About Michael McHale
Michael McHale is one of the most versatile pianists in the British Isles. He has found success internationally without losing focus on the music of his native Ireland, on both the British and Irish sides of its internal border.
McHale was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1983. He took up the piano at age seven, motivated at first by sibling rivalry with an older sister, but soon he was making great strides and was traveling by train, leaving on Friday afternoon after regular school classes, to study with John O'Conor and Réamonn Keary at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin. McHale's university years also saw him commuting as he took an academic music course at Cambridge University but also traveled to London for lessons with Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music. McHale won a series of prizes in the 2000s decade, beginning with the 2004 Camerata Ireland Musician of the Year Competition, and he began to find bookings in Ireland, the UK, and beyond. McHale has appeared with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Moscow Symphony, and various major orchestras in Ireland and Britain. He has given solo recitals at Wigmore Hall in London, New York's Lincoln Center, and Pesti Vigado in Budapest, as well as the Tanglewood Festival in the U.S. and the Tokyo Spring Festival. Among McHale's collaborators are flutist James Galway and soprano Felicity Lott, and in 2014 he co-founded the McGill-McHale Trio in the U.S. McHale has recorded with that group for the Cedille label, and he has joined other players for chamber music on the Chandos label. The year 2020 saw him release The Lyrical Clarinet, Vol. 3, with clarinetist Michael Collins, on Chandos. Some of McHale's solo recordings have been devoted to Irish music; in 2017, he released a recording of Simon O'Connor's What Is Living and What Is Dead on the Ergodos label. ~ James Manheim