By Louise Harrison
Teacher at the Mid-West Vocal Academy (MWVA) Fiana Ní Chonaill’s earliest memory of music was from her Primary school years at Ahane National School, when she learned the song Éiníní.
Little did she think when her grandmother took her to her first music lesson at the Limerick School of Music to learn the harp many years ago, that she would end up touring the world as a professional musician and sought after soloist.
From Castleconnell where Fiana studied harp with Dr Janet Harbison, this will be her second year teaching at the MWVA. Though her main instrument is the Irish harp she also plays concertina and pedal harp.
Having completed a BA in Irish Music and Dance at the University of Limerick (UL), Fiana went on to study at Newcastle University in the UK where she graduated with an Mmus in Musicology in 2013.
Currently pursuing a PhD at UL in Music and Tourism, Fiana is a recipient of the Comhaltas TTCT teaching Diploma and is a trained adjudicator.
What does Fiana love about teaching music?
“Watching students progress and develop and seeing the joy it can bring to their lives.
“Music is a fantastic education, and as well as teaching you how to technically play, you learn to appreciate all types of music as well as that, it’s good for your brain,” smiled Fiana.
Fiana has toured extensively in Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Cyprus and the USA as a member of the Irish Harp Orchestra. She has given many solo concert performances, and collaborated with flautist Matthew Dean on his album “Trasna Na Farraige”. In 2016 she released her debut solo CD, ‘Dathanna an Cheoil’ (The colours of music).
According to Fiana the highlights of her career to date have included performing for former President of Ireland Mary McAleese, The Emperor and Empress of Japan and other state officials and dignitaries as well as performing in front of 50,000 people as part of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Trafalgar Square in London in 2014.
“Music has brought fun, friendship and a passion into my life,” added Fiana.