Hi-tech fiddler adds another string to bow

A young Irish musician who developed a hit fiddle app has won a prestigious international violin competition.

Mairéad Hickey, 16, who lives in the Lough area of Cork, took first place in her category of the 19th Jeun-esses International Violin Competition in Bucharest, Romania, last week.

It is one of the biggest competition wins for the teenage virtuoso, who has won eight all-Ireland titles for her fiddle playing.

A violin student of Adrian Petcu at the CIT Cork School of Music since 2003, Mairéad is the current National Concert Hall Young Musician of the Year.

A total of 138 competitors representing 38 countries entered the competition, which is divided into three age categories.

Mairéad competed against 32 competitors from China, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, and Ukraine in the 14-18 years category.

She performed music by Bach and Paganini in the first round, and music by Sarasate, Massenet, and Tchaikovsky in the final.

The jury, drawn from China, France, Germany, Ireland, and Romania awarded her first place.

“This is a remarkable success at international level — everyone is thrilled for Mairéad and congratulates Adrian Petcu on nurturing such an amazing talent,” said a spokesperson for the CIT School of Music.

In February, Mairéad, in association with Marion Roche Martin, developed a music education app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch to teach beginners a set of traditional Irish airs.

Their “Irish Fiddler” app has proven a global hit, with thousands of downloads.

Ms Roche Martin said most of the traffic is from the US and Britain.

“We have just filmed footage for the next three tunes — they will be three jigs,” she said, adding Version 2.0 will arrive in July.

Mairéad, who is studying music in Nantes for her transition year, is due back in Ireland to perform with the Cairde String Quartet as part of the West Cork Chamber Music Festival in Bantry, on Jul 4 to 7.


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