Welcome back to Galway Chamber’s Business of the Week. This week we spoke to Anna Lardi Fogarty, Executive Director, Music for Galway
Music for Galway does what it says on the tin. Galway has always been a city full of music. Music for Galway contributes by focusing on classical (anything from early to contemporary and all in between) music. Since 1981 we have been bringing the best Irish and International performers and composers to Galway and we present them in a welcoming atmosphere. Our aim is to encourage as many people from as many walks of life as possible to engage with this kind of music. Many do so already by listening in their cars to RTE Lyric Fm for example, these we would like to entice to experience the thrill of the live performance.
Tell us about your business.
Currently MFG presents a main concert season of around 18 concerts that runs from September to May. With help from SAP last season we also introduced a Lunchtime concert series of six concerts. This series is now presented with Arts in Action at NUIG and has been extended this year with repeat performances in the evening at the PorterShed with help from KPMG, DAVY and RDJ.
A big moment in our yearly calendar is our Midwinter Festival in January at the Town Hall Theatre. This year it runs from the 19th to the 21st of January and is entitled BELOVED – Composers in Love. For further details see www.musicforgalway.ie
MFG is going to play a major role in the Galway 2020 programme. Its flagship 8 day festival CELLISSIMO will run at the end of April and into May.
MFG is a charity and is funded by the Arts Council and grant aided by Galway City Council. Further main income streams are box office income as well as corporate and private donations.
How did Music for Galway get started?
To quote founding member Jane O’Leary: “Music for Galway grew out of a desire to create new opportunities for the community to experience live music performances. In early 1981 a group got together at Erika and Tim Casey’s house; by the end of the year the Aula Maxima, recently divided into 2 floors, became the home for the new Steinway Grand Piano. From then on, the organisation grew. Gerry Lee’s valuable advice at the time was to get ‘only the best’. This remains our policy in selecting musicians as well as pianos.”
Why did you choose Galway as a location for your business?
As mentioned above, live classical music performances at world stage level did not occur in Galway on a regular basis and the organisation grew out of the need to fill this niche.
What one thing do you do every day that makes your business a success?
All involved in the organisation, be it it’s artistic director Finghin Collins, the administrative staff or the voluntary Board, are involved because they believe in its worth and are genuinely passionate about what they do. Whether it is the artist or agent we are dealing with, the venue, the funding bodies or indeed the audiences – people respond to that.
How has being a member of Galway Chamber helped you?
The Galway Chamber has been very helpful in many ways. We have received encouragement and praise (winning the 2015 Business Award for promoting Galway), we have received advice on many practical issues (just very recently even in picking the date for our Gala Fundraiser for CELLISSIMO, which will take place on March 1st 2019!). The networking opportunities are invaluable for us. They have resulted in some important business relationships as well as sponsorship. Some of the seminars and talks have proven to be very informative and most inspiring (key note speech by Jacob Kurek of Henning Larsen Architects).
What advice would you give someone starting a new business in Galway?
Galway is a great place to do business and this is of course down to the people that chose to live and work here. People are always one of your most important resources.
What is one of the biggest challenges, in your opinion, facing businesses in 2018?
I guess it is uncertainty what with currencies and Brexit etc… businesses will have to remain flexible and adaptable, but then, that’s nothing new…