‘Prodigy’ Mairéad wins top accolade

A 14-YEAR-OLD girl from Cork has won the prestigious National Concert Hall Young Musicians’ Award, which came with a €8,000 cheque.

Mairéad Hickey, a student at Mount Mercy College who currently attends the Cork School of Music, intends to use the prize money to buy a bow and to attend master- classes in Romania and France.

She won through from a shortlist of five finalists who had to perform live auditions with guest judges Yossi Zivoni and Simon Aspell.

Chairman of The National Concert Hall David Byrne noted that the talent coming through from young musicians has never been so impressive. He, alongside Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs Minister Jimmy Deenihan, also presented an award to 13-year-old Dublin cellist Christopher Ellis, who was runner-up.

Rosita Wolfe, head of marketing for the National Concert Hall, said the competition was a very important programme in their educational activity and the support of young Irish musicians was an important strand of that programming.

“The judges were overwhelmed by the overall standard of entry which we had this year.

“The winners of this competition are two prodigies and will go on to perform at a very high level, and they will both be back performing on The National Concert Hall stage in the future,” Ms Wolfe said.

The Young Musicians’ Award at The National Concert Hall supports the development of talented young musicians in Ireland and, for the first time, the 2011 competition was open to classical string players of violin, viola, cello or double bass.

Picture: National Concert Hall Young Musicians’ Award winner, Cork violinist Mairéad Hickey, and runner-up Christopher Ellis from Dublin, right. Pictures: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland


Vicky McClure sings out about dementia on BBC

More From The Irish Examiner