In a new series, members of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra share their own musical favourites...

Today, meet violinist Siúbhán Ní Ghríofa - listen to Siúbhán's playlist now, via Spotify, and read more about her picks below...

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Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack – Michael Kamen

This was the beginning of my love affair with film soundtracks. I wore the first cassette tape out listening to it so much I had to save up and buy a new one. The hit song (Everything I Do) I Do It for You by Bryan Adams was huge, but it was the orchestral score I really fell in love with... Confession: my husband and I did dance to this song at our wedding. It is epic, romantic and almost made me forget how awful Kevin Costner’s British accent was (almost).

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1812 Overture – Tchaikovsky

In 1989-1990, I took my first Junior National Youth Orchestra course. I had never played in a large ensemble, let alone a full-size symphony orchestra. This was (along with The Brendan Voyage and the Enigma Variations) my very first taste of playing orchestral music and it was thrilling. I still remember that feeling I got as the whole orchestra played together for the first time with Gearóid Grant at the helm. It’s a feeling I think a lot of us orchestral musicians treasure forever.

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Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

When I was studying for an MA in performance in UL (University of Limerick) a fellow student in my class lent me this recording. At the time, I was teaching full-time and studying, so life was pretty hectic and I didn’t have much time for reflection. This music came to me at just the right time, as some time out was much needed in between practising and teaching. I find that with music. Whatever stage in life you’re at, the right piece/song can come along and keep you company when you need it most.

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Room soundtrack – Stephen Rennicks

In 2015, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra recorded the soundtrack by Stephen Rennicks for the Oscar-nominated film Room. This music had a very big impact on me, emotionally and musically. In fact, it’s what inspired me to finally start composing, something I had always had in the back of my mind but hadn’t acted on. Stephen Rennicks very kindly gave me permission to arrange part of the soundtrack for voice and small ensemble, and I also got some great advice from him regarding writing for film. The music reflects the young boy (Jack) and Mother (Ma) so beautifully and as I had just had my own baby less than a year before the recording, I felt very drawn to the love between the two characters and the haunting melodies that accompanied them.

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Best of John Williams

Is it cheating to put down a compilation album? I couldn’t possibly choose a favourite John Williams piece. I love all of his music! I got this compilation as a present three years ago and it has been on in the car since, my five-year-old son knows the scores to most of the Spielberg/Williams films he hasn’t seen yet! I think it’s safe to say that film music has influenced a large part of my musical journey. Who doesn’t know the theme tune to Jaws? Or Indiana Jones? Star Wars? His ability and talent to write so many of the world’s most recognisable themes along with epic scores puts him up there with the greatest composers in my eyes. I still get goosebumps playing the opening bars of Star Wars.

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Riverdance – Bill Whelan

1994, the Eurovision interval act. One of those moments you’ll always remember where you were when you first heard this iconic piece. I was in my family home sitting on our brown leather couch when Anúna started singing. I think we all knew how incredibly special it was. I went into town after school the day it was released and have a very vivid memory of excitedly opening the brand-new cassette tape in Busáras and playing it on my Sony Walkman. (I wore this tape out too!) When we play Riverdance in the RTÉ Concert Orchestra I still get a huge buzz, and I know having spoken to colleagues who played it on that night in 1994 that they feel the same way. In my own compositions I find myself fusing film, classical and Irish traditional music and Bill Whelan’s works have definitely had a big impact on me. He fuses traditional so well with orchestral and classical music and it’s brilliant.

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Mag Pai Zai – Declan O’Rourke

This album holds quite a few memories for me, in particular the year our son Fiann was born. I had to stay in hospital for five days after his birth and I listened to this on repeat as I cried tears of happiness, fear, exhaustion, anxiety and the whole spectrum of emotions you feel when you’ve just brought a tiny human being into the world! The tracks Be Brave and Believe, The Hardest Fight, Dancing Song and A Little Something were my companions during those long nights. When I returned to work after maternity leave the first rehearsal and concert I got to do was with Declan O’Rourke. I think I (a little too) excitedly told him how he had helped me through post-labour blues as he was setting up his guitars and sorting stuff out with the conductor (my apologies, Declan,and thanks for being so kind!).

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Read more from Inside Tracks here.