A YOUNG Laois musician took part in a prestigious national contest last weekend.
David Vesey from Abbeyleix was among 15 finalists competing for the Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal in Cork on Friday last, 7 February. The event was broadcast live on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.
A student at CIT Cork School of Music, David has a strong background in traditional Irish music and plays flute, whistle and piano as well as composing and arranging.
A member of Spink Comhaltas, the 20-year-old is a former All-Ireland champion and was a past flautist on the Macalla Na hÉireann Comhaltas tour of Ireland and Britain. He is also a member of the Comhaltas National Folk Orchestra of Ireland.
The multi-talented musician is also a classical pianist, studying with Santa Ignace, and he recently performed with the 1st Brigade of the Irish Defence Forces. Last year, he played at the Ortus Chamber Music Festival in Cork with his chamber group, the Dunamase Piano Trio.
Peadar Ó Riada present the Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal, named after his famous father, at the final which was broadcase from Rochestown Park Hotel.
Judging criteria included not only technical proficiency but also playing that shows ‘musicality and soul’. The difficult task of selecting a winner went to an adjudication panel made up of respected musicians Michael Tubridy, Mary Bergin and Gary Hastings. The winner took home €2,500 as well as the bespoke gold medal.
Weekend events included a musicians’ conference on Saturday morning and the Coirm Órdha concert on Saturday night, featuring past winners that include box player Keelan McGrath and harper Úna Ní Fhlannagáin.