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The Irish Tenors


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The Irish Tenors started in 1998 by television producer, Bill Hughes, for a of PBS special The Irish Tenors. They have since recorded 5 PBS specials and 7 albums. The group’s current line-up is Anthony Kearns, Finbar Wright, and Karl Scully.

Bill Hughes formed the idea of a trio of Irish tenors during a Cannes festival at which the famous Three Tenors, Luciano Pavarotti, José Carreras and Plácido Domingo were performing. Hughes wanted to produce a television special and first approached Ireland’s Finbar Wright in 1998 to join the group but Wright’s recording contract with Sony BMG prohibited such a venture. Hughes then invited Canadian John McDermott to head up the group and he accepted. After conferring with Ireland’s leading vocal coach, Dr. Veronica Dunne, Anthony Kearns and Ronan Tynan were asked to join. In 1999, “The Irish Tenors-in Dublin” debuted on PBS television in the United States.

PBS signed up for another special by the increasingly popular new group but early in 2000 McDermott’s mother died and John decided he could not fully commit himself to the group. Days before PBS was to film The Irish Tenors - Live in Belfast Hughes again contacted Finbar Wright and asked him to step in. Wright agreed to help and was asked to stay on for upcoming tour dates. Having left Sony, Wright was able to join the trio on a permanent basis.

In 2001, the Irish Tenors filmed their third special, an historic PBS broadcast at New York’s Ellis Island , hosted by Irish/American actor Martin Sheen. Their album “Ellis Island” topped Billboard’s Heatseeker list and landed on its “Top 10 Best of 2001”.


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