Sunday 22 September 2019

My cultural life: violinist Mairead Hickey

Multi-prize winning musician Mairead Hickey
Multi-prize winning musician Mairead Hickey
War on Women
Les Choristes

Celebrated Irish violinist Mairead Hickey is a multi-prize winning musician who has performed in every major venue in Ireland and internationally in venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York, and Beethoven-Haus in Bonn. She has performed as a soloist with both the RTE Symphony and Concert Orchestras and has collaborated with many renowned artists such as Barry Douglas, Tabea Zimmermann, Fazil Say and Boris Berezovsky. As well as playing classical music, Mairead has a love of traditional Irish music; she is the winner of eight All Ireland fiddle titles. She also performs chamber music and next Sunday, she performs with fellow musicians Siobhan Doyle, violin, Ed Creedon, viola, and Christopher Ellis, cello, in the Lir Quartet. They will perform a programme of works by Debussy, Beethoven and contemporary composer Sean Doherty in the last of the Sunday afternoon String Quartet concerts at the National Concert Hall.

Film: Les Choristes

Les Choristes

One of my favourite films is 2004's Les Choristes (The Chorus) directed by Christophe Barratier. Set in 1948 in France, this film is distinguished by its beautiful soundtrack and by a very positive message which is driven home by an emotional visit to a miserable prison-like school for disadvantaged boys. An apparently unremarkable man makes singing a tool for the boys to use to remove them from the ordinary pain of their lives to experience an extraordinary beauty.

Music: Mozart

It's difficult to pick one piece of music but at the moment I am obsessed with Mozart. His music is so simple but genius, joyful but heartbreaking. His operas are so relatable, despite the fact that he lived nearly 300 years ago. I really think it's a huge shame in Ireland that classical music is not given more importance in schools. I don't think the people in charge of education realise the huge importance of bringing children to see live concerts.

Art: Monet's Water Lilies


I love Monet's paintings. Without a sense of distance, perspective or even limits, this series of paintings was dedicated to France by Monet as a monument to peace in 1918. It was explained to me that Monet's destruction of form was his way of lamenting the destruction wrought on the Western Front.

TV: Gran Hotel

I recently watched the Spanish TV series Gran Hotel. It's set in a small town in Spain in the 1900s where a young man begins work in a hotel to learn more about the disappearance of his sister. I love the beautiful clothes they wear and it keeps my Spanish alive. I always enjoy watching films and series from different countries

Book: The War on Women

War on Women

Sue Lloyd-Roberts' book tells of the atrocities inflicted on women around the world and the stories of those who fight back. Each chapter tells a story from a different country. It is shocking to read about the devastating way women were treated even at home in Ireland, as Ireland's treatment of women up until very recently put it among some of the worst in the world. It's a real eye-opener. It was given to me by my mum with the instructions to "read it and pass it on".

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