Top Mayo teen talent sought for €5,000 classical music prize

Tuesday, 11th September, 2018 3:13pm

Top Mayo teen talent sought for €5,000 classical music prize

Violinist Mairead Hickey, the 2013 Frank Maher Classical Awards winner.

THE search for Mayo entries for Top Security’s Frank Maher Classical Music Awards for 2018 has begun. With a €5,000 top prize, this is Ireland’s largest classical music competition for secondary schools.

The 2013 winner, violinist Mairead Hickey, was at the launch and, as this year’s competition is taking place earlier than usual, the closing date for entries is now this Friday, September 14.

The Frank Maher Classical Music Awards were created in 2001 by Emmet O’Rafferty, chairman of the Top Security Group, to showcase outstanding young talent in classical music. Past winners have received national and international recognition for their achievements and used their prize money as a springboard towards a professional career by funding their studies at some of the world’s most renowned music colleges and institutions.

Said Emmet: “I established the awards to honour the memory of one of my late teachers, Fr. Frank Maher, who was a pioneer in the nurturing of musical talent in secondary schools. He would have been delighted with the number of incredibly gifted musicians they have attracted over the years and I wish this year’s prospective entrants the very best of luck.”

The awards are open to sixth year post-primary students of string, woodwind, brass and piano. The €5,000 top prize will be used by the winner to attend a recognised place of tuition, a course of study in Ireland or abroad, or on a purchase necessary for the development of their talent. The finalists will each receive a €250 bursary.

Mairead Hickey added: “Winning the Frank Maher Classical Music Awards was a wonderful and important career stepping stone for me. It has helped to open doors professionally, so I would certainly be encouraging any aspiring young musicians to enter the competition.”

Seven finalists will be selected by an independent board of adjudicators to attend the competition night on Friday, October 5, at the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin to perform in front of an invited audience.

Full details, including rules and a copy of the application form for downloading, are on

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