Celtic Tenors to Open CSO's 2014-15 Pops Season, 10/4

Celtic Tenors to Open CSO's 2014-15 Pops Season, 10/4

The Celtic Tenors have captivated audiences throughout the UK, Europe, and US since their arrival on the music scene in 2000. What began as three very talented friends gathering on the operatic stage has since exploded into an international recording and touring phenomenon that transcends the trio's classical roots and embraces folk, pop, and various other dimensions of the musical spectrum. An evening with The Celtic Tenors guarantees a professional, sparkling, and good-humored performance featuring gorgeous Celtic songs like the haunting "Danny Boy" and exhilarating classics like "Nessun Dorma."

The Columbus Symphony presents The Celtic Tenors at the Ohio Theatre (39 E. State St.) on Saturday, October 4, at 8pm. Tickets are $25-$68 and can be purchased at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase tickets by phone, please call (614) 228-8600 or (800) 745-3000.

Following an impromptu audition in London, the original lineup of tenors-Matthew Gilsenan, Niall Morris, and James Nelson-was signed on the spot to an international record deal, an event so unprecedented that it soon became the talk of the music industry.

The Celtic Tenors' eponymously titled debut album immediately soared to the No. 2 spot on the UK classical charts, No. 1 in Ireland and Germany, and won the Echo Award (the German version of the Grammys) for Best Classical Crossover Album of 2002. Their full-length TV special, "Ein Grosse Irischer Abend (A Great Irish Evening)," filmed in front of a capacity crowd in Hamburg, was broadcast to millions of viewers in Germany regularly for more than two years. It was then released as a special on more than 260 PBS channels in the US. In a short time, this combination of recording, touring, and worldwide television exposure made The Celtic Tenors one of the most successful classical crossover acts of 2002, with an album in the top ten on the Billboard charts in the US.

So Strong, the 2002 followup to the trio's auspicious debut, was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and produced by the legendary Mike Moran. Remember Me (2006) featured four very special guest vocalists-Samantha Mumba ("You Raise Me Up"), Brian Kennedy ("We Are Not Islands"), and Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock of Air Supply, who lend a hand on an epic version of Air Supply's classic power pop ballad of 1980, "All Out of Love." The project was a no-brainer for Russell, whose first experience with the trio made him an instant fan. "'All Out of Love' was our biggest hit, and I wanted to re-record it," he says. "I heard The Celtic Tenors on a visit to Ireland and I knew immediately that we just had to duet with these guys."

The Celtic Tenors were invited to sing for former US President Bill Clinton during his visit to Dublin Castle in 2002 as part of a fund-raising effort for the Northern Ireland Peace Fund. Clinton has since said The Celtic Tenors' version of his favorite song, "Danny Boy," is the best he's ever heard. In 2004, the trio had the special honor of singing in a private audience for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and his wife Nane during a trip to Ireland. The surprise recital in honor of Annan's birthday was a personal gift to the couple from U2 frontman Bono.

The Celtic Tenors have appeared on numerous compilation albums, including True Colors, the official 2003 Rugby World Cup album, and Harmony, the official classical album for the 2004 Olympic Games. They also appeared on Another World, the huge selling 2005 recording by Liam Lawton. Total album sales worldwide, including compilations, have surpassed a million units, making them the largest-selling classical crossover artists to come out of Ireland.

Hard Times (2008), a self-released CD of works from the great Americana songbook, was the first effort to include new member Daryl Simpson.

Their most recent release, Feels Like Home (2011), features the RTE Concert Orchestra and the Omagh Community Youth Choir in Ireland. The Tenors add their gorgeous voices to beautiful pop songs like Richard Thompson's "Dimming of the Day" and Randy Newman's "Feels Like Home," as well as traditional fare like "Sou Gan" and "She Moved Through the Fair."

Photo credit: Barry McCall