repertoire with the New London Soloist’s Orchestra, and also plays as a soloist with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. She has recorded a wide variety of chamber music, including works by Nicola Lefanu (Goldberg Ensemble, Naxos 8.557389), Bartók (Duos, with Yossi Zivoni) and Stanford (clarinet quintets with Rob Plane and the Gould Piano Trio).

Mia teaches violin at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. She was appointed leader of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in 2006.

Mia accepts invitations to play chamber music wherever and whenever possible and enjoys the logistical difficulties of getting from, say Marseilles, to Portaferry, in an unfeasibly short space of time. Mia seeks out many challenges, especially theoretical ones.

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Friday 10 February 2023 at 7.30pm

St Peter’s Church of Ireland, Drogheda – Google maps

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