On Tuesday 19th March three talented musicians from County Louth will perform for international delegates at a Department of Education and Skills Conference on Assessment and Evaluation organised as part of Ireland’s EU Presidency. This event, which takes place at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, will feature harpist Michael O’Neill joined by brothers Uilleann piper Conal Duffy and fiddle player Ciaran Duffy. These young musical ambassadors have been nominated by Louth Music Education Partnership to represent the county on this international stage.
Michael O’Neill, currently studying Computer Science and Software Engineering in NUI Maynooth, has been playing the harp for the past eight years and has also played classical harp. He has won many prizes for solo, duet and ensemble playing at many Harp Festivals and Feiseanna including the Feis Ceoil and was awarded two TSB High Achiever Awards for his playing. He has performed in many prestigious venues in Ireland including Dublin Castle, Lutrellstown Castle and the National Concert Hall and performed internationally in the USA, Britain and Singapore. He has played for President Higgins, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and other government ministers. Michael has taken part in a cross-border initiative of new music from young composers, Arts Across Borders, was a member of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Dhún Dealganand has played with the Meath Harp Ensemble since 2004. He is currently interested in arranging modern music for harp, e.g. Coldplay and Yiruma. No stranger to Music Generation, Michael performed at the launch of Music Generation Louth in 2011.
Conal Duffy is the current under-18 All Ireland Champion on Uilleann Pipes, having won the Slow Airs competition at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Cavan in 2012. Highlights to date have included performing as a soloist in London’s Royal Albert Hall with the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland and for President Mary Mc Aleese in Áras an Uachtaráin accompanied by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. With the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland he travelled to Shanghai for the 2010 World Expo, Rome and the USA on two occasions. This summer Conal will travel to Bondeno, Northern Italy to perform at ‘Eire La Festa’ for the second time. Conal’s older brother and fiddle player Ciarán Duffy studied music at NUI Maynooth and has performed internationally as lead Double Bassist with the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland at the Shanghai World Expo, London’s Royal Albert Hall, New York’s Lincoln Center, Chicago and Boston Symphony Halls, and also in Rome. As a fiddle player he has won many medals at provincial fleadhanna and is a very talented musician.
“Music Generation has been very pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Department of Education and Skills on this exciting performance programme to mark Ireland’s Presidency of the EU”, said Rosaleen Molloy, National Director of Music Generation. “The partnership is providing a wonderful opportunity to showcase some of the country’s finest young musicians and is providing them with the opportunity to perform to an international audience”.
This performance is the sixth in a series of exciting musical celebrations with many more scheduled over the coming months.
Notes to editors:Music Generation is Ireland’s National Music Education Programme, initiated by Music Network and funded by U2 and The Ireland Funds, together with a range of local partners. Music Generation helps children and young people to access music education in their local area. Music Generation is currently established in Carlow, Cork City, Laois, Limerick City, Louth, Mayo, Offaly/Westmeath, Sligo and Wicklow and works with Music Education Partnerships in each of these areas. Music Generation also works closely with the Department of Education and Skills who have committed to co-fund the programme with local Music Education Partnerships from July 2014. Visit www.musicgeneration.ie for further information.