Belfast Festival: Flags and Emblems

Ian Wilson debuts his latest composition Flags and Emblems at this year’s Belfast Festival

“There is nothing so immediately suggestive of the idea of separateness as a sign or a symbol, readily recognisable as indicating belonging to (and therefore excluding others from) a certain group or section of society, a phenomenon known all over the world and through the ages. To me, however, symbols can indicate potential, rather than merely isolation.”

Thus speaks Belfast-born composer, Ian Wilson, of his latest work, Flags and Emblems. Commissioned by the Ulster Orchestra with funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Lottery Unit, the piece will receive its world première performance at the Whitla Hall, Queen’s University, on 30th October 2012 as part of this year’s Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

Ian is the Ulster Orchestra’s Associate Composer and Flags and Emblems, is a work for solo piano, orchestral winds, brass and percussion and flute band. The Ulster Orchestra will be joined by pianist Matthew Schellhorn, and the Ballygowan Flute Band, with Ian Wilson conducting the orchestra for the first time.

Rachel Murphy, Marketing and Communications Manager with the Ulster Orchestra explains ‘Music is very important in any culture, and for the Festival we wanted to create something that would oppose the idea of separateness and to show how recognisable musical signs and symbols, such as the pulse of a marching tune or the fluid rhythms of an on-air, can be combined to lead to the creation of something wholly original. We think Ian has brought this to life brilliantly.’

Ticket prices are £12, or £10 concession, and this promises to be one of the Festival’s highlights as Flags and Emblems is, in Ian’s words, ‘a fantasy-like work which is by turns exciting, contemplative and uplifting’. As an added bonus, there’ll be a pre-concert talk at 7.30pm, with Ian Wilson and Matthew Schellhorn, which will give some valuable insight into Flags and Emblems.

Composer and Conductor: Ian Wilson
Location: Whitla Hall, Queens University Belfast
Time and date: 8.00pm on 30th October 2012
Pre-concert talk: 7.30pm on 30th October 2012
Tickets: £12 or £10 concession
Tickets are available from the Ulster Orchestra Box Office at the Ulster Hall, by calling 028 9023 9955 or online at as well as Belfast Festival Box Office at the QUB Welcome Centre, by calling 028 90 971197 or online at


Post Author: Belfast Times