The last few months have been an amazing part of my musical journey. April and May saw some beautiful recitals throughout Ireland alongside Lance Coburn whilst also performing Dvorak’ s violin concert in the National Concert Hall Dublin and also the Ulster Hall Belfast alongside the brilliant Dublin Orchestral Players and Dr. Marion Doherty. It was such a joy to perform to full houses in Ireland and it is always amazing to play for Irish people! After this saw some work and performances in chamber music and solo items in Switzerland before going back again to Ireland to perform at the wonderful Lismore Opera Festival.
I returned to Switzerland before departing for Argentina which was followed by multiple concerts in Peru Chile and Ecuador. This has to been one of the highlights of my musical journey to date. It was an incredible experience to meet so many new people and play in some of the most wonderful halls whilst also having the chance to play and give to those who are less fortunate in highly disadvantaged areas. It was a rollercoaster of a time but I managed to get there!
I returned and following work with Maxim, I went without a break to Ireland. This week then has been one of the most special and inspirational weeks of my life. I returned as soloist to the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland. It has been 7 years since I was a member and leader of the NYOI. This orchestra has distinctly holds some of the most beautiful memories in my life, and has acted time and time again as a source of inspiration. The young people I worked with this year are simply out of this world. Their love of music, dedication, commitment and desire to learn is simply amazing. I have been so fortunate to work with many of them in masterclass this week which was incredibly impressive to see such commitment to learning and indeed this acts as an inspiration to me. I endeavoured to be a role model and to show them that this is possible and that they will always have Irish support!
I was thrilled to work with the renowned Venezeulan conductor Ilyich Rivas. It is safe to say that we clicked and became instant friends and musical supports. Ilyich is a wonderful conductor and was fantastic with this young orchestra. We have become close friends and are already looking to the next projects together!
The next month sees some special projects and major debuts and performances at festivals. The top one on the list is Prague Philarmonia whom I make my debut with in August at Morat Castle in Switzerland! Looking forward to a busy few months!
2017 is a big year with major debuts already in the calendar with some of the worlds finest ensembles and orchestras. I am incredibly honoured to have been with the “Cufflinks of Kilkenny City” in appreciation of my deeds done in the name of Kilkenny City, and also indebted to County Council for having me as a special guest at their closing ceremony of 2016. January got off to an amazing start with a weekend celebration of Irish String Playing. This was a gathering of some of the finest living Irish musicians. I was involved in 2 beautiful concerts at the National Concert Hall, Dublin on Saturday 7th.
After this was a brief few days in London where I worked and met with some people for some upcoming projects. Following this I went straight to Geneva where I worked with my professor Maxim Vengerov in an intense number of lessons working on Mozart Sinfonia Concertante. I then came to Ireland to perform as soloist with Camerata Ireland under the direction of world renowned Barry Douglas and alongside the amazing Ed Creedon.
This month also saw the first display of a an impeccably handcrafted suit tailored for me by www.ahandtailoredsuit.ie . This beautiful velvet suit is absolutely brilliant and I cannot thank them enough for their incredible work. Please see some photos and remark for yourself! Some lovely work teaching at Gstaad Le Rosey culminated a lovely month of music.
October has been a exciting month with performances in over several cities, saw the launch of my partnership with “A Hand Tailored Suit” and also the month where I started my job as Assistant Professor at the Conservatoire de Musique de Geneve. Early on saw a performance of Sarasate’s Virtusosic Carmen Fantasy as soloist with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra – proudly tailored by A Hand Tailored Suit who have provided me with the highest level of clothing I have ever seen. Check them out on www.ahandtailoredsuit.ie. This concert was broadcasts to hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.
From here, I went to Geneva, where I had performances with the International Menuhin Academy Soloists. Where I acted as concertmaster and soloist in beautiful concerts in KKL Lucerne and Rosey Concert Hall, Rolle. – It has to be said that the concert at KKL was incredible, with a fantastic acoustic and a hall that sits over 3000 people. This was one of the most enjoyable concerts I have ever done. Following this was my first day as assistant professor to Oleg Kaskiv at the Conservatoire of Music in Geneva – this was such a challenging yet rewarding start. It is truly a privilege to be able to teach people who are so serious about violin and their career at my age. I found it inspirational and I believe and hope that I made a positive impact on these brilliant students. The rest of October has been dedicated to practice for concerts in 4 different countries and 6 different cities in November!!
Kilkenny violinist Patrick Rafter (17 years of age) was today awarded €8,000 by The National Concert Hall as a reward for being announced overall winner of the inaugural National Concert Hall Young Musicians’ Award 2009. Patrick Rafter plans to use the financial reward to purchase a violin. Runner-up David Tobin (13 years of age), from Dublin, one of the youngest applicants was awarded €2,000, which he also plans to put towards an instrument upgrade. Both winners currently use violins on three-year loans from the Music Instrument Fund of Ireland (MIFI). Patrick and David came successfully through a process that saw 21 applicants whittled down to five finalists, who performed live for the panel of judges on March 6 2009.
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