Tuesday, 19 December 2017 11:01

Lifting the Lid ... Off! with Prof. Thérèse Fahy

Following on from the success of her workshops throughout the country in 2017, Thérèse Fahy returns with an intensive weekend workshop where she will further explore senior piano repertoire featured on the Grade VI to Senior Certificate piano exams. Over the course of the two days, Thérèse will explore technique, genre, style and much more.

We find out more about Thérèse in this short interview ...

 

1. What age did you start playing the piano and who was your first piano teacher?

Age 5 with lovely old Mrs Curwen in her house on Oxmanstown Rd in Dublin.

 2. Who has been your biggest musical influence?

I have several!!! Firstly, my wonderful mother who was practicing for her own Teaching Diploma when I was 5, although singing was her first love, and I think that, secretly, she wanted me to be a singer!!!!! Then there were my fantastic teachers at the Academy: the infamous Dina Copeman, and the famous John O’Conor! Another great influence was my hugely inspirational teacher in the United States, Joseph Kalichstein

3. What has been your professional highlight?

There have been many: playing Messiaen piano concerto, Réveil des Oiseaux with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra at the NCH, performing Beethoven Choral Fantasia with the Israel Symphony Orchestra, lots of fun on two US solo recital tours, and an amazing cultural eye-opener performing in Ethiopia, and working with children there. However, I think, and hope, that the most exciting highlight has yet to come in the form of an invitation to perform a solo Recital in the house where Debussy was born on the 100th anniversary of his death, on March 25th 2018.

4. Do you have a favourite composer?

The answer to this changes all the time. At the MOMEMT, my three favourites are Mozart, Chopin and Debussy.

5. What is your favourite part of your job as a teacher?

Exploring the vast piano repertoire with my students; working with, and enjoying each one individually in order to bring them beyond themselves in their playing. My students range from the very young (5 years of age) through bachelor, masters and doctoral level in piano performance (30 years of age!!), so there is huge variety for me. I am very lucky!

6. What are your top exam tips?

Be able to play your pieces through without any stops, at least one month before the exam. Practice performing in front of friends and family as much as possible. Record yourself!
Make sure that your tempo choice covers the most difficult sections in each piece. For me, good rhythm is the most important of the basic requirements in performance.
However, once all the groundwork is done, it is artistry, imagination and storytelling that make the music come alive. This is the reason we play!!

7. What will teachers get out of attending the Lifting the Lid … Off! workshops?

The pieces for Senior Grades of the Syllabus are very demanding. So, I will be playing and chatting about almost all of the pieces: discussing the difficulties and obstacles therein, and how to overcome them. We will explore the pieces in detail, their style, technical and musical demands, ways of practicing particularly difficult passages, ideas on fingering, phrasing, pedalling, evenness of fingerwork and tone, and lots more.

At the end of each session, there will be time for lively discussion, questions and chat……and on the Sunday morning in the ‘Thérèse Teaches’ session, students will play for me so that I can help them with any problems or issues that they, or their teachers, may have.

8. What is your (musical) guilty pleasure?

Latin-American dance music!

 

Lifting the Lid ... Off! will take place in the Kerry School of Music on the 13th and 14th of January, and in the Royal Irish Academy of Music on the 20th and 21st of January. 

 

Book Now for Lifting the Lid ... Off! (Kerry Workshop)

Book Now for Lifting the Lid ... Off! (Dublin Workshop)

Laoise Doherty

Laoise Doherty, BA (Mod), MScILS, ALAI, has been Assistant Librarian in the Royal Irish Academy of Music Library since 2004. Prior to this, she worked in a variety of library settings, including school, academic and specialist libraries. Laoise is an Associate of the Library Association of Ireland and served on the Committee of the Academic & Special Libraries Section of the LAI from 2013 to 2017.

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