Pianist Máire Carroll

Hidden Pianos Photo 2


Pianist Máire Carroll. Image: Shane O'Neill

‘Hidden Pianos: Workshop’ with pianist Máire Carroll is one of the three successful projects in this year’s Docklands Arts Fund Small Grants (2018).

Máire is an international concert pianist who has performed throughout Europe, Asia, North America and Canada. She is also the recipient of the Jim McNaughton/TileStyle Bursary for Artists (Allianz Business to Arts Awards, 2015) and the 2012 winner of the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) Music Bursary, the first and only pianist to have won these prestigious awards.

‘Hidden Pianos: Workshop’ will bring Máire’s music series, aimed at bringing contemporary and classical music to new audiences in unexpected places, to primary school students in the Docklands area. Máire has worked with pupils from Ringend GNS engaging and encouraging them to explore music, and together they composed a piece using their individual musical and lyrical ideas. For information on Máire’s other work, please see her website here.

Commenting on her Docklands Arts Fund experience, Máire says:

 “In April 2019, I began my Hidden Pianos: Workshop in Ringsend GNS, with an excitable classroom of children curious to know more about the piano and composing, and what writing their own piece of music would entail. Over the course of four sessions and a performance, we composed our self-titled piece ‘Onboard’, detailing the journey of second class from Dublin Port to Australia by boat.

From the beginning of the project, the students were heavily involved in choosing the topic and the characters for our piece. They decided how the story would develop and were encouraged by me in the various musical aspects of composing the piece, which included picking the melody and instrumental lines. Each week the students would arrive in from the yard after lunch chanting the words and melodies of the songs that had stayed with them despite only having learnt them the week before. I deemed this a huge success after week one and was thrilled with their passion for the project and their continuous enthusiasm.

The level of imagination that developed over the course of the month working with the class was inspiring and at times very moving. One by one a hand would raise and someone would have a new idea or suggestion. All suggestions were considered and together we discussed how we wanted our piece to sound. How can we make the sound of a ship? What instruments might be suitable? Whose help might we need once we’re onboard the ship, will we meet anyone along the journey?

Our opening song ‘Where are we going, what will we see?’ was sung with such passion and commitment. To enhance their excitement of having created a musical piece of their own, l arranged for a flautist and a French horn player to join me for the final performance in May. The students loved being introduced to these instruments and hearing ‘Onboard’ come to life with different musical effects from both performers. They all agreed that the French horn made the music come alive by making frightening monster sounds when we were all onboard the ship.

My only wish with this project was that we could have had more than four sessions which would have resulted in being able to develop the piece further, and most importantly continue to nurture and develop the confidence and talent in these young students. I am incredibly grateful to the Docklands Art Fund for this opportunity to share my love of the piano and composing with Ringsend GNS and l am delighted to have encouraged a musical spark in the classroom with ‘Onboard’.“

Máire Carroll - Onboard

        Máire Carroll performing with 2nd class pupils in Ringsend GNS

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