Michael Collins combines a longstanding career as a distinguished clarinet soloist with a more recent one as a conductor. He is Artistic Director-in-Residence of the London Mozart Players and was previously Principal Conductor of the City of London Sinfonia. He has been committed to expanding the clarinet repertoire for many years and has premiered works such as John Adams’s Gnarly Buttons, Carter’s Clarinet Concerto, Brett Dean’s Ariel’s Music and Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Riffs and Refrains. In his prolific recording career he has covered a vast range of repertoire. His most recent disc, released last year, is of Vaughan Williams’s Symphony No. 5 and Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto, in which he directs the Philharmonia Orchestra. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2015, Michael Collins was awarded an MBE for his services to music. He plays on Yamaha clarinets.
Belfast-born Michael McHale has established himself as one of Ireland’s leading pianists and has developed a busy international career as a solo recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician. His discography of over twenty-five albums includes releases on Delos, Nimbus Alliance, Champs Hill, and eight duo recital albums on Chandos with clarinettist Michael Collins. The début album of the McGill/McHale Trio Portraits on Cedille featuring special narrations by Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali was released in 2017 and immediately entered the Top 25 US Billboard Classical Chart. Releases in 2020 include a recording of Richard Rodney Bennett’s Piano Concerto with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and conductor John Wilson for Chandos.