Violinist Máiréad hits all the right notes

Máiréad Hickey who won the Top Security-sponsored Fr Frank Maher Music Awards. Seven finalists competed at Castleknock College in Dublin to win the top prize of €2,000 to further their musical career. Pic: Peter Houlihan

A teenage violin virtuoso has taken a huge step towards a career in music after winning the country’s largest classical music competition for second-level students.

Violinist Máiréad Hickey, 17, from The Lough area of Cork City, a sixth-year student at Mount Mercy College who studies violin under Adrian Petcu at the CIT Cork School of Music, won the Top Security-sponsored Fr Frank Maher Music Awards at the weekend with her performances of Siciliana from Sonata I in G Minor by Bach, and La Capricieuse by Elgar.

It is the second year in a row that the winner has come from Cork City.

Máiréad, who performed at the RDS Rising Stars Music Recitals Programme last Thursday, was among seven young finalists who competed at Castleknock College in Dublin for a top prize of €2,000 to further their musical career.

Máiréad is due to audition for a place at a German university next year to study under a world-famous violin virtuoso.

“If I’m successful, I plan to put my €2,000 prize money from the Fr Frank Maher Music Awards towards this,” she said.

The other finalists, Peter Regan from Roscommon, Aisling O’Sullivan from Waterford, Martha Campbell from Cork, Amy Gillen from Donegal, Aina Hanissa from Cork, and Fionnuala MacMahon from Co Dublin each received a €150 bursary.

The Fr Frank Maher Music Awards were established by Top Security chairman Emmet O’Rafferty 12 years ago to honour the memory of one of his former teachers. It is open to sixth year post-primary students of strings, woodwind, brass, and piano.

“I am proud to say that this year’s winner, Máiréad Hickey, joins an extremely talented line of young musical talent who have won the award and I wish her the very best for the future,” he said.

The judging panel included Gerard Gillen, the professor emeritus in Music at the National University of Ireland, and Kerry Houston, the head of department of academic studies DIT and president of the Society for Musicology in Ireland.


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