Cillian Ó Cathasaigh


Cillian Ó Cathasaigh


Irish         Age: 20

Jean Marie Leclair
Sonata No.3 in D Major “Tombeau”
I “Un poco andante”
II “Allegro – Adagio”

Sam Perkin
Nine Snapshots “Free Chinese”

Henri Vieuxtemps
6 Morceaux de salon, Op.22 III. Reverie

Henryk Wieniawski
Scherzo Tarantelle

Cillian Ó Cathasaigh from Cork is a violin student of Katherine Hunka, currently studying for his BMus degree in MTU Cork School of Music.

Cillian is a multi-prizewinner in various competitions, including 1st prize in the Houlihan Memorial Cup, John O Sullivan Memorial Cup and Shanahan & Co. Perpetual Cup in Feis Maitiu, 2nd prize in the Terry O’Connor Cup in Feis Ceoil and most recently a finalist in MTUCSM’s Advanced Recital competition. Cillian has performed in masterclasses for Raquel Castro, Amanda Nesa, Felice Bauer and Ilona Sie Dhian Ho.

Cillian is a former member of first violins with the NYOI, former leader of CYO most notably leading for their 2023 concert tour in Italy and former principal second violin of Cork Fleischmann Symphony Orchestra. He is currently a member of the Haydn Symphony Series Orchestra, the IYBO and the MTUCSM Symphony Orchestra for which he was principal second violin last year.

Cillian is an avid chamber musician. Having led the Pernambuco and Siciliana quartets, with which he had masterclasses and performed in the Órtus Chamber Music Festival, he is now a member of an oboe quartet in MTUCSM, who were recent prizewinners at Feis Ceoil. In June Cillian performed in the Vanburgh and Friends Gala concert, performing Mendelssohn’s octet led by Mia Cooper.

Cillian was also awarded the most distinguished student in Senior Cycle Strings for his Grade 8 violin in MTUCSM in 2021 and received the Nina Dalby sight reading award for his Grade 8 piano in 2021.

Cillian is an accomplished traditional Irish musician and has achieved five All Ireland titles on fiddle, and also received the Michaél Ó hEidhin Medallion for his Grade 8 SCT (Scrúdú Ceol Tíre) in 2021.

Programme Notes

Given my love for the baroque period, my programme for the semi-final opens with the first two movements of Jean-Marie Leclair’s ‘Sonata Op.9 No.3 Tombeau.’ This French baroque piece in the bright key of D Major, with gorgeous tender melodies in the first movement and vibrant fun melodies in the second allows for my own interpretation of ornamentation to shine through.

Leclair’s Sonata precedes a slightly darker and much more intense contemporary piece, ‘Free Chinese’ taken from ‘Nine Snapshots for Violin and Piano’ composed by Cork born composer Sam Perkin in 2013. This piece is a healthy addition to my recital programme as it showcases a wide range of more modern violin techniques and demonstrates my more passionate virtuosic side.

The next piece ‘Reverie’ from Henri Vieuxtemps’s ‘6 morceaux de salon’, provides a welcome contrast of tempo and mood. Its wide ranging melody and magical, chromatic harmonies provide the perfect platform for me to express my more vulnerable and sentimental side, encapsulating everything I love about the violin.

Vieuxtemps’s ravishing romantic piece precedes my personal favourite piece of the programme, the incredibly virtuosic ‘Scherzo Tarantelle’ by Henryk Wieniawski. The need for fast rapid finger movements and intense double stopping along with a more tender toned section in the middle makes it truly exciting to perform and has everything a finale needs. I hope you enjoy my journey through time and a vast array of emotions.