“belonging amongst the greatest violinists, except for names such as Maxim Vengerov, Itzhak Perlman and Nigel Kennedy, I cannot think of those with whom I can compare you! .. This is passionate abandoned playing, full of excitement, risks and drama… a dangerously virtuosic ability which seems to feed off itself.”
– Alexander Bailie, RDS Music Festival
Regarded as one of Ireland’s most promising musicians, international award winning violinist Patrick Rafter has toured Europe, Asia and America as Concert Violinist, Chamber and Orchestral musician, and currently studies under Maxim Vengerov and Oleg Kaskiv at the International Menuhin Music Academy Switzerland.
Born in 1991 into a musical family in Kilkenny Ireland, Patrick quickly became recognised as a promising talent after winning all age categories for violin at the age of 11 in the Kilkenny Music Festival and went on to receive a full scholarship to study at the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM), studying firstly with Eyal Kless then Fionnuala Hunt. During his time at the RIAM he won all house violin competitions, whilst also winning national awards such as the Arthur Nachstern Bursary, and toured as a soloist with the RIAM’s Senior Chamber Orchestra across China, Japan and South Korea.
At 17, Patrick was the winner of all 3 senior competitions at the Dublin R.D.S Feis Ceoil – Ireland’s most prestigious music festival, whilst also being awarded the highest ever mark – 99%, at the Arthur Caterall Cup. Most recently, Patrick was awarded 1st prize at the Valiant International Violin Competition in Switzerland, held in August 2016.
In 2009, Patrick became the inaugural winner of the National Concert Hall Young Musician of the Year award, and that year was also awarded the Arthur Gillespie award for ‘most outstanding and promising musician’ at the International Clandeboye Festival, and was announced as the Young Camerata Accenture Musician of the year. In 2010 he was also awarded the Camerata Ireland Young Musician of the Year, and most recently became the RDS Music Bursary Winner (2015).
In July 2009, he performed as a soloist with ‘Camerata Ireland’ in the National Concert Hall Ireland and has performed at many other prestigious venues including the Royal Albert Hall London, Berlin Konzerthaus and Concertgebouw Amsterdam. Patrick has also performed for the former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, accompanied by his pianist mother, at the Aras and on RTE 1’s New Year’s Day Presidential Address.
In 2011 Patrick was awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) London, where he graduated with first class honours and was awarded the highest mark in his year group. In 2013 he made his debut as a soloist with the RAM string Orchestra in Dukes Hall under the direction of Jo Cole, and was also selected as a member of the RAM’s elite string ensemble ‘Sainsbury Royal Academy Soloists’ with whom he made his Wigmore Hall debut in January 2015. During his time at the RAM, Patrick was a recipient of a host of awards including the Foundation Award, the Sir Curtis Price Award, Roger and Sarah Bancroft Award and the J E Reckitt Award.
In October 2015, Patrick was personally invited to study under Maxim Vengerov at the International Menuhin Music Academy (IMMA), Gstaad Switzerland and has performed as soloist and concertmaster with IMMA’s chamber ensemble The Menuhin Academy Soloists. Future recital tour plans include performances in Ireland, UK, Italy, Macedonia, Switzerland and also solo appearances with RTE Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Ireland, Mozart Symphony Orchestra, IMMA Chamber Orchestra, Co Orchestra Dublin, Laganside Sinfonia, Belfast Pops Orchestra and Dublin Orchestral Players.
During his career, Patrick has studied with and performed alongside some of the greatest performers and teachers in the world today, including Maxim Vengerov, Schlomo Mintz, Barry Douglas, John O’Conor, Igor Ozim, Serjei Krylov, Reiner Honeck, Maurizio Fucs and Graf Mourja. He has also worked with some of the leading composers of the world today, such as Arvo Part, and performed with some of the greatest conductors including Semyon Bychkov, Marin Alsop, Sir Mark Elder and Gianedra Noseda. As a result of his father being a very talented tenor, Patrick has also had the chance to work with some of the world’s leading operatic conductors such as Massimilliano Bullo (Principle Conductor, La Scala) and Luca Gorla (Principle Conductor Piacenza Opera House), and as a conductor himself, Patrick has directed the RTE Concert Orchestra in the finals of the RDS Feis Ceoil and has taken choral masterclasses with distinguished names such as Zoltan Pad and Volker Hempfling.
Patrick has had multiple radio and television appearances, most recent being his Standing Ovation winning performance in the National Concert Hall which was broadcast on Lyric FM. He has been broadcast numerous times on Irish Radio, and has also been featured in documentaries, notably on RTE 1 ‘Nationwide’ with his family and on RTE ‘Classic Jam’.
In Patrick’s hometown of Kilkenny, he was awarded ‘Kilkenny Person of the Year’ and returns to give sell out concerts alongside his family. Patrick is incredibly grateful to play on a Georges Chanot violin kindly supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.